Don’t balance work and life

By johannatime On June 22, 2014 Under Quality of Life and Work

Work/life balance, you know the challenge. The way people talk about ‘work/life balance’ makes the two look like opposites. As if there is work on one hand, and then life on the other. As if you’d be out of control not getting your work done if you’d blend the two. As if you should split yourself in half, or whatever ratio you like, and not let them mix. Well, life is not like that.

Work and life everyday

I guess you’ve had the two conflicting at times: there sometimes is so much work that social activities and the gym are skipped and weekends are consumed working. I’m sure you’ve had to sort out private issues during business hours, too, that’s just inevitable. And of course, there are times when life just asks from you that you take a day off, or a week. These situations make work and life competing for your attention and time.

But let’s face it: Many jobs are found via friends. A great deal of professionals’ social life happens at and around work, and lots of relationships start in de workplace. Work is life.

Work or life means trouble

Sometimes, work and life are conflicting. And by conflicting I mean other than just competing for your time. If ‘you at work’ have different values on which decisions are based than ‘you at home’, there is something wrong. If your private opinion on things that are relevant to your work context differs from your professional actions, you have a moral conflict.


  • Selling things to customers that you wouln’t buy yourself;
  • Making decicions about money and people that you cannot back up with an explanation you think is sincere;
  • Making policy or writing reports that will not make the world a better place, if you believe they should.

Don’t balance work and life: integate them

In case your professional roles fit into your personal life nicely, you’ve done an awesome job. However if you can relate to the above examples of conflicting values, you have a serious risk you are compromising your health and potentially burn-out. I’d suggest you to start aligning work and life today. It doesn’t mean you have to leave your job. I am just encouraging you to integrate your work into your life rather than balancing them as if they are opposites. You are the same person at work as you are at home. No need for separate Twitter accounts, or awkward disclaimers in your bio.

I’ve got a few dos and don’ts to recommend:

  • Do make friends at work and allow yourself to be vulnerable when it is safe to do so.
  • Don’t bore your co-workers with stories about and photos of your 3-year-old.
  • Do set boundaries so work and life are not in each other’s way. This works two ways.
  • Don’t let work be an excuse for skipping private time with your loved ones.
  • Do follow your intuition when hard decisions must be made. What feels good often is.
  • Don’t hide behind a professional mask/uniform/role. If you think it’s wrong on a personal level, it is wrong professionally, too.
  • Do connect with professional contacts on social media.
  • And don’t ever call in sick when you’re not.

So how do you merge work and life? Do you have a hard time fitting them both in? Please share your struggles and suggestions in the comments below:

Johanna Jansen

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Marieke
    June 23, 2014
    8:08 pm #comment-1

    Very true, great post!

    • johannatime
      June 24, 2014
      2:02 pm #comment-2

      Thanks Marieke, I trust you’ve got some valuable life experience to back that one up 😉

Add a comment

  • Avatars are handled by Gravatar
  • Comments are being moderated