The notion of work-life-balance is nonsense. It implies that our work lives and personal lives are disjointed and function in constant opposition to each other. It was crafted as a protective counterbalance for people oppressed by their employers.
The two are not siloed. You can not prevent your work life from invading your personal life any more than you can stop your personal life from pushing against your work life. They are connected. You are connected.
I prefer the notion of work-life-harmony. In an ideal setting, they collaborate rather than compete. Work should be an outlet for us to express our personality and creativity. It should be the catalyst for our best work, not a barrier to our natural desires. This allows us to find opportunities for overlap and pursue alignment. Rather than focusing on keeping score, we focus on bringing our best self.
Practically speaking, our full time team members work 40 hour weeks. In an average week, those hours should fit nicely between Monday and Friday. That’s not to say there won’t be late nights or an all-hands push to launch a product. But to account for that, we add plenty of freedom and flexibility each step along the way.
Rather than optimizing for social norms, I prefer pushing people to optimize for their best self. When they bring their best, everyone wins. It’s worth taking time to think about…
- What time works best to start your day?
- What is required for you to focus?
- How much sleep do you need to function best?
- When do you do your best work?
At Polar Notion, managing client expectations is a huge part of how we keep our sanity. We’ve even put together a Client Handbook that sets expectations. On top of that, we’re constantly reminding those we work with that Slack is not a realtime communication tool for us. We prioritize productivity over promptness. In the end, we teach others how to treat us and should own our own experience.
I also have a footer on my emails to make sure people understand when I’ll be getting back to them. Hint, it’s not within the hour. The simple act of communicating this expectation opens up a valuable discussion or endearing bits of encouragement.
Rest and relaxation are an important part of doing meaningful work. Constant ‘grind’ and ‘hustle’ does not map to increased productivity.
When you’re working, crush it. When you’re not working, fight the urgent need to ‘checkin’.