When you're looking for advice on time management, particularly when it comes to work-life balance, you've got a million pages of options in search. There are podcasts, books, conferences, MOOCs, paid courses, and of course, articles as far as the eye can see. While we're all probably capable of getting a little more efficient, there's one surefire solution to overwork and stress that few experts seem willing to touch.
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Not The Atlantic's Olga Khazan, who has just published a well-sourced article titled, simply, "Give Up on Work-Life Balance." The admonishment may draw gasps from the crowd, but Khazan ably lays out the evidence that work-life balance is premised on a flawed concept, that the demands of ever higher-performing professional life and Instagram-perfect home life are both incompatible and impossible. "Most studies and experts say work-life balance only changes when bosses want it to," she writes. "It's simply too hard for one rank-and-file worker to remold an office's culture."
Instead, it's likely psychologically healthier to simply embrace imperfection. In a world where work-related burnout is now literally a health risk, breaking the cycle starts with you. Khazan speaks to a number of experts with actionable plans for giving yourself both structure and breathing room, while also ensuring that your boss doesn't accuse you of slacking off. As Khazan puts it, "The break you give yourself might be the only one you'll get for a while." The more people who see someone doing their best without grinding themselves up for it, the more who will understand that it's both possible and preferable to do so.