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How To Expertly Balance Work and Life: Join Them

Today we have a guest post from Oleg Mokhov.  Oleg believes that our jobs shouldn’t detract from our enjoyment of life.  Since you’re probably reading this while you’re at work, maybe you could use this post.  Enjoy!

Balance Work and Life

Work and life don’t need separate identities.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius

Expertly balance work and life by joining them into one. You should not only love your lifestyle and the work you do, but tie them together into one life. When you don’t separate work and life, you never have to compromise by splitting your time between them: every day you do both.

Even if you love your work and your life, when they’re separate you must make time for both. And neither chunk of time is enough to fully experience one or the other. You constantly have to compromise. For example, if you love your work but do it full-time, then you won’t have time for your other passions – like traveling.

You end up having to take vacations. Maybe a week or two at a time, a few times a year. And it’s never enough. Seem familiar?

So how do you solve this? How do you expertly balance work and life? You intertwine them. You don’t make work and life separate, but find and pursue work that naturally ties into a lifestyle you want.

Do Work That Ties Into Your Life

First, look at what kind of life you have. Are you an early riser, or do you like to sleep in? Do you want to stay in one place? Or have the ability to travel every once in a while? Or do you want to have a location-independent life, constantly moving around?

This helps to narrow down what kind of work you can tie into your life. For example, if you want to be location-independent, then owning a physical business won’t make as much sense as an online-based one, unless you outsource or automate it.

Then, you find what kind of work:
a) You’re good at
b) Are passionate about
c) People will pay you to do
d) Fits into your ideal lifestyle

Love traveling? Make it your work as well. What kind of work do you love to do? Writing? Making videos? Write about traveling while you do it, giving people insight, resources, or entertainment. Or document your adventures with videos that give value to others. Basically, anything you’re good at, enjoy doing, and people benefit from and would pay for.

Obviously, entrepreneurship is the natural choice. But if you want to work for someone else, you’d do the same. Find a travel company that will pay you to explore and write for them, for example.

You Don’t Have to Compromise

When you join work and life into one, you no longer have to compromise, and you get rid of the need to take vacations. You love the activity that is your work, you’re giving value to others that are willing to pay, and you live life each day as if you didn’t have to “work.”

For those that say, “I want to keep (fill in the blank) sacred, I don’t want to turn it into work” – if you wouldn’t enjoy the work that would come out of that, then by all means, keep it a hobby. What I mean with tying work into life is finding and doing work that you would actually love. You’d do the activity anyway, and you’re simply tying it into your lifestyle and creating value that others would pay for.

You enjoy life as one all-encompasing whole. Every day is full-time work, and every day is like a vacation too.

If you love humor in your books, but you dig adventure equally as much, then it only makes sense to read a book that fuses both, right? If you read a book that was only one or the other, you’d enjoy it to a certain extent, but you’d also be hankering for either more humor or more adventure. Just like you’d maximize your reading enjoyment by getting a book that joined those two elements, so too can you maximize your life by doing work and living a lifestyle that joins each other into one.

Examples of Work and Life as One

Take Josh. He loves books. He also loves working out. And he naturally digs writing. So he combines it all into his website, aptly titled World’s Strongest Librarian.

Josh doesn’t have divide time between working out and talking about it, reading books and recommending them to friends, and writing about life and self improvement. He joins them into one by doing all of the above, then writing about it on his website. They’re all tied in.

There are plenty of examples on the internet of people effectively joining work and life. Just take Steve Pavlina or Chris Guillebeau.

Steve loves to grow consciously, he loves to help people, and he loves to write. He joins all of those into his website, and it generates an insane amount of income every month. He enjoys personal development and doing life experiments, and he helps people by writing about it. Thus, he doesn’t have to divide time between work and life; they are the same thing.

Chris travels, writes, lives an unconventional life, and helps others do the same. All of it is wrapped into his income-generating website. He travels, then he writes about it. People want to know how he effectively travels, so he creates paid products that answers that question. Then other unconventional entrepreneurs want to know how he builds his website, so he creates products for how to create a small business. He never has to spend time working on something he doesn’t like or already do.

I love to make electronic dance tunes, write, and share life-maximizing ideas with people – all the while growing and maximizing my life. I tie it all into my site Lifebeat. Plus, I am a traveler at heart, so running a website means my office is my laptop and a internet connection – I can “work” from anywhere in the world. My work and life are one.

Join Work and Life Into One

Tired of splitting time between work and life? A few vacations a year not enough? Join work and life into one. Find and pursue work that ties into the lifestyle you want, and you don’t have to compromise anymore.

By doing value-giving work that you’re good at, are passionate about, people will pay for, and fits into your ideal lifestyle, you’re fusing work and life into one all-encompasing whole. You live each day how you’d ideally want to, eliminating the need for vacations. When work and life are one, every day is passionate full-time work, and every day is like a vacation too.

Now get out there and work. Or live. Or whatever. I forget which is which.

About the author: Oleg Mokhov writes unconventional life-maximizing ideas for remarkable people and makes energizing electronic dance music for melody-lovers on his site Lifebeat.

Eneas De Troya

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tristan Lee November 3, 2009, 1:26 am

    I agree that when you combine work and play together, you become more passionate about it, until one day you become so good that you can create something great for the world.

    Mark Twain once said, “What work I have done I have done because it has been play. If it had been work I shouldn’t have done it.”

  • Patty - Why Not Start Now? November 3, 2009, 1:39 am

    Hmmm, this is an interesting post. I appreciate the concept (after all, I’m a LifeWork counselor), but I also see the flip side. There was a time when I wanted my life and work to be as integrated as possible, but as I’ve gotten older I want more distance between them. Perhaps because my work is intense, and I can’t sustain that level of intensity all the time. Plus I’m not sure most human beings are built this way, to be always on vacation AND at work. Maybe it fits a certain profile, though, like the examples you’ve used: very high energy types who aim to make a living mostly from the internet.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 3, 2009, 8:06 am

      Patty, I’m in the same boat. I like my job but it is not a blazing passion. There are a lot of things I cannot wait to do every day, but work from 9-6 usually isn’t one of them.

    • Oleg Mokhov November 3, 2009, 8:42 am

      Hey Patty,

      The point of this article is to completely enjoy the work that you do. Meaning, you’d do it even if you weren’t getting paid. If you’re loving what you’re doing that would be classified as “work,” then you’ve effectively joined work and life.

      That doesn’t mean you should be doing your work all day, every day. You make a good point about not being able to sustain a level of intensity, and I agree. We humans crave (and need) diversity.

      For example, if you love food and working out, that doesn’t mean you should eat every minute and spend all day at the gym. You just fit it naturally into your lifestyle – just like your “work.”

      This article hopefully pushes people who might even enjoy their current work but are compromising too much on something else they love. Like, if they loved to travel but couldn’t because of their constant location due to work, they could find or arrange similar work that let them be location-independent.

      Great comment and point Patty. Thanks for reading,

  • Casey Brazeal (North and Clark) November 3, 2009, 8:27 am

    Well, right now I am pretty good on A, B and D. That C one is tricky.

    • Oleg Mokhov November 3, 2009, 8:45 am

      C is always the trickiest for us 🙂

  • Oscar - freestyle mind November 3, 2009, 11:09 am

    Joining work and lifestyle is one of the best things to do. The hardest part is maybe monetizing the whole thing if you are working for yourself, but with enough time and patience it’ll happen whatever you are doing. Stumbled!

    • Josh Hanagarne November 3, 2009, 11:17 am

      Oscar, I’m just curious–what is your job?

  • Tomas Stonkus November 3, 2009, 1:07 pm

    Hey Oleg:

    Great post!

    Oh yes! The dream of combining work and pleasure into one. In the perfect world it should be like that. But it is not for some reason.

    Why is not everybody doing what they love? That bothered me for a long time. Why would somebody do what they hate? Made no sense to me.

    But now it does. Why? Because I know why people do the things they hate. They do not know any better. They feel like they have no other choice. They fear rejection. They fear of being misunderstood. They have all these images in their head of what would happen if they quit.

    Most of them do not hold up to reality. People shy away from pain or even imagined pain. They stand. Do nothing. They are paralyzed.

    Some people feel that starting something new would be too much or too hard. I know. I have been there.

    But thanks to people like Oleg, like Steve Pavlina I have seen a way out. I started becoming aware of my situation. I started looking for what I am all about and how to combine my experiences to provide value to others.

    I have to admit. I have not answered all of those questions yet. Yet, now I know there is a choice and it is up to me to make it. You can too. The rest of the world is watching for you to rise and show them how to become free and fulfilled with your lives.

    Do it for others if you can’t do it for yourself.


    • Oleg Mokhov November 3, 2009, 3:41 pm

      Great comment, Tom. I agree – some people don’t give themselves permission to do what they love. They think they have to work this way, that it’s just the way it is. And it’s not their fault, it’s just all they know.

      By discovering and being around those that do work they truly love, give great value to people, and live life how they want to, the possibilities open up. You see the potential for living life on your terms, not society’s.

      Granted, not everyone can just get up and change immediately. Some have more flexibility and resources than others.

      But by having that potential reality ingrained in your head, obtaining business and profit-generating savvy, and possessing the intent towards following your passion (as well as a healthy dose of effective work ethic), you’re moving closer towards joining work and life into one passion-filled whole and living life how you want to.

      Keep maximizing life,

      PS. I’m more than humbled that you’d even mention me in the same sentence as Steve Pavlina. Compared to him, I’m an utter newbie. I’m pushing myself to one day have the level of influence (love him or hate him) and profitability that he and others like him has.

  • We Fly Spitfires November 3, 2009, 2:48 pm

    I know I’m ignoring the point of this article but I just gotta say… that photo is great 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne November 3, 2009, 3:07 pm

      For me, the photo is the point. I laughed my head off when I saw it.

    • Oleg Mokhov November 3, 2009, 3:29 pm

      It’s one of the best photos I’ve seen all year. Hang-able.

  • Eric November 3, 2009, 8:36 pm

    For a long time, I didn’t realize I had a choice. Or, to be more precise, I didn’t realize what I was missing. In July, I was laid off from a job I held for eight years. I spent 3 months home with my family and realized how much I fully and completely enjoyed that time. I did take another job to keep the lights on and to keep the family fed, but due to my new outlook, I am searching for a way to work and still spend time with the family. I have a few ideas brewing, we’ll see where it goes from here!

    • Josh Hanagarne November 3, 2009, 9:06 pm

      Good luck, Eric. I’ll be excited to here what the ideas lead to.

  • Laura Cococcia November 5, 2009, 7:52 pm

    Always an ongoing struggle for me, but starting to realize that we don’t operate on separate channels as people…one can often spend too much time being what they’re not at work or bring work into their personal life … I raise my hand – I’m one of them. I might print this out and put it on my fridge for a reminder. Thanks Josh and Oleg.

  • ian anderson November 12, 2009, 11:52 am

    Life is too short to spent it working at something that you don’t love, why wouldn’t you concentrate on something that you at least enjoy?

    Remember: If you always do what you always did; you will always get what you always got.

    Ergo if unhappy or unfulfilled you need to CHANGE!

    Great article Oleg.