I have no work life balance, and I am perfectly happy with that. In fact, it is very much a choice and very much intentional. Here's why.
Work Life vs Life
Most people I know (including many that are close to me) view work and life as a dichotomy—as two separate things that are constantly at odds with each other.
Work is what you're doing during business hours on weekdays, and life is what you're doing the rest of the time.
Most of these folks—even if they enjoy the type of work they do—would prefer not to work if given a choice.
For them, work is something that gets in the way of life.
This is not the way I view work or life.
For me, there is no dichotomy. I don't have work, and separately also have life.
For me, what I have is life—my overall life—and work just happens to be one contextual part of it.
For me, life consists of family, work, exercise, play, and various other contexts that are all collectively part of my life.
For me, life doesn't happen just outside of work, it also happens during work.
Fortunately, I happen to love my work, enjoy what I do, and consider it an integral part of my life.
My work mostly revolves around software, technology, and startups—three passions of mine.
And I would be doing something along these lines even if I'm not getting paid for it (although that would certainly make it harder for me to earn a living and support my family).
For me, work is play—and even when it's tough, it's still usually fun. Usually.
I don't dread Mondays, and in fact I typically look forward to them as I'm often eager to finally get to work on something I've been thinking about over the weekend.
Some days I may work more, and other days I may work less. Some days I may start very early, and other days I may work until 1am or 2am. Occasionally I may have some gaps mid-day where I'm not working, weekends where I have to work, or take some calls when I'm with my family.
I don't dread working late, I don't dread working on the weekends, and I only mildly dread working too early. In general, I try to keep these reasonable.
I love spending time with my family, and look forward to seeing my wife and kids after work, and spending the weekends with them.
Especially when it's quality time.
Time to do whatever we may choose to do together (e.g. outings, board games, sports, activities) rather than what we have to do together (e.g. homework, baths, errands).
When I am spending that time with my family, I aim to be present and in the moment, with my attention on them rather than on my phone. I still have work to do in this area.
And insomuch as I would like to have more time to spend with my wife and kids, I don't view work as a thing that gets in the way of family.
Nor do I view work as something I need to get out of.
Don't get me wrong, for me it is still about balance—I just view it as life balance.
If I didn't have work in my life, I wouldn't feel balanced. If I didn't have enough family time in my life, I wouldn't feel balanced. If I'm not getting enough exercise in my life, I wouldn't feel balanced.
Of course I have to figure out the right balance—both for myself, as well as for what my family needs. If I feel I'm not spending enough time with my family (or my family simply needs more of my time), I'll make some adjustments to find that balance.
Then there is fitting in (or trying to fit in) all the various other contexts that collectively comprise my life. Fortunately, not all contexts demand the same amount of time, and not all contexts have the same importance or priority.
And I do get the balance wrong from time to time.
But as long as I'm aware (and honest with myself) when the balance feels off, and strive to improve that imbalance, I have been ok.
So perhaps it's just my perspective—I choose to view work not as something outside of life, but as something that is an integral part of life. It works for me, and I have been doing it for years.
I don't strive for work-life balance—I strive for life balance.
Photo: Overstock's Outsunny Teeter Totter 4 Seat Outdoor Seesaw (edited)