Work-life separation

Work-Life balance represents that big hairy audacious goal, so many people try so damn hard to achieve in life. And yet with all the positivity that surrounds it, very few people, if any, achieve it.

Perhaps that's because the very concept of work-life balance is totally at odds with the ideal outcome it's supposed to represent. Humans aren't particularly good at balancing multiple things at once. Sure, some get cocky about their ability to multitask, but all they're doing is diluting their overall effort.

And then we develop all of these overly convoluted tactics for getting more done.

James Clear writes about something called The Four Burners Theory:

"Imagine that a stove represents your life with four burners on it. Each burner symbolises one major quadrant of your life.

The first burner represents your family.

The second burner is your friends.

The third burner is your health.

The fourth burner is your work.

The Four Burners Theory states that “in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful, you have to cut off two.”

That sounds awful!

I'm not prepared to cut off part of my life just to achieve some form of perceived success from a so called balanced life.

When you work remotely, striving to achieve work-life balance is a potentially dangerous endeavour. How will you ever be able to decipher where your work stops and your life ends?

What you need is separation.

Tim Ferriss sure is an advocate for the utopian concept of lifestyle design. His Four Hour Series of books cut right to the heart of remote workers, and for good reason. Many people have achieved great things off the back of his knowledge and wisdom. Here's Tim discussing the dangers of work-life balance, in favour of a more appropriate concept - work-life separation.

"I am a strong advocate of work-life "separation" as opposed to work-life "balance." The concept of work-life balance is a dangerous one because balance is often mistaken to mean blending, where work and personal tasks are alternated in the same environments, or where one activity is expected to provide both work and life.

Aim to be productive instead of busy, and recognise that life is full of special relationships and activities that need to be protected from one another. Focus on artful separation instead of integration, and you might just — as I did — feel as though an enormous burden has been lifted. Choose your own rules, and choose them wisely." - Tim Ferriss

Forget about trying to balance lots of things.

Focus on those few important tasks.

And concentrate on each one exclusively.

I'd love to get your opinion on this. Please feel free to hit reply and tell me what you think!

Joe Pack