For many of today’s employees, it is no longer possible to separate work and life the way we used to. Emails fill our inboxes after hours, our homes have become our offices, and we carry notifications from bosses and colleagues in our pockets at all times.
The notion of “work-life balance” has therefore little resonance for the modern workplace.
But is that a bad thing?
In this episode, Jordan and Jason argue that work and life have the same aim (fulfillment) and therefore should be seen as two means of reaching the same end.
They urge listeners to move from a work-life balance mindset to the “66% of time” mindset — a view that allocates eight hours a day (or one third of life) to sleep and the other two-thirds of time to seeking fulfillment in and outside of work.
Key ideas and highlights
- Some of the best parts of life happen at work — milestones achieved, skills developed, & relationships formed
- For employees that work from home or from a computer, work no longer has the built in limits that it did in the past
- The “66% of time” mindset: life can be split into two groups of time. One third is dedicated to sleep and the other two thirds, or 66%, is available for seeking fulfillment.
What do we do with the 66% of time we’re not sleeping? The values that you hold highest should fill all of the time that you’re not sleeping. It’s not a matter of whether I’m at work or at home. The things I’m aiming for — purpose, flourishing, meaning — are the same. — Jason Murray
Learn more about how you can retain employees and reduce the costs of your people programs with Fringe.
Word of the day
24:02 — Anachronistic ✨
- 0:00 Intro
- 7:22 The misplaced assumptions behind the notion of work-life balance
- 8:36 Debunking the work/life balance myth
- 12:01 Why work and life don’t have to compete with one another
- 14:26 How the history of work has shaped how we think about work
- 18:56 What the work used to have built-in limits
- 22:22 Where people are seeking community
- 29:14 Moving to a “66% of time” mindset
- 30:53 Why “fulfillment” is a better aim than work/life balance
- 35:00 The role community plays in staving off fear and anxiety
- 38:54 The key to making work more meaningful
How many hours and years of our lives do we spend on work for nearly all of us, we spend 30+ years and one third of our days in our vocation — more time perhaps, than we spend at rest or at play. But this isn’t a problem. Why? Because work is good. Work needs to be integrated deeply into our lives and must be in line with our most important goals and values. And if it is, we have a far more complete and fulfilling life experience. Welcome to the How People Work podcast, where we explore the intersection of how humans think and act and how they apply themselves to their work. When you understand both of these things, you’ll be equipped to be insightful, compassionate, and compelling leaders.
All right. Welcome back to How People Work. Episode, what are we on? Four?Jason, Jason, episode four. And today we’re going to be talking about work-life balance. In fact, Jason and I have been talking the last 10, 15 minutes already. We probably should have pressed record before now but it’s a compelling topic for us. It’s one that I like to jump right in. We maybe are one of the one or two generations that have experienced the shift from when the phrase work-life balance made a lot of sense to win. Now it makes zero sense. And so it’s interesting to kind of walk that journey from childhood and seeing what that balance looked like to now that not even being an available thing in life and figuring out a way to be okay with that and figure out a way to navigate life in a different way than our parents did. So, fun topic. Interesting. Very kind of philosophical and -
Ironically, very personal today. Yes. Just knowing that you and I both are kind of starting our work day as we record this, which the audience won’t know in the evening because wives and children have been sick all day and we’ve had our hands full doing other things.
There was no balance whatsoever. It, it’s 8:30 PM and this is the first work I’ve done today.
It’s just not Fringe work. It was other things. So yeah, I think this whole notion of work life balance or this dichotomy between work and life. I mean, where I’d love to start is just maybe kicking around the notion: how did we even get here? I’ve kind of engaged on LinkedIn with a bunch of conversations, people talking about this thing. And I think just what’s run through my mind often is: how did we even get to this place where it’s like, Hey, we’ve got work life balance and it’s this big thing and everyone’s talking about it, and work seems to kind of be the enemy in that paradigm. And it just kind of leaves me wondering, how did we get here with that?
Yeah. I think it’s coming from a good place. I think the idea of work life balance is coming from a place of self-protection. And maybe even better than that, maybe we’re trying to protect each other societally or in our companies, we’re trying to look at each other and say, “Hey, don’t overdo it.” And when we say that, we’re always talking about work, right? Don’t overdo the work. Right? Don’t check the emails too late at night. Don’t stay too long. Don’t whatever, sleep under your desk, whatever. Which I actually would recommend not doing that. So I think it’s coming from a good place. But to what you just said work is the enemy. The assumption is work is bad, life is good. Life uplifts us and work drags us down. Right?
Everybody’s working for the weekend, right? Right. I mean, there’s songs about this and getting your paycheck on a Friday.
Five o’clock somewhere.
It’s five o’clock somewhere. It’s all about getting through the work to get to the fun and the assumption that life is all fun and work is all not fun.
And that it’s a means to an end.
It’s a means to an end. And I think that is the paradigm that you and I very much disagree with and would love to tear down in our conversation today if we can.
Very much so.
I think we are big believers that work is actually good and that now there are some qualifiers. There are some ways in which work needs to be good or can be made good by these qualifiers. The fact that the work is meaningful, that I feel confident in the work. I know how to do the work. I have the skills, have the intelligence. I’ve got the motivation, right? Yes. I want to do the work that’s important. I’m getting compensated to do the work, right? There’s an incentive and there’s maybe people I get to work alongside. And so this is not just that, well, I just pick up a shovel and I dig a hole, and every single time it’s super satisfying, right? Not the point. But it’s also not always dissatisfying. It’s always, it’s not always toil. It’s not always, oh, I’m exhausted. I hated every minute of that. I can’t wait to get home and get to my life.
Right, right. Well, it’s probably only fair to give the devil’s due a little bit here, because there is something about this dichotomy that is appealing. I mean, there’s just a simplicity of something that’s that binary, that’s easy to grasp onto. And I think it’s rooted in something that feels a little bit right, experientially. And so, and I haven’t worked together for as long as we have prior to our business ventures together. We work at a place that really wasn’t an amazing experience culturally or otherwise. I mean, it was a pretty excruciatingly bad work environment and work experience, I would say. And so I can understand the appeal of, yeah, I did not necessarily look forward to, right, work when I was in that setting. And there’s maybe a variety of reasons, ways I could have reframed that. But when I was living in it in the moment, I can appreciate the sentiment of people that say, “Hey, I’m just trying to get through the day to get to my life because work sucks” and I get it there. There’s some honesty to that.
Yeah. Also though, I think we forget that life can suck. Yeah. <laugh>, right? I mean, it’s
Evidence by today.
If you really break it down, I mean, if there are hard relationships at work and there are difficult dynamics at work, what would make you think that in a world full of human beings that at work, everybody and everything would be difficult and frustrating. And in the rest of your life, everyone and everything would just be simple and easy and smooth like that. That’s not real. We’re going to experience hardship at work. We’re going to experience hardship at home. We’re going to celebrate at work. We’re going to celebrate at home. And so I think we need to, where I’d love to take the conversation is just talking about how work is satisfying and when it is satisfying, what makes it satisfying. And I know you’ve got a bunch of notes that you put together in preparation for this but I’ve got some personal stories I want to tell too. So just tell me when you want me to jump in on that.
Yeah, for sure. Well, and I think one of the things too that’s worth calling out here is this sense that all the good things to be had that we can experience don’t take place in work. So I think that’s one of the other things that happens when we make this dichotomy: work’s bad, life’s good, therefore, joy, happiness, fulfillment, all of those kinds of things live over here in life and inside of work. It’s really just a means to an end. It’s become something entirely transactional and it’s wages for time and effort. And that’s literally it. And the wages are what afford us the ability to experience and enjoy all these other things. And it just feels like a really shallow way to approach life. And we spend so much time at work because it’s necessary and practical for a whole variety of reasons. But more so than that, I think what we want to suggest and convince people of is that there’s all of those things, joy, happiness, fulfillment, purpose to be found in the work itself if it’s designed with intention and set up properly.
Yeah, absolutely. I think when I look back over the last, I don’t want to go too far back, but even just two years, some of the very most fun moments, the most meaningful moments, the most compelling moments, the moments that changed me — they happened in very close correlation with work, or they happened in a physical place like this one, the Fringe clubhouse in Richmond, Virginia, that I associate with work in some way standing about 12 feet that direction, addressing our company at our first Fringe Fest. I don’t know that I’ve ever had, I shouldn’t say this cause I have five children, but it was a top six moment. And I also got married, seven moment of my life, not because I was standing there, I had the microphone necessarily, but just looking around and looking at the faces of the people that had given over trust to come and work with or advise or invest in or whatever. This company that we started based off of an idea that we once put on a sticky note and stuck to a wall.
What did you feel in that moment?
Oh man, a lot of things. I think a deep, deep satisfaction that something that I didn’t believe that was for someone like me, became something that I got to experience that I didn’t ever believe I had. The pedigree, the intelligence, the connections, whatever it is that you need to do that.
Yeah. Yeah. We’ve talked about that. Yeah. Just how people you’ve come across from your life in high school, and they say things like, “wait, Jordan is what?”
Jordan (10:24): Jordan Peace. Jordan Peace?
Are we talking about the same guy?
Exactly. Yeah. Does he have a cousin? Are you sure? Yeah yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Man, I think I felt that I also just felt insanely connected to the people in the room because I knew so many others. It wasn’t just me. So many others had put their blood, sweat and tears into getting to that moment as well, and thinking about who was going to benefit from that down the road and all the people that owned portions of the company and what it would mean for their lives and the future. And it felt all kinds of things. And all of that was because of work. A whole lot of work.
Yeah. It took a lot when it was just the five of us and grinding away doing everything.
And it’s still a whole lot of work, but it’s hard. Yeah, it’s hard. It’s stressful, but it’s also incredibly satisfying. And that is more than I can say about most of my week-long beach trips that I’ve taken in the last four years, much more than I can say. Yeah, leisure’s great. Sit on the beach, read a book.
More deeply satisfying more for
For three hours. Okay. Yeah.
I mean, I can’t imagine sitting on the beach for three hours with a book at the stage that we’re at.
Well yeah, I say sitting, I mean chasing children, but hypothetically, I’m there on the beach. But I don’t know. I don’t know. That, to me, I just think we just forget to reflect and reminisce on what’s actually happening in our lives, and what are the moments that are actually really impacting us, and where are we laughing? Where are we shedding tears? Where are we really feeling? And I’d argue that many of us experience just as much with our coworkers and in a work setting of that meaning and that growth that we do anywhere in life. And I don’t think we need to, these two things don’t need to compete with one another. All we have is life, right? It’s just life. And work hopefully could be a really, really satisfying part of life.
Yeah. Yeah. I remember in that moment for myself when we had everyone here for Fringe Fest thinking, I can’t believe that this just random idea that we had is actually coming to life the way that it was, because I mean you know me and how idealistic I can be about things and my visions probably far outpace my actual capabilities. And so the fact that we were standing there,
I didn’t know you were going to say capability when I decided to agree with you, that was not an insult.
Well, I think it’s true though. I mean, the fact that we had, I don’t know, at that time it was 50 some people that were part of this journey and this mission, and I think very much felt like they were experiencing something inside of the company that we created. And it just felt kind of wild. But I think it speaks to something I think is important in this whole concept of how do you manage work and life, and what does that look like is what are you aiming for? What are your goals in all that? Because it would’ve been one thing if our goal setting out with Fringe was like, “Hey, we’re just here to make a crap ton of money and build a cool tech product.” And that was it. I think given the fact that neither of us had ever had a lot of money or built a tech product, all we really had was like, well, hey, it’d be really cool to build something awesome for these people and for our families, of course, as well. But those weren’t separate goals, I wouldn’t say. I think they were really kind of inextricably linked to one another.
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
So I think it’d be interesting to take a little bit of a look at some of the historical context here because I think that’s really useful as it relates to just how did we arrive where we’re at today, and maybe some of the differences and how over the course of most of human history, work has been experienced and viewed by humans. And really the paradigm we’re living in is extremely recent in that context. And so I’ll give kind of a quick flyover, and then I know there’s some topics there that we want to delve into a little bit further. This may be obvious to some, but really sort of human work originated in agrarian societies where work was primarily focused on agriculture, animal husbandry. I couldn’t help but think of Age of Empires when I was putting down some of my notes. How you start out in the game and nerd alert, but it was cultivating crops, raising livestock. It was very in touch with the land. You were producing the food that you were going to eat to literally survive and provide for your family. That work was often communal in nature. And so it wasn’t just you off on your own, it was often with others in the community or family around you working together to accomplish these things.
Andhe work that you accomplished. I think it was so clear how that worked impacted the entire community, right? If you didn’t do your job, then people didn’t eat. That’s right. And if they didn’t do their job, then your crops weren’t protected from the wild animals that wanted to eat them and et cetera, et cetera.
Yeah. So I think that’s an important idea as we start to come closer to the future in this. So kind of following that, we had the rise of trading networks, marketplaces. People began to specialize in trades. So there was kind of a shift towards commerce and trade. So agriculture was still very much a part of what that human work looked like, but there was more of the exchange of goods and services like, Hey, you have something, it’s more efficient. If I produce this thing that I’m really good at producing, we can trade. And in that trade, we’re gaining some efficiency in our endeavors as humans. And so work started to become a little bit more centered around these marketplaces and trading hubs. So it actually, I’d say in some ways, brought the community even closer together because that interconnectedness and reliance upon the specializations and trades and craftsmen and whatnot became really important.
And then we started getting into a little bit more of the modern era that I think people are going to be more familiar with. So the industrial revolution, obviously, was a huge shift in the way that people worked. The rise of factories, mass production, people working in these factories, things becoming more mechanized and so forth. Kind of the repetition of tasks. I mean, in some ways, that was sort of where work started to become a little bit more removed and disconnected from, say, the land, from community, from relationships. I think that’s where the phrase being a cog in the wheel came from.
That’s where the transactionalism started.
Right. And then the really quick evolution has been the service industry, right? So in the 20th century, this is really in the sixties and seventies, primarily work shifts towards the service sectors. So industries like healthcare, education, hospitality, et cetera. Things that weren’t actually producing goods, but we’re providing services for people. And then the most recent shift, obviously has been technology. So work’s more and more digitized, decentralized jobs are done remotely, work’s reliant on that technology and automation, gig economy, freelance work, all these things have become much, much more prevalent. And so one of the things as I was making some of these notes, and I know you have some thoughts on this too, is over the course of that history, I couldn’t help but notice how disconnected the work has become from the actual human impact that it has at the end of the day. And you kind of alluded to that at the beginning, dear comments around the food that we produce and where it’s going and some of that kind of stuff.
I think our work, when I say our, I mean as a species, our work produced several things that were really obvious back in the day. One is that we felt our work. It was very, very physical. There was a limit to the amount of work that could be done simply because your body could only handle, but so much strain. And then we rested, and then we worked, and then we rested. And that was the natural order of how things worked, because it had to work that way because our bodies had limitations. We’re also limited by nature, by weather, by light, by when we could see to do the work. And speaking of seeing, I think there are two different ways that we could see our works. We felt our work. We also could see our work. One is that we could see our work in the physical environment around us.
So at the end of the day, the crop that was not harvested was now harvested. The wall that was not built was now built or partially built. The field that was not plowed is now plowed. I could see that which was undone is now done. And I have, I’ve earned this rest and I also need this rest. And I can see, but I also can see really tangibly the impact on the people around me, right? I can see that I produced X and that person needed X, and they got that thing, and now their family is fed or safer or whatever. I protected the flock of their sheep because I’m a shepherd and that’s my job. And no sheep died today, and therefore that family is better off. Whatever the case may be. Many of those things we’ve lost.
There’s something really instinctual about that. I think reciprocity and human nature that I think is sort of intrinsic and you know, you really lose that when you start getting away from the really kind of earthy relationships with both the land, the way work was performed at that time, but also the community that just literally lived next door. Work was for the people immediately around you that you saw all the time.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think we talked about this in the previous episodes. I don’t want to harp on it, but I think one of the things that took place in the modern era when things did get more transactional, and I think people started to feel as though they were that cog in the wheel. And it was very much like, I’m going to trade my time for money and I’m going to get home. And that’s it. And then the community was at home, right? Now, whether that was a social group or a place of worship, or just the neighbors right around you and the community that you created right there, geographically, wherever it was. That was community and work was work. And then through the technological arena. And then I think the decline of many of the more social and religious aspects of life. People are more isolated in their home life. There’s not so much of a sit out on the front porch and wave at the neighbors and know everybody that’s right there physically around this. That still happens, but it’s not so much the focus as what’s going on on this screen, right? And so I think what’s happened, people still are communal. They still need community, but now they’re seeking community at work.
They’re seeking community with their coworkers so much more. I mean, almost everybody I talk to that’s our age. We’re 37, by the way, and down when I ask: Who are your friends? They’re like, It’s who I work with? And there might be one or two leftovers from college and that, that’s pretty much it. And then when you switch jobs, some of those stay and some of them don’t. And they pick up another group of friends. The next job, it’s very much around the work. And so work and community have come back together. And it took a long, long time for that to happen. But it’s actually an exciting thing. I think that work and community are more tied again.
Yeah. Or there’s at least the potential for it to be more tied. Cause I think, as we talked about, and I think it was the last episode with the native analog/native digital thing, one of the things I think we just maybe haven’t quite figured out as a species is: how do you do community well in this kind of digital virtual world? And I think it’s something that we’re sort of experimenting with as we go here as a species and figuring those things out.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And speaking of that, I think the connectedness, and we talk about connected to people, but I think just the plugged in-ness of life that we just have the information stream constantly. And I was thinking about that. I was thinking generally generationally, and what did I experience as a child? And this’ll sound a bit anachronistic in 2023, but as a child, I remember my mom and dad, my mom actually got home from work before me, so more so focused on my dad here, getting home from work. And I could tell that he carried his work with him in his mind, at least for the first 30 minutes, hours, two hours. I could tell it was ruminating, especially when I was older and more observant than just running and grabbing his leg and demanding his attention when I started paying attention. But he didn’t bring work in the door.
There was no computer, well just there, just literally wasn’t. There was no notes. There was no nothing. Right? He managed a factory. There wasn’t anything for him to do. And so when he was at home, he was at home. Unless there was some emergency call of come back to the work, he was just there and, and it was forcible. We talked about the weather dictating that. And we talked about light dictating when we could work. Geography dictated that he could not work because he wasn’t at the work, right? Not him. And it’s nothing against my dad, but it wasn’t his discipline. It wasn’t his good decision making. It was the environment that caused the work to be put away and the family to become the focus. It was just geography. But now we have an opportunity no matter where we are, and we always say, wow, we really need to unplug from work. We need to disconnect from work, but we don’t disconnect from home. I don’t come in whenever I do come into the office, it’s not all the time, but I don’t turn texting off. I don’t turn the notifications off from the MLB app or whatever news apps that I get things from. So my life is streaming at me while I’m working. And while I’m supposedly doing life, which is a separate thing, apparently, work is streaming at me, right? So there there’s no -
Which is a huge difference. Cause I’m thinking about dad, when he was at work, if your mom was calling him, it was a big emergency.
Oh, somebody better be dead. You don’t interrupt the work day for just the idle chitchat. There wasn’t texting.
What are you eating for lunch?
There was no plans being made for that evening or whatever. You figured it out once you were physically together. So I just think we need to understand that for the first time in human history, we have the opportunity to find out any information we want anytime, no matter if we’re at home or at an office or at a coffee shop, or wherever the heck we work. When I’m in my closet and my bedroom working, most of the time, I can find out anything that’s going on with my people, my family, my community, whatever you want to define in my tribe. And I can find out anything that’s going on with work. I can find out anything that’s going on in the world. And so really, it just comes down to a discipline of understanding how many things should I let — how many things should I let enter my brain in one given day? Yeah. How much can I take? So it’s not so much about the physical toil anymore, of just like, well, I work until I’ve fall down and then I stop. But we don’t fall down because of our work. Most of us anymore. We don’t hardly use our bodies at all. But we do fall down mentally. There is a stress, there is an anxiety that is sinister, right? It’s sneaky, right? We’re just like, well, I don’t know. I really haven’t done all that much today, but, but you did read 200,000 words between the text, pointless emails, slacks, and the -
That really stressed you out.
But it does because it’s just stuff.
That’s why I go back to this work-life balance idea. The heart behind protecting ourselves in some way is good, but it’s not protect from work because work is all bad. We need to protect from something.
And I think you’re getting at, when I’ve pushed back at some people on LinkedIn in these conversations, I don’t think it’s work. I think it’s the content of the work or what’s going on during the work. And so I think there’s probably two streams that come to mind for me. And one is very much what you were just describing, which is the things taking place, whether it’s in our workday or whether it’s in our life day with our family and stuff, are creating that stress and anxiety. So there’s maybe two themes there, kind of stress and anxiety, kind of what we’re experiencing as a result of what’s coming at us all the time. And then this notion of connectedness and disconnectedness and sort of connectedness, which I think we probably often take as a positive thing. But in this case, I think what you’re implying is that we’re too connected all the time to everything happening at every moment. And it’s just simply overwhelming.
Completely. Yeah. I mean, you used to think about work is eight hours and life is eight hours and sleep is eight hours. And that was sort of how you broke up your day. And so we used to say things like, well, if you’re going to spend one third of your life doing something, you better love it. Right? But it’s not so much that anymore. We still hopefully spend about a third of our lives sleeping. So we still have this other 66%. How much of that 66 are we connected to the entire world with the computer that’s in our pocket? Yeah. How much? 65 out of 66.
Do you even ever not take your phone to the bathroom?
I don’t. I take it to the bathroom. Every time.
Yeah. Oh yeah.
Yeah. I mean, in the shower. The shower might be the only time. And I’ve even broken that rule. Cause I’ve had to be on a phone call, <laugh>, ignore the sound of running water. It’s my kids.
Really want to know what phone call that was.
Everybody believes, everybody believes you when you just blame kids. It’s usually true. But that might be my 1%. Yeah. Where it’s not going to ding. It may not even be in the room. That might be, and that’s my own problem. I could do better than that probably, but I don’t think I’m abnormal on that front.
I guess the question is, what do you do with that 66% right of your time? Yeah. I mean, some amount of it’s going to be performing work out of necessity because we do need to earn money to live and basic necessities. But it’s an interesting question because I think it’s not about hours. And I think that’s something I always grate at, when I see people comment or make statements, it’s like, ah, it’s just whatever. If I get my work done in four hours or eight hours, I’m, the whole paradigm just doesn’t even seem right to begin with. It’s like, who cares? We should be aiming at just fulfillment in that 66%.
Being successful in the work, finding satisfaction in the work, right? Doing what you promised that you would do, either with your coworkers or your employer, being a person of integrity. And yeah, you fulfilling the role.
And that’s not unique to work. And so I think that’s even where not all, we probably say that’s where we’re trying to tear down this wall between the work and the life is like, well, the values that you hold the highest, I think should fill all of the time that you’re not sleeping. And so it’s not a matter of whether I’m at work or at home. It’s like, well, the things I’m aiming for I think are the same, right? If I desire flourishing or purpose or meaning for myself or my family or whatever, some of that’s going to be in work. Some of that’s going to be at home. But they’re not separate in some fundamental kind of way.
No, I don’t think they are at all. And I wasn’t trying to be the old guy attacking the phone in the pocket and that that’s the enemy. That’s not the enemy. It’s not the hardware. Right? It’s our inability to process what you are saying, which is, what is most important to me? What goals do I have in life? What am I aiming at? I don’t know, because I’m busy reading my 45th article this morning, I don’t know what I’m aiming at. I don’t think!
I don’t have time to stop and think. Right? So I want to get it, so you talked about stress and anxiety, and I think those are things that are maybe easy scapegoats because we all feel ‘em, we, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. And you, and have both been there personally in those moments where it’s felt so overwhelming that you know, you literally can’t work, can’t do anything. But I think there’s something more to it. What is it that maybe goes beyond just stress and anxiety? Cause I think that’s too superficial, maybe.
Yeah. I don’t want to summarize it with the word purposelessness, that it sounds too hopeless, but it’s not that our lives are without purpose. It’s that we’re often unaware of the purpose, and we’re often forgetting to align what we’re thinking and how we’re spending our time and what we’re doing and with the purpose. And so we’re just really anxious because we feel like we’re just being pulled around, just being blown about by the wind, as opposed to actually steering at all into any sort of direction. That is really anxiety-inducing feeling. Just like I’m watching the days and the years tick by it. I don’t even know what I’m doing here. And then the other thing I think is fear. Yeah. I think we’re terrified. One, the pace of change in the world is faster than it’s ever been, ever. And it’s getting faster. So whatever I learned today is useless in five years <laugh>, like that’s scary to ever feel accomplished enough, smart enough, good enough, capable enough when you’ve just got to constantly, to use a very millennial word, reinvent yourself, <affirmative> all the time to keep up. And I think also, if we don’t spend a whole lot of time creating community and intimate community and having real relationships and real conversations, and we don’t have a lot of people in our lives that really affirm us, that really tell us, actually, you are good enough and help us understand our place in the world.
Yeah. What’s really interesting about that too, I’m just thinking about it in my own life, is having that community helps you articulate your values. And if you don’t articulate those values, then you experience that anxiety, right? And there’s actually, it’s a psychological principle that when we don’t have clearly articulated value hierarchies that we orient ourselves around, that literally the biological result of that is anxiety, right? Because we’re not oriented around -
It’s a recipe for mental chaos.
Because we’re not orienting our lives in any kind of way towards anything that we hold in high esteem. And so I think there’s two really critical things that you just pointed out there. One’s like, what do we care most about? And are we orienting our lives, work or home, wherever, towards those ultimate values that we have? And then what community helps point out and kind of hold us to those things, or explore those things out we find most valuable.
And encourages us that we can actually pursue and be successful in whatever those endeavors are.
Yeah. So I think maybe to start wrapping this up a little bit, there’s some probably practical takeaways from that. I mean, what would you say for individuals who are listening, and I’m sure there’s people who feel like, hey, I don’t have the best work experience at this moment. What do I do? How do I think about some of this stuff?
Yeah, I think it would be easy to tell people to remove things from them, from their lives. I don’t think it’s actually very good advice, because nobody’s going to follow it. So what I would suggest is adding things to your life, which sounds stressful, but add 10 minutes a day where you don’t have a phone and you have a notebook and you have a pen. 10 minutes. You know? You could do that every day for, I don’t know, 14 straight days. I don’t know what the magic number is. I can’t imagine how much more you might know about yourself, about how much more you might know about what you care about, what you kind of believe in, what your worldview is, what you prioritize, what you hold in high esteem. I like that expression. We don’t know. Cause we don’t think, and we don’t think because there’s always something going in.
Nothing can ever come out.
Because we don’t ever have the time. So produce something, produce a sentence a day of just something that matters to you. The first day is, I love my kids. That’s enough. So I would add that into life. And then I think through a process of doing something like that, then you can begin to reflect on, do I have the right job? Am I in the right career? Am I like, yeah. But I wouldn’t think any of those thoughts until you spend some time figuring out who you are and why you are.
Cause I think the work, the work can actually be infused with purpose when you start to explore those ideas of what actually matters most to you. And you might find out, well, actually I’m doing work that turns out is actually fairly in line with this. But before I really sat down to think about it, I was just kind of all over the place because I really didn’t know and I hadn’t articulated what I want most.
And work is the enemy because the work just gives me more tasks to do, and my life already feels full. And so I just need to get away from it so that I can relax, even though I don’t know how to relax.
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s great. I mean, I think the one other thing I’d probably add, and this would be more for people who lead people or people who are building companies and so forth. There’s something that I always said to my team as I was working with them is to the extent that you can help people that you work with or manage align the actual content of their work to the things that they’re excited about, that they love doing, that matches their strengths and abilities and so forth. And it’s never going to be a hundred percent perfect, but a job description is really just something that’s necessary for legal purposes, but it really doesn’t match what most people end up doing in their day-to-day. And so I think the word I’d probably use is intention or intentionality. So for people who are managers and leaders of people is kind of using that intentionality to help design work for the people that they lead on their teams and try and align those things more closely.
All right. Lay it on me. We got to wrap it up. I need a word for next episode, I don’t know if you noticed, but I nailed it on this one.
Yeah, I was ready this time too. So the word of the day for our next episode will be tantamount.
Wow. You just keep upping your game and I appreciate it.
AI know you love the word games, so we’re going to make this fun.
Oh, all right. Well, thank you. Thanks Jason, and for the riveting conversation. And also thank you to our listeners for tuning into episode four on Work Life Balance. We’ll see you next time.