Work to live, don’t live to work

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July 18, 2016

Work to live, don't live to work

If you live to work, you may be crossing that fine line between being engaged and being consumed by work. When passion becomes preoccupation — when a disproportionate amount of your time, thoughts and energy are devoted to your career — your work-life balance can be threatened. On the flip side, when you work to live, you miss out on the rich sense of fulfillment that a meaningful career can elicit.

Donna loves her career. Her workday starts hours before she walks into the office and ends hours after she leaves for the day, epitomizing a live-to-work lifestyle. Her husband often refers to her job as “the other man” in her life. And he’s only half-joking. According to Donna, her husband has trouble understanding why she can’t turn off her phone after a certain hour, refrain from responding to texts while she’s watching TV, or silence her email notifications during family time.

Donna doesn’t understand why he can’t understand. “Work makes me feel alive, energized,” she says. “And nowadays, the lines seem more and more blurred. It’s hard to delineate between ‘work’ and ‘life.’ Aren’t they the same? After all, I’m one person.”

Achieving work-life balance requires more than proportionally distributing your time between your career and your life outside of work; it also involves allocating your focus and energy in a way that encourages success, fulfillment and overall well being. The formula is different for everyone.