Work-Life Balance is a Myth - Intelligent Lazy Blog

Why Work-Life Balance Is a Myth

The concept of a work-life balance has been around long enough to become a standard measure of our happiness. We all know that if you spend too much time working, your private life will suffer: all the things you love doing will be compromised. But time is not the only factor we need to take into account as stress is a far greater contributor to our dissatisfaction. That affects the quality and quantity of our work, thus, affects our rewards.

Simple Observation

You can work 12-hour shifts and come back home smiling or you can work standard 8 hours and be bursting into pieces. I’ll share with you one of my observations about two managers working a similar amount of time in the same company. One lady with a team of around 60 people was sharp and composed, constantly asking questions and providing valuable discussion for the benefit of the whole group. She was clearly looking for ideas to improve her solid game.

Work Hard

Another manager with a team of 30, was also brilliantly engaged but boy, she was stressed: with her face white as a ghost, dishevelled hair, shirt with no buttons in the middle and leg nervously twitching under the table, she looked like she was going to break. Most definitely she was working hard and everything about her was screaming for help. She did not want an improvement, she wanted a change.

Balancing her work and life would have helped but only for a short period of time as the concept was taken into the wrong direction. It evolved and changed its clothes to the more fashionable work-hard, play-hard. There are a number of issues with that.

Play Hard

Hard means not easy, difficult, requiring great effort: that is surely not the Intelligent Lazy way and just thinking about it makes me tired. Hard also implies that you need to push and force yourself which always implies a certain degree of suffering. Having that in mind, if you force yourself to play will it still be fun?

work life balance

Instead of rebranding, we would do far better taking one step back and realising it is a concept based on false assumptions. First of all, work can only exist if there is life, so that puts life on the pedestal. If you follow that simple logic, you discover that work is only part of life, thus, it is integral to it, not separate from it like our concept suggests. This artificial division implies that you only live after work! That misconception has a profound impact on you and your team results.

The Perspective of Intelligent Lazy is Simple

Reduce overcomplicated concepts to a minimum: cross out work, hard and balance. And all that is left is life and play or to put it nicely; life is play. That implies that not only relationships, family, pleasure, passions but also work, ambition, career, personal and professional development are fun.

If you look at it in this way you will feel the contraction, stress and anxiety dissolving. You will experience the rise of calmness and consequently peace of mind. This is something that money can’t buy.


Beware of false dichotomies, artificial divisions and bloated ideas. Check if you can simplify, reduce and unite. 

Martin May

Managing Director at Intelligent and Lazy Management Consulting. Coach, trainer, blogger. "How we say it is more important than what we say"

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