Work and Life are not Enemies

Work and Life are not Enemies


The Time Management Series

This post is just one part of my Time Management series. I really recommend you read the whole series if you have time, but I’ll do my best to make this part self-contained.
Important disclaimers are also included there.

Perfectly balanced, as all things should be…

I feel like I changed a lot of things in the last 5 years with regards to how I organize my life – moving to another country, job roller coaster, marriage, baby, many side quests – so I just had to gain control of my time. Maybe even enough to share some learnings? At least I think I can now recognize when I’m mismanaging my time.

⏳   What does it even mean to have “control” over your time?

It means that I don’t miss things that I think are important, and certainly not because I’m forced to do other things [that I don’t want or need to do] instead. Because life itself is an uncontrollable mess, I have to pick my battles. All I can do is make sure I spend as much time as possible doing things I think are important, and leave the rest to chance. This applies to work, personal life, and everything in between.

🤦🏼‍♂️   Why does it matter anyway? Time flies, have fun… right?

Being organized matters to me. In my opinion, time management is a long game because you probably want to enjoy a long, calm and healthy life.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint – you’re supposed to last a long time. That’s why I see time management as an infinite game. It’s not about winning quickly, it’s about getting the maximum playing time and continuing to play. Even if you lose sometimes, it shouldn’t matter over the course of 50+ years (hopefully). It’s often hard to resist the urge to speed things up just to get them done… but doing things too quickly and haphazardly often leads to inferior results that hurt us in the long run.

The way I see it, it’s about achieving a good synergy between work and personal life, not mediating a constant battle between the two. Without going into the details of the work/life struggle, I can give a few specific examples of things that take time (but that I really enjoy doing).

🌱   Personal life

  • Resting alone, learning, reading
  • Chilling at home, playing video games, handicrafts around the house
  • Meeting friends (and some family), movies, restaurants
  • Skiing, travel, tennis, guitar
  • … and other things I can’t think of

📊   Work life

  • Implementing initiatives that have a big impact
  • Bringing people together to make a difference, helping people achieve their goals
  • Staying current in the world of technology, learning about companies and organizations
  • Attending/speaking at tech conferences, organizing meetups, open-source projects
  • … and other things I can’t think of

The only problem is… I want it all, every week. Okay, maybe every two weeks will do. 😅

🚒   Being overwhelmed

I’ve certainly suffered from being overwhelmed by the list of things I need to do, want to do, need to catch up on, and so on. There’s no shame in that. If you don’t realize you’re overwhelmed yet, maybe some of these symptoms can help you look back and analyze what happened:

  • Lack of focus, emotional/behavioral changes (mood swings, irritability, withdrawal)
  • Feelings of guilt/anger for putting too much work on yourself
  • General negativity and mistrust, panic attacks, heavy breathing
  • Neck/back pain, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, impaired immune system

I’m not your doctor. (and see the disclaimers again)
If you suffer from burnout or feel overwhelmed, do your own research or talk to a specialist.

But back to the main point…

Is it too much to ask to have time for all your important things?

To be clear, nothing about time management is truly perfect, and I often fail to follow my own “rules”. But I stick to them most of the time, and I’m here to tell you that time management is possible and that I usually do almost all the things I mentioned almost every week. Or 2 weeks! 😅

Recommendations about what to focus on and how to achieve a good work-life balance:

Mental health