Give Up on Work-Life Balance

Woman working away on business in hotel room, computer on dressing table, biting toast as she gets ready for work

Olga Khazan in The Atlantic:

I’ve timed calls from PR people to coincide with my commute home, since that’s the only “free” time I had to talk. On a recent cross-country trip to see my parents, I spent a day doing my work expenses. Constant pressure in my profession has made me go to great lengths to minimize how much labor I perform outside of work. I once made my boyfriend pay me for the hours I spent booking flights and hotels for our vacation.

The reasons behind this “madness,” as Schulte put it, are familiar, and they’re not specific to journalism. American workers—especially those in white-collar professions—are working longer hours. Women are often the default chore-doers and child-tenders, even in relationships that strive for egalitarianism. The solution from career gurus has historically been to try to squeeze both work and life into the overpacked Tupperware that is your day. Check emails during the kids’ swim meet, they say, or pick up a hobby to “take your mind off work”—and take up even more time you don’t have.

Busy workers have been trying and failing at these types of hacks for decades. This fruitless cycle suggests that work-life balance is not independently achievable for most overworked people, if not outright impossible.

More here.