Looking for work/life balance is like trying to hunt for the proverbial needle in a haystack: painstakingly difficult and, ultimately, probably futile.
After years of trying, that's what Fast Company assistant editor Anisa Purbasari Horton finally learned. "I eventually realized that striving for work/life balance is a losing battle -- because everything worth doing usually comes at a cost," Horton writes in a recent article for Fast Company. "And the more I spoke with psychologists, business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs, the more I realized how futile (and unattainable) the concept is."
But Horton didn't give up on the idea of equilibrium; rather, she reframed how she thought about it. Instead of looking for balance, she began looking for control, which she found by setting boundaries.
"While it doesn't make sense to make artificial separation between work and life, it does make sense to set boundaries to protect the important things that you do want to spend time on. For me, that 'boundary' right now is making my workouts a nonnegotiable part of my day and structuring my week so that I can keep my Saturdays free from obligations (whether it be work or personal)," Horton says. "Setting boundaries … can help you feel more in control of your time, and lack of control over one's schedule is often what leads people to feel like they're falling 'off balance' in life."
Most people will never have the perfect ratio of work to life. But if you establish boundaries that protect your priorities, Horton suggests, you'll be happy even when you feel off-kilter.
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