Work-Life-Balance is Dead

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, it was probably hard to miss that I got my pilot's license last year. This is a pretty massive undertaking while also running a growing business. Reflecting on the previous 12 months, I thought a lot about the notion of "Work-Life Balance," what it means and how I think it should work in our modern times.

It used to be an abstract Holy Grail. Recruiters were touting it left and right to attract talent, never really specifying what it means for employees.

In a beach bar somewhere in South-East-Asia; working.

Time vs Output.

A few years ago, the measurement for a "valuable" employee was how much time they sacrificed for the company's good. Some paid generous bonuses for overtime. Most, however, got you to sign an "all-in contract." Luring you with free lunch, a foosball table, or some weird after-work activities that you really did not care about. Finally, it seems, the tide is slowly shifting.

Work goes where you go.

Emails, Slack, and other project management tools are just a tap away in your pocket or purse. The lines between "work" and "life" are becoming more blurred. I genuinely believe this is a good thing for companies and employees — If you are willing to do it right.

At appointmed, for example, we don't look at how many hours each of us puts in. It's always the quality of the work that counts, not the quantity. It's basically a free pass to get work done on your own schedule.

Are you done by Thursday morning? Good for you, we'll see you Monday. Or take off Wednesday and move your tasks to Saturday if that fits your plans better. Got a play date with your dog set up on Tuesday? Nice - here's a ball to throw for the good boi (or girl). Just be transparent about your availability and let others on the team know what you are up to so no tasks fall through the cracks.

The same goes for your location. Hop on a plane and move your office to the beach or a ski resort if that is your thing. All fine by me, as long as you clearly communicate with your peers and distribute the workload accordingly. Focusing on quality rather than time makes it also super easy to spot those who are not (yet) up for this way of working.

Work-Life Integration.

So, rather than separating "Work" and "Life," isn't it time to find a way to better integrate work into our lives?

We are not supposed to hate Mondays and only live for weekends and vacations. We are not supposed to be kept indoors on a beautiful day working away in front of a screen. Life should be more joyful than this. At the very least, everyone should have the option to take their laptop outside and enjoy the weather or move work around according to their overall schedule.

My recommendation is to find a company that lets you do some form of that and stop working towards a vacation or the weekend so you can "do" life.

Be careful, though: It does require a considerable amount of discipline not to go overboard and fall into the trap of working 24/7 or - on the other side of the spectrum - procrastinating most of the day just because you don't have a manager looking over your shoulder.

Once you've found the right company, your personal rhythm, and learned to deal with that amount of freedom and responsibility, work can become a fun part of your life without taking it over entirely, burning you out sooner or later. It worked for me – it might as well work for you.


What's your take? How do you manage the two? Do you strive to work towards a life you don't want to take a vacation from? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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