The balance between work and life has long been an important one. The thinking is that if you work too much then your work will start to encroach into the rest of your life. For most people most of the time, this is a negative thing as work is not something that is particularly enjoyed. On the flip side, too much life and not enough work can lead to a lack of purpose, unproductiveness and not a lot of money. Because of these reasons, the work/life balance has long been something recommended for a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
In the last ten or so years, much of that has changed.
What happens when your work start to becomes your life? What happens when the work that you pursue actually gives you meaning and fills you with life? What happens when the line between work for fun and work for play start to blend into one another?
More and more people are beginning to pursue things that they love and even make money while doing so. This is an incredible scenario to find yourself in: to not be trading time for money but to be spending your time doing what you love and getting paid for it. However, with this modern opportunity comes a modern conundrum…
The modern blur of work/life balance
With all of the opportunities that the internet has opened up, it has become increasingly common to be a ‘remote worker’. Whether you can work your current job from a laptop anywhere in the world or you have your own company where all that you require is an internet connection, the convenience that this brings is immense.
Whenever I am researching a new post, writing a new post, reading new articles in my Inbox or planning the next Thursday Newsletter, there are times when I ask myself: ‘Is this work?’ ‘Is this play?’ ‘Is this rest?’
I can be working late into the evenings completely out of choice because I am really enjoying a new project that I’ve started. I can be interacting and exchanging ideas with people on Instagram right before I go to sleep. Even when I go to the gym these days, I’m not sure whether it is to ‘work on myself’ or ‘experience a form of play in my body’ or to simply ‘rest from the rest of my work’. I suppose it is a bit of all of them, but that doesn’t make the line any clearer.
Maybe this isn’t an issue for you but for me and many others that I have spoken to, having some sort of boundaries in your life rather than hopping from one thing to the next all day long is quite a useful and an often necessary thing to have. It helps you to engage with whatever you are doing – work, rest, play and everything else in between – without mindless fleeting from one thing to the next.
While there is no fix-all solution for this blurred line, one of the best ways of framing this in a new way comes from Bethan Vincent in her Brave Newsletter.
Instead of work/life balance, see if life/rest balance works better for you.
As modern life starts to constitute so many different components, it can become all too easy to get swallowed up and become overwhelmed by it all. With work and life increasingly becoming one in the same thing, a better split may be between life and rest. And rest can be whatever you want it to be – exercise, reading, walking or simply relaxing – as long as it leaves you with more energy than you had beforehand.
In many ways, the increasing blur between life, work and play is a blessing but for those of us who like some sort of boundary and organisation along with it, a life/rest balance might be more appropriate.