Forget work-life balance, try work-life integration

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  • Post last modified:May 4, 2020
Forget work-life balance, try work-life integration

Studying for my A Levels examination wasn’t exactly fun, nor was it always enjoyable, but I was pretty happy on average during the process. That is because I did not pursue work-life balance. Frankly, I outright rejected the idea of work-life balance. This is why.

There is no life without work

Truth is, life without work is not life at all. Imagine living a life where you have no purpose, no goal to pursue, no task to complete, nothing to achieve. Sooner or later, you will feel exceedingly bored, tired even, of filling your day with “fun” activities like eating, gaming, socialising, et cetera. If this was not so, why did rich aristocrats and wealthy landowners in the past – people who had all the material wealth they need – pursue education in the sciences and in the arts? Why were some of the hardest working scientists like Lavoisier also people who did not have to work? That is because they realised that a life without work lacks purpose and motivation, and is not worth living.

In addition, fun things are most enjoyable after a day of labour. Nothing is relaxing if there was nothing to relax from. A day of productive and draining work makes resting ever more reinvigorating, socialising more satisfying, and gaming more entertaining. Work is part of life, and is what keeps us alive.

Integrate work into your life

Hence, I suggest that we integrate work into our lives. Every day, even during the school holidays or “off-peak” periods after the end of an examination, make some time to do something productive, even if it is not something you necessarily enjoy. By completing tasks every day, each passing hour becomes more fulfilling — you are either doing something productive, or you are enjoying a period of rest between productive work. Integrating work into your life will make your life much richer.

Integrate life into your work

But at the same time, integrate life into your work. Work need not be all-boring and dry. For example, you can play some music while studying. Consider studying with friends also; while you should be focused when studying, during breaks you can chat to unwind, seamlessly transitioning between work and life. Because once you realise that work is inseparable from life, you will learn to enjoy the process of work, or find ways to make work more enjoyable.

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