Arment Dietrich

Work/Life Balance: The Cost of Always Being On

By: Arment Dietrich | September 19, 2013 | 

Work:Life Balance- The Cost of Always Being OnBy Jason Konopinski

I have a confession: I despise business travel.

As someone who values their routine, shuffling through security, subjecting myself to scans of my private bits, and wrangling itineraries and bookings just isn’t my idea of a good time.

Forced downtime doesn’t jive with my personality. It’s also why I choose Amtrak for business travel over planes three to one.

Free WiFi and comfortable seating. It’s the little things.

It seems the only time I’m well and truly unplugged isn’t even of my own design.

The airlines (and the FCC) make that decision for me when all my devices have to be switched off and stowed from the time the cabin doors close and the plane hits cruising altitude.

What am I supposed to do with those 20 minutes away from my content streams and emails and social networks? Read a magazine or actually talk to the person beside me? Nap? Order a cocktail? Actually, that last one sounds pretty good.

The ubiquity of Internet connectivity in public places has reduced the moments of time where we are legitimately unreachable and offline to near zero — and that’s not a good thing.

Always On

Digital theorist and social critic Douglas Rushkoff introduces in Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now the concept of presentism, and how we are living our lives “always on.” It’s certainly worth mentioning I’m rapping out this post from an airport lounge, desperately trying to catch up on a pile of work and prepare for several meetings and presentations.

We’re trying to squeeze every bit of productivity and efficiency out of our professional lives — and more often than not, we’re failing. Perhaps more accurately, technology is failing us.

Digital technology was supposed to change our struggles against the clock. Email supplanted the physical letter, delivering messages in a nanosecond to our inboxes. I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of email. It’s overwhelming at times, getting that deluge of inbound messages that gum up the works of a finely tuned machine.

Work/Life Balance

Computers and virtual networks were going to make more time for the things that really mattered by streamlining and automating antiquated, cumbersome processes and delivery systems. I’ve worked remotely for the past six years, playing laptop hobo from the corner coffee shop or, most recently, as a founding member of CoWork 155.

Ostensibly, I can devote more focused time on doing client work and business developing because I’m not at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of a daily commute. We’ve started thinking less about the number of hours we sit in an office, and more about delivering value and results to clients. Right? Right??

Then something happened.

Instead of choosing when to work and when to – well, live – we don’t ever disconnect. Time has become the new commodity as we try to avail ourselves more, for the benefit of those who’ve hired us for our brains and skills.

I’ve noticed it in my own work, and it was a primary motivator for choosing to stop working from home, and get myself into a dedicated workspace that made it a lot easier to blend work and life into a happy medium.

Taking it Back

I’m a communications professional. I’m not curing cancer and there’s no one bleeding out on the table. No one is dying because I don’t answer that email right this second or don’t tweet more than a few times in a single week.

Having a little humility about the work we do is helpful and healthy – and it means I don’t feel guilty about taking a long bike ride in the middle of the day or spending an hour watching the most ridiculous YouTube videos imaginable.

Busy isn’t a Badge of Honor

I certainly don’t need to brag about working 15 hour days. It happens sometimes, but if it becomes routine rather than occasional, well, Houston, we have a problem. Something needs to be fixed — and fast. Working myself into one giant ball of (unproductive) stress isn’t something to celebrate, ever.

Everyone gets the same hours in a day. It’s our choice how we spend those 24 hours. Cliched? Maybe. But true all the same.

Know Your Limits

I can’t do it all. My desk is littered with projects that start with all the passion imaginable – and then fizzle. I’ll get to them or I won’t. My choice, and I’m cool with that. I haven’t posted to my own blog in – gulp! – several weeks, and nothing bad happened. The people who matter know who I am and what I’m worth.

Redefining Work

It’s not just about output and client deliverables. Those matter, but there’s more to doing meaningful work than the raw number of words written, pages developed, and leads delivered. Figuring out a crunchy client problem or introducing a new pedagogy to your industry is still work – and it matters. It might not be billable, but it’s valuable.

Technology lets us be in more than one place, but there’s a real cost to our productivity and mental well-being. It’s what Rushkoff calls “digiphrenia.” The social media streams are data flows, bringing information to us, little rivers of bits and bytes that move by whether we’re dipping our toes in the water or not.

Reclaim that time and focus on the things that matter beyond work – family, your health, and your hobbies. The Internet will still be here when you choose to login. Your terms, your choice.

See you on the other side.

  • I love this post. But also that the ‘Industry’ that makes money telling us we are always ‘on’ are really the only ones ‘always on’. Cops aren’t on Facebook during work. Nor are construction workers. Or plumbers. Or waiters. Or Chefs. Or most small business owners. I just blogged monday about my experience this weekend with a wedding and how no one was taking photos and uploading to networks. They took them and posted on facebook the next day. No one out of 120 people were on their smart phones staying connected.
    It’s our industry (Tech/Pr/Advertising/Marketing/Media). Everyone else pops in and out. I remember when the Ad Industry went into a tizzy over the Old Spice Twitter/Youtube campaign. Some videos had 100,000 views the first day my guess 90,000 were industry pros who heard what was happening. I asked random strangers and no one knew of the campaign.
    I bring this us because I wonder if we ‘The Industry’ are killing our lives being always on. I am. For my clients. I run 3 twitter feeds and 4 facebook pages (though I don’t run them via my phone only twitter). Plus my own twitter presence. I split 85-15 my time 85 for clients. My clients aren’t on social plugged in. That is why they pay me…so they don’t have too.
    It is a huge challenge for US in the Industry to find a work life balance. I wonder if we will ever succeed?

    • Howie Goldfarb You’re totally right about the pressures that our industry places upon itself. Speaking only for myself, it took me sometime to finally overcome the “fear of missing out” phenomenon and just stay offline at the end of the day.

      • jasonkonopinski Howie Goldfarb I agree to. Our industry is always on. My husband actually gives me a hard time because I am too. He’s in the finance industry and he only goes on Facebook when he’s bored. So I’ve made it a point to unplug from social on weekends. I still go online, I do check my email a few times a day just to be sure there isn’t a client emergency, but I try to stay away from social…and it is HARD!

    • Howie Goldfarb Agree, agree. I don’t think everyone else is as plugged in as PR people are, but everyone I know does seem to suffer from “busy” no matter what they do for a living.
      Love your story about the wedding.

    • Howie Goldfarb I was totally going to say this. I was just talking to someone yesterday who works in events programming at a university. She said she’s never really gone on Twitter, and she’s in her 20s. That was a good reminder to me: marketing and communications and social media people spend a lot of time interacting with other marketing and communications and social media people online and we get a very warped view of the world.
      The vast majority of my clients are not on Twitter, don’t touch G+, do a little on LinkedIn and maybe check Facebook a few times a month. Not that they don’t have their own activities and responsibilities that consume their days and nights, but it’s mostly email and regular ol’ work, and IRL networking, not that anxious feeling of not maintaining their presence on social media.

      • susancellura

        RobBiesenbach Howie Goldfarb Are we becoming too warped?

  • jasonkonopinski

    JMM_13 SpinSucks Thanks!

    • JMM_13

      jasonkonopinski SpinSucks You are welcome! I really enjoyed reading your post.

  • As one who struggles with work/life balance, despite being a part-timer in the PR world (and feeling like you just can’t do PR on a part-time basis), your post puts it into perspective. Thank you!

  • I think chasing the outdated and mythical concept of work life balance is so last century. I suspect the quest for balance in itself is part of the problem. For me, I prefer to substitute “balance” with “design.” Far better to design the life you want based on your values, what is most important to you and you own definition of success and design life and work around that. I love my work and business. But I want it to serve and protect what I value more  – not balance with it.

    • Ali_Davies For me, it’s all about “blend”.

      • jasonkonopinski I like that Jason. For me, there is just life. Everything else in life is an activity. To use your word, how we blend those activities to achieve a meaningful and fulfilling life is the challenge. And I think that is were the design focus comes in.

    • Ali_Davies I like your use of the word “design.” I went through and exercise several years ago (and did it again last year) in which I wrote down my values and the three things that were most important to me. I then based every goal I set on those values and priorities.

      • Word Ninja Ali_Davies Yes! “Design” is absolutely sticking in my head now. I’m going to have to chew on this awhile.

      • Word Ninja I do that too. I do it annually. I find it acts like a compass to keep me heading in the direction of what is most important.

        • Ali_Davies I plan to do it each year as well. My values won’t change, but priorities and goals will, so, yes, it’s a good idea to revisit on a regular basis.

  • I have a weird analogy, but it works. Just like technology, the washing machine was supposed to make our lives easier. Now what? Instead of a few precious clothes and my washboard, I have piles of dirty clothes and a closet full of potential dirty clothes. 
    In regard to the “busy” badge of honor, I actually heard a great sermon on that and since that day, when someone asks me how I am, I never respond with “busy.” So is everyone. Is that the most important thing I have to say? But it has become our default. I still have to fight the urge.
    We are human beings. No matter how advanced technology gets, we won’t be able to keep up. As complex as our brains are, our spirits require something different. We were not made to be plugged in to a wall. But it seems we are starting to believe the opposite. I put limits on my time online, and as you said about the blog posts, nothing terrible happened. I rarely check Facebook, I tweet about once a day and will only retweet a post if I have read the linked article, I blog when I can and feel I can add value. 
    This post really hit it on the head. Loved it and thanks for a good start to my (busy! oh god I said it) day.

    • susancellura

      Word Ninja  I love the washing machine analogy!!!

    • Word Ninja I too try and avoid use of the B word.

  • I just moved back into a remote office and I love it. I am really effective and productive working like this and that makes everyone happy.
    But the the “requirement” to stay connected never disappears and if I don’t actively manage when I am willing to be on and when I am not the end result is that the green light never turns red.

  • Steven J. Snelling

    A topic…my self-induced dilemma.

  • I sum up my life this way: I’m always on. Until I’m not. I’m ‘on’ 15 plus hours a day – but I get up – and on – between 5 and 5:30 am. Most people (who matter) know my ‘hours’, know when I shut down (I do NOT bring my phone to bed), and know I’ll respond very very early the next morning. I think people seek work/life balance when they hate their job. IMHO, work/life balance doesn’t exist if you enjoy your work, and value your responsibilities. Work isn’t my life, and my life isn’t my work – they just happen to meld beautifully together. 🙂

    • belllindsay Good point. When I’m writing, at least my essays or blog posts, I don’t think of it as being at work. I’m doing something I love, which matches up with my values and goals. I mean, melds…

    • jenzings

      belllindsay “people seek work/life balance when they hate their job.”
      I disagree with this–there are other reasons to seek work/life balance. I love my job, but I struggle with an affliction known as “can’t say no-ism.” Due to the client-facing nature of what I do, it’s important to be responsive, so yeah, there’s an element of “always on.” But, I also am on the library board of trustees, a member of a writer’s group, the coordinator/leader of a book club, etc. Somewhere in there I need to exercise, eat, sleep, cook, and do my part to keep the household running somewhat smoothly. When any one thing gets out of whack, even by a little, I end up in a stress spiral. Maintaining a balance between work priorities and personal priorities is important to me–and that has nothing to do with whether or not I like my job–I do. I just can’t allow work to (regularly and consistently) push out other stuff that is important to me, especially when others are relying on me to meet obligations that I’ve offered to take on.

      • jenzings belllindsay in the late 90’s Microsoft was always ranked a to place to work. But when you read the entry about working there it was ‘We will do everything to keep you here 16-18 hrs a day 7 days week’. They would say ‘The manager would take his team to see a movie’ or the on campus pool’. 
        Now technology allows us to work from anywhere. Unless you wor for Yahoo then you must be at the office except the CEO so she can attend Walmart board meetings.

        • Howie Goldfarb jenzings Definitely part of this is the fact that I work from home Howie, so it *truly* is blended. That’s a blessing and (rarely) a curse at times.  😉

      • jenzings belllindsay Great points, Jen!

        • RebeccaTodd jenzings Also, you MUST know – my house is a pig-stye, the only reason I exercise is because I got a dog 6 months ago, and my son just turned 14 (I’ve DONE my time! LOL) – so yeah, I pick relaxing over cleaning the house every time! #priorities

        • belllindsay RebeccaTodd jenzings Exactly! Heck I go buy underwear rather than do the wash, and I am single, so if dinner is pickles and tater tots, I’m not inflicting cruelty on a minor. So for me work/life balance is not the same as for others.

        • RebeccaTodd belllindsay jenzings Is there something wrong with pickles & tater tots for dinner?

        • lizreusswig RebeccaTodd belllindsay jenzings Pickles and coffee makes a smashing breakfast.

      • jenzings All valid points – I guess what I meant was, when people love their work, a quick check of their IPhone for any urgent emails even if sitting on the front porch having a glass of wine at 7:30 pm isn’t that big of a deal. Or, responding to an urgent text at 8:00 pm while in the middle of book club (“Sorry guys, this is urgent, I’ll be one minute!”). I just really don’t believe work/life balance exists – it’s all integrated in this day and age. And I agree with some of the other posters here – it does depend on what industry you’re in. Obviously ours is a little over the top! 🙂

    • belllindsay Yes lady! That’s it! “Work” should be something you are inspired to do, and you follow that inspiration when it is there. There is this “guilt” factor to this discussion that I think causes the damage. As my grandma always said “Guilt is a useless emotion that will put you in an early grave.” I don’t think we should have to feel badly about wanting to have down time OR wanting to work.

      • RebeccaTodd belllindsay There were a few minor work things that I had to attend to during my vacation. I actually had a moment of guilt that I was on vacation while colleagues/team members were slogging through their tasklists. Bizarre, right?

        • jasonkonopinski RebeccaTodd belllindsay Not really, at least to me. I check email on vacation too, not because I think I have to, but I feel better and can relax if I do. A quick glance at my inbox means I can totally relax for the day, then what’s wrong with that? I get heckled, but I refuse to feel badly- I WANT to do that, so I do. If you don’t WANT to check your work ee emm on vaycay, then don’t.

      • jenzings

        RebeccaTodd belllindsay Oh, absolutely yes on the guilt. Re-reading what I posted, that’s really the crux of the issue. Feeling guilty that I am letting someone, somewhere, down: clients, friends, coworkers, other trustees, the dog, my husband…(not in any specific order).

        • jenzings RebeccaTodd belllindsay I totally get it.

        • jasonkonopinski jenzings RebeccaTodd belllindsay To me, that’s the heart of the issue. It’s not even the working/not working, it’s the feeling bad about that choice. And I’ve taken three psych courses, so I am obviously an expert…

        • RebeccaTodd jasonkonopinski jenzings belllindsay I read a bunch of articles on the internet.

        • jenzings RebeccaTodd Dog > Husband. 😀

  • Preach!
    The balance between work and life is one of life’s great mysteries. Some days I leave the office early (because I commitment with the kids, for instance) and I tell myself I’m going to work from home in the evening. But then I find myself constantly thinking about the work I still have to do, and my attention is diverted from what is really important.
    So this mythical balance is just that: a myth. In an industry where there is always work to be done, I’m not sure we can ever really turn it off.
    I try really hard to leave my work at work, but when I’m especially busy, I have a really hard time not thinking about everything that I need to do.
    While I enjoy my work, sometimes I wish I was a construction worker so that when I punched out at the end of the day, I really punched out.

    • susancellura

      bradmarley I agree so much with your statements. I work hard to not work during times with my family, especially my daughter.

    • bradmarley I think we have to make a hard choice to “punch out.” Yes, there is always work to do. Always work to do.

  • RoccoZl
  • Great post, J! It’s a hard balance to strike, that’s for sure. Here is my big thought on this- we need to be a little easier on ourselves, whatever route we choose. You know I love my Sequestered Saturdays- lock myself in my house with my pack and my vinyl and my books, not speak to a single soul…paradise. I refuse to apologize or allow people to tell me I am “wasting” my day- as if listening to Sir Doug and the Texas Tornadoes could ever be a waste…but I digress. Sometimes, though, I work. Not because I “have” to, but because I  WANT to. I check my email- being 12 hours behind my direct report in Beijing, I don’t want her waiting if she needs me, personally or professionally. Or I write- things that become blog posts, things that become sales strategies, or things that will only ever live in my notes folder. And again- I refuse to apologize for working on a “day off” if that is what I WANT to do. 
    To me, striking this “balance” has everything to do with me being kinder to myself, and respecting that sometimes I like to work like a fiend, but sometimes I like to do absolutely nuthin’. I’m not going to force myself either way.
    One word on business travel before I go- you have to find a way to make it work for you. I have to force myself out of my hotel and to a nice restaurant, and I seek out chances to meet new people and try new things. Little is as soul-sucking as going right back to your hotel, working away after an already long day, ordering crappy room service. Even if you think you should.  I tell my reps I don’t want to hear about that. I want to know where they’ve eaten, the museums they saw, the people they met- ANYTHING other than “I caught up on work and ate in my room.” That is the route to destruction…believe me…I learned the hard way.

    • RebeccaTodd JUST A FEW MORE WEEKS!

      • jasonkonopinski RebeccaTodd Exactly! Imma show you how to do the Biz Travel.

        • RebeccaTodd I’m just not used to doing it. It happens just often enough that it’s disruptive. 😀

        • jasonkonopinski RebeccaTodd Understandable. Now I don’t know how to be at home for more than a few weeks. But my life, professionally and personally, is set up for constant insanity.

        • RebeccaTodd Welcome to the Thunderdome.

        • jasonkonopinski RebeccaTodd Jealous! 😉

        • lizreusswig RebeccaTodd Appropriate response.

    • RebeccaTodd Wow, Sequestered Saturdays. That’s the solution. Name your time away something cool.

      • Word Ninja RebeccaTodd I made that up on the spot, but now it is officially A Thing in RAT-land.

        • RebeccaTodd That’s it. I’m hiring you to officially name my Saturdays, lands…and future children.

        • Word Ninja RebeccaTodd YES!!!

  • Such a great topic and post, Jason! And, so many great comments already. I think what so many others have said is dead on…
    First, there’s no such thing as true “balance” – you just have to find the mix that works for you (and it’s different for everyone.
    Second, our industry definitely makes it harder to unplug. We are waaaaaay more connected than other people. So, some of this is our own fault. I think that’s where healthy boundaries come in.
    I took an unexpected blogging hiatus for a couple of weeks too so I could focus on some bigger writing projects. During that time, I barely dipped into social media. And honestly, it was kind of refreshing. It made me realize that the hustle and bustle of it all is largely self-imposed – either through fear of missing out, feeling that we “have” to be there or that we need to keep up with the Joneses. All of those are bad reasons. I think it’s good to pull back, do a gut check and realign our focus individually. Unplugging and getting outside of the bubble for a bit can really help with that.

    • lauraclick That last part, especially, is great advice. Pull back, do a gut check, realign our focus. A new perspective can be invaluable.

    • lauraclick I’d take it a step further and say that unless you’re involved in crisis communications at a large scale, it’s rare that something requires our immediate attention. 
      At the end of the day, I help clients sell more stuff. I’m not trying to end world hunger or eradicate some disease.  The work that I do is important to me and to the clients that I serve, but it helps to keep a healthy perspective.

  • So LOVE & LIVE this post!  Also, agree with the many terrific comments here, especially lauraclick – there really is no true balance and it often is so hard to disconnect for us social butterflies! 😉
    PS – @jasonkonopinski  said “private bits” hehe

  • AnneReuss

    Beautiful!!! You have a good head on your shoulders. Took me some time to realize this, but our social media friends – the “true” ones – will always be a tweet, text, skip, or a click away and they won’t be mad when we unplug.  As long as we find our way back to each other, it’s good right? 😉 
    Don’t let anyone define balance for you. If it means unwinding with a book, silly television, exercise or working extra one day so you can take a mini adventure the next day, so be it! 
    Like RebeccaTodd said. You have the power to create your own adventure. Use Yelp and pick up caffeine if that’s what it takes to get you out of the hotel room.

    • AnneReuss RebeccaTodd Lovely line- “Don’t let anyone define balance for you. If it means unwinding with a book, silly television, exercise or working extra one day so you can take a mini adventure the next day, so be it! “

      • RebeccaTodd AnneReuss “Choose Your Own Adventure” …. ok, I’ll pass on the corridor that has a mysteriously strong wind draft through it and instead climb the rope ladder up into A CRYPT WITH MUMMIES!!oh god WHY did I ever listen to AnneReuss that is the last time I take her advice.

  • rdopping

    Amen brother! 
    The world of consulting can get hold of you by the cojones and when it does it smarts. Notwithstanding the “always on” nature of our lives that can trap us, I recently saw something mitchjoel  posted from David Allen which puts some of these issues into a framework that I found valuable
    I often wonder how much better our lives benefit from technology if we are clear on how to manage our time better.
    Great piece, sir.

  • Great post! I especially love the part about having a little humility about the work we do. Well put. Also, I don’t like business travel much either. For the most part I find it is only appealing to folks who actually don’t get to travel for work.

    • LSSocialEngage It’s a bit of a rarity for me, thankfully. I don’t know how some people can spend 200 days on the road and not completely lose sanity.

      • jasonkonopinski LSSocialEngage Do advocate devilishly for a moment…when people tell ME that they go to the same office with the same people for the same hours, five days a week, I think “How do you not completely lose your sanity?” So to some extent, it is chacun son gout.

  • Great post, jasonkonopinski ! I agree that there are times for being outrageously busy … especially if you’re a business owner or a consultant who has to do everything. BUT if it stays like that, things have to change. You either have to bite the bullet and increase overhead by hiring or start outsourcing in some way. It’s hard but it just has to be done.
    I truly believe we weren’t created to simply work all the time.


    • KateFinley While I love working around tech startups and other entrepreneurially minded people, I simply cannot abide romanticizing “the hustle”. Long nights at the office should be the exception and certainly not the rule.

      • jasonkonopinski KateFinley And really, how much actually gets done in 12 or 14 hours that could happen in 6?

  • So very agree. I’m finally FINALLY actually ashamed if I work more than 10 hours in a day. I’m hoping to get that down to 6 next year. My solution is to close things and put them physically away from me, then let laziness or tiredness take it from there. 🙂

    • Tinu Wait, you mean these computers/phones/ipads have off buttons?

  • Considering what happened to me the last time I traveled for business, it won’t surprise you to know that I am also not a fan. 
    Excellent post, excellent points. It drives me nuts when people use their “busy-ness” as a badge of honor (I’m not talking of once in a while, I’m talking about on an ongoing basis). I can’t help but wonder, “Hmmm. Talk to me about your time management skills. Or your ability to prioritize. Or your ability to work smart.”
    Regarding the plugged in factor, people often say to me, “You are ALWAYS online.” Only I’m not. I am very intentional about when I’m online and when I’m not. I still like hanging out in person, or working without interruption. Crazy, right?

  • AlexisNasc

    MatthewLiberty jasonkonopinski I needed that read. #thankyou

    • MatthewLiberty

      AlexisNasc Good article for sure, cheers!! cc jasonkonopinski

    • jasonkonopinski

      AlexisNasc MatthewLiberty Thank you both!

      • AlexisNasc

        jasonkonopinski I just noticed that you develop content… Any interest in the wine industry? 🙂

        • jasonkonopinski

          AlexisNasc I <3 wine. Email —> jason(at)jasonkonopinski(dot)com.

  • I stopped telling people ‘I’ve been busy’ when they asked how’s business. Instead, I started saying ‘I’ve been really productive’ and made a conscious choice to only work on what matters.
    That makes a big difference.
    Also, setting a personal goal of working for only 4 hours a day as my ideal target. It keeps me focused, spending time on the important work, ignoring junk and time wasting activities. Sure, some days are 10 hours, but I keep bringing it back to the 4 hours which helps me keep things in balance.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick I seriously love this! I need to make a conscious choice to only work on what matters.

  • Really enjoyed this post, and it brought up so many thoughts/ideas I am having trouble corralling them into a logical comment! I do think that the “constant state of on” is something that has colored many aspects of parenting (for me). When my daughter was at a three week dance intensive (which really WAS intense) and could text me to say she didn’t feel like going to class, I didn’t have the discipline to not engage …. and that exchange did not go well. Without my instant accessibility, she would have had to suck it up and GO to class. Something is lost  —  something about having to come to terms with things internally without the external “crutches” of our electronics.

  • ginidietrich

    creativeoncall Did you make up the word “digiphrenia”?

    • creativeoncall

      ginidietrich I wish… he references it in the post

  • Jason you hit this one on the head….actually, I just finished Lean-In by Sheryl Sandberg and there’s this quote that’s perfect….something along the lines of “people use the phrase live/work balance like those two things are in opposition.” Simple, but true. 
    RebeccaTodd and I were just talking about the information overload thing yesterday, in relation to how Gmail has tabbed email delivery now. You’re right that people (myself included) get stuck in the trap of more, even when there’s not necessarily a clear benefit. I’ve been writing this thing about why content marketing drives me crazy and how people misunderstand that the point of connecting to other people, IS connecting to other people, and that gets lost in the avalanche of numbers. I’d love to see someone, for example, create two pieces of amazing content, and build conversation around that for a month instead of delivering a steady stream of lukewarm stuff. Same goes for how I think about my life and balance it. Admittedly I have a smaller influence / network than most people I know, but the connections I do have, I really value their thoughts and actions. The whole less is more thing.

  • KevinVandever

    Busy isn’t a Badge of Honor…I need to make a sign and post it on my office door, but that would backfire because, well, you know, everyone wears the badge. When someone comes into my office, sighs, and tells me how busy he or she is, I always think to say something like “Wow, that’s too bad. I’m not that busy. I have the perfect balance of work and life. I sleep 8 hours a night, spend quality time with my family, and exercise the exact amount of time necessary for optimal health (they know I’m lying at this point). In fact, you need to leave my office now because I’m due for my mid-afternoon nap.” But I never say that. I usually reply with something profound like “Yeah, it’s crazy around here”. It’s the easy way out. The overly busy person wins because he or she is validated. I win because I’ve kept secret my true identity as someone who cares about, and takes action toward, a balanced life. A sometimes dangerous identity to reveal in the corporate world. Oh my, I hope I haven’t said too much. 
    Great post. Thanks.

  • Information is like a drug. It is addictive. I love it!!! More data…PLEASE!
    When I’m running an advertised sale on one of my novels, it will generate between 65 – 220 sales in a day. Most days are 3 – 8, so the books (Kindle versions) are flying (metaphorically) out the door.
    It is fun to click refresh and see if any new ones have show up. But it isn’t just the joy of a new sale, it is the data. I might check ten times in an hour, between Tweets and blog post. I record every single instance, the time, the quantity, the book sold, and keep it all in a fantastic excel workbook.
    I’ve learned a bunch from my data, so I like it.
    That being said, during a promotion, it is common for me to wake up in the middle of the night, crawl out of bed, check the data and enter a new data point. This happens three of four times a night during these high volume days.
    No, I don’t have children or a girlfriend. (No surprises there).
    My computer has three monitors. When I can afford it, I’ll upgrade to five, so I’m not so cramped with my screen real estate.
    It all seems pretty grim for me, doesn’t it?
    Well, there is one place where technology is cast aside. A place where I don’t check emails, tweets, or answer the phone. In fact, I don’t even have my phone on.
    The golf course. Even if I’m playing poorly, missing easy putts, and spending more time in the sand traps than I’d like, it is still a good day.
    Your post is a good reminder that one must not let technology rule their life. A reminder I probably need daily (he said as he finished writing his lengthy response to a blog post). Irony is cool.

    • @ExtremelyAvg Who among us can cast stones? But there is something inarguably elegant and beautiful about simply letting the blood course through your veins, watching the water, and feeling the boundaries of your physical frame. They can create a literal mainframe to plug me into and I’ll still take time out to see, touch, and hear the world.

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  • So I had a really amazing and philosophical comment to share about this terrific blog (which I wrote in my firewalled state on Thursday)…and then I realized the irony of the fact that I’m here at 4 am, on a Saturday tweeting, sharing and commenting on a blog about work/life balance…
    So, now I’m off to the gym and I shall come back and post my comment after 9am (since for some reason that seems slightly more ‘in balance’, not that it actually is, but the great thing about posting comments at 4am is that there are very few people around to argue with you!)

  • Dopazoornd

    WomenWhoTech I have pics to share with you please klk me “lilpussi”

  • Hi Jason,
    After traveling the world and working online for the past 36 months, I concur. Bravo! 😉 I work from my laptop. My laptop is my office. I have no smart phone. I have no phone. I check Skype. All work is done during set periods then I travel. I do tourist stuff. I go offline on long flights. I write, read, and actually talk to fellow travelers.
    I learned 36 months ago when my journey began in Bali that effective acts count and when I give myself time to unplug and detach, my effective acts increase.
    Thanks Jason!

  • RyanBiddulph

    smarketingforum Smart post! Must read for anybody living the internet lifestyle….thanks!

  • Greatly enjoyed the post, Jason. I’ve telecommuted since 1998, and I’ve done more of the Work/Life “blend” versus balance. That “always on” capability has me checking and responding to emails at 10-11pm at night…and weekends.
    Knowing I’m going to do that regularly, I’ve tried to ensure I take time off when I need it – for family events or simply to have coffee with my wife. I’ve also adopted a much lighter engagement over the weekends recently. Like you said…nobody is going to die if I do not respond to their email or tweet right away. When I do connect, it is more about personal sharing with some of my online friends (such as yourself) vs trying to do work or business development.
    Because you can never share enough #foodporn when it comes to homemade bacon and smoked pork shoulder, right?? And we are in the high-time for talking football smack!

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