Workplace advisors have spent the past several years beating the proverbial drum about the need to achieve a good “work-life balance.” And on paper, such a thing certainly sounds like a solution for all the ills of modern life: Who wouldn’t want to split time equally between family and work obligations, with at least some time set aside every week for fun?
The problem is that proper work-life balance isn’t really achievable for most people. “If you’re an executive, manager, or professional with a demanding job, you’re about as likely to find balance as you are to be a purple unicorn,” executive coach Scott Eblin told Fast Company in a recent interview.
So what’s the solution? According to Eblin, it’s rhythm: Choose to focus on work on certain days, then shift to devote more time to home or hobbies on others. Respect the borders between work and the rest of your life; make sure that you have a literal off button (for your devices) as well as a metaphorical one (don’t even think about taking work-related phone calls during dinner). Startup entrepreneurs may crow about the benefits of slamming down the gas and abandoning human concerns in order to create a more perfect company, but nobody can maintain that sort of extreme speed forever—it’s all about the pacing.
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