Why work/life balance is an oxymoron

Why work/life balance is an oxymoron

I often get accused of having bad “work/life balance”. I’m often told I need to get off the grid, stop being available 24/7, etc. I’ve already written about what happened the one time I succumbed to pressure and turned off my cell phone for a day, almost missing a HUGE opportunity. I’ve also written about why going off the grid for any length of time is dumb. 

So today I’ve decided to explain to you why I think work/life balance is a crock.  I apologize if this sounds defensive but I’m feeling like maybe it’s an opportunity to teach people that happiness is not based on how much “life” you have in proportion to how much you “work”. The lesson I’ve learned is when work is fun and exciting and fulfilling, it’s part of life. It’s not something you have to do to HAVE a life.

To make my point, I think you need to see how much time I spend goofing off. Probably 80% of these items are during the week, as Saturdays are reserved for spending time with my mom and Sunday mornings are sacred.  I do like to get ready for the week by working on Sundays, like I am now. So here are some stats about my life in 2011 – since I put just about everything on my calendar it wasn’t too hard to add up. 

  • Days spent skiing in the Rocky Mountains – 37
  • Miles run – I’d say about 300
  • Miles biked – Only about 100, and I only did that to train for the duathlon I did in August
  • Lunches with girlfriends during the week – 64 (I didn’t count coffees there were more of those too)
  • Hours spent x-country skiing – 62 (It might be more, it was a snowy year in Minnesota)
  • Spa appointments – 14 (including the two I have scheduled before the end of the year
So…now you’re probably adding this all up and saying “when the hell does this girl ever work?”. The answer is that I take breaks throughout my day. I might start working at 7 am and sometimes finish at 8pm, but I am often out running (or skiing) or doing something else during the day. The way that’s managed is to be available most of the time via phone or email, twitter, text or even Facebook.
People think I must feel “tied down” by this but it’s actually the reverse. Reporters and clients can catch me anytime, anywhere. That means if I want to throw the dogs in the car and drive out to Colorado to catch an epic snowfall (okay, I only did this once but it was over 6 feet) I can do that. I can take an hour or two to run and clear my head. I just work later that night.
But the bottom line is not time management. The bottom line is that I love what I do, and I love my clients. I want to know what’s happening with them and I never feel like I need a huge break. That’s the difference. When you’re doing something that you like it’s not a question of sacrificing life for work. Work is as fun, and sometimes even more exciting, than the rest of my life. Especially when hubby is crabby.
My new hair stylist told me the other day that her job was her “me” time. She loves to cut hair and it’s when she doesn’t have to take care of her kids. That made sense to me. So if you’re thinking that you need to balance your “work” and your “life”? My question would be…are you really doing what you want to do? Because if you are, it doesn’t feel like work.
So the next time sometime accuses me of poor “work/life balance” I think I’ll just share the above stats. You guessed it..I’m actually a slacker. 🙂


  • Logan
    Posted at 13:32h, 31 October Reply

    “The bottom line is that I love what I do, and I love my clients.” That sentence from your blog sums it up. It makes all the difference. You enjoy what you do. More people need to find their passion and then follow it.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 13:34h, 31 October Reply

      Thanks Logan! It took me until I was 40 to figure out what all that “follow your bliss” meant.

  • Andy @ FirstFound
    Posted at 09:59h, 31 October Reply

    How do you find the time? That’s amazing!

  • Marcus taylor
    Posted at 16:58h, 31 October Reply

    Ahh, the quilt of loving your work. I have a continual battle with my wife, , who wants me to stop work so that I can watch mindless tv. Thank god for the iPad I can attend tv and keep working! One word of caution though, on our deathbeds will we be wishing we had made one more post or rather that we had played in a pile of autumn leaves with a child.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 18:10h, 31 October Reply

      Maybe the ideal would be to have a ball playing in the leaves and then write a blog post about it!

  • bonnie
    Posted at 12:02h, 31 October Reply

    First thing to remember, Andy, is that I just have 3 dogs, no kids and a husband who works fulltime as a ski instructor. So that tips the scales in my favor right there.

  • James Macquarie
    Posted at 12:44h, 31 October Reply

    Sounds great, but i always have difficulty settling back down and getting my head back into work mode after going out.
    I start early work though to around 1500 and then have the rest of the day for my self.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 12:52h, 31 October Reply

      I think everybody has a different rhythm to how they work. I have a lot of reactive stuff happen in my day, so I’m bouncing from one thing to another all the time.

  • Rufus Dogg
    Posted at 14:30h, 31 October Reply

    “Work/Life Balance” was invented by someone who did not understand your passion and wanted to control you. You can control people by paying them or guilting them. Either is immoral.

    Which of us would have told Picasso to paint less, Da Vinci to quit inventing sh*t or Thoreau to give it a rest?

  • bonnie
    Posted at 15:00h, 31 October Reply

    Did you know that DaVinci invented scissors?

  • Rufus Dogg
    Posted at 15:35h, 31 October Reply

    DaVinci was a cutting-edge inventor! HAHAHAHA I kill me :[)

  • Asad Wahab
    Posted at 08:17h, 01 November Reply

    Thanks for such an informative and worth reading post, I would like to say a thanks for sharing an amazing post. Am specially impressed with your writing skills. Its really a nice article.

  • Mia
    Posted at 05:34h, 01 November Reply

    Nicely said! there are so many complaining about not having enough time to do what they want, that work seems to be the cause of all their frustrations. If this is really true, then some people have a big issue, work should be enjoyable, not only a mean of making money.

    I agree, there’s no right balance between work and home, one can only try to do every day what he likes.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 08:37h, 01 November Reply

      Mia, another thing I thought of was the fact that we can even have this discussion is a luxury, given the economy. I have several friends that would love to worry about ‘work life’ balance right now, they’ve been unemployed for months.

  • Electrical Contractor Houston
    Posted at 17:46h, 01 November Reply

    Nicely says! work/life both of are very important in our life, work, Why do we work? we work for our health and health is most important part of life so that. and thanks for the post on this website, it is really very nice thing!

  • How To Be A Musician
    Posted at 14:23h, 02 November Reply

    Great work on this article! Life is the best when you’re doing something you love, because for me, having my life and work interwoven couldn’t be a better picture.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 15:52h, 02 November Reply

      Thanks! Although a musician is really more of a calling, isn’t it? Or do you consider it work?

  • Rob Thomson @ River Homes
    Posted at 06:39h, 04 November Reply

    It’s all in the perspective I say. Find the niche which makes you “YOU” and then go with it. It’s why I love being a Realtor! I wouldn’t change that for the world.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 07:26h, 04 November Reply

      With realtor hours you BETTER love what you do!!

  • ivan
    Posted at 09:18h, 10 November Reply

    The work is done with the heart that love will produce the best, life seemed to run out of balance. balance is a thing that is important, so that the life and work can proceed in the direction of.

  • hifu miami
    Posted at 00:21h, 21 November Reply

    Where do you find the time? Haha. I can just imagine you having a perfectly packed schedule. You must have killer time-management skills. 🙂

    Would love to see an article about that some time.

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