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Stop Splitting Yourself in Half: Seek Out Work-Life Boundaries, Not Balance


Jun. 9, 2022 Entrepreneur

Early in my career, I learned to split myself in half. There was a “work Lindsay” and a “personal Lindsay,” and they were never meant to be in the same place at the same time. The underlying notion, rampant across the business world, is that it’s somehow weak to show any signs you’re a person. Better to turn off those personal matters, even if they’re as simple as needing to go home and cook dinner or as mundane as the consequences of spilling coffee on your blouse before a meeting. It all had to stay where it belonged: the personal side and the business side. I was supposed to be chasing the much-discussed work-life balance, constantly trying to force these two sides to be equal. I ended up ignoring my whole self as a result.

Then a transition point in my life changed my perspective. I was changing jobs, before I started Casted, and I’d just read a book that got me thinking about priorities: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. In the book, McKeown characterizes essentialism as “the relentless pursuit of less but better,” a disciplined approach that asks us to sort the “trivial many” from the “vital few” as we choose where we will focus our energy and effort. That perspective spoke to me — the answer wasn’t a transactional notion of hours at my desk or away from my desk — I needed to consciously identify what mattered most to me and take control of my time and attention.

I realized something crucial: No one was going to come to me and say “You should probably work less,” or “Don’t respond to your emails tonight.” Those nudges may happen more now in companies, but work will always fill the cup you give it. As I transitioned into the new job, I had an opportunity to try to put my new perspective into practice. My focus shifted away from the dichotomy of a work-life balance and toward the idea of boundaries around my priorities, my “vital few.”

As I kept working through my perspective on this, I experienced two more life-changing milestones. First, I started working with my executive coach, who helped me understand that business is human. The pursuit of a work-life balance had taken the humanity out of my work. She showed me how ridiculous it was to think your personal life wouldn’t impact your work life and vice versa. The second milestone was starting Casted and stepping into the role of CEO and co-founder. Those milestones led me to a realization: The pursuit of work-life balance is a myth. I seek out boundaries that preserve and nurture my whole self.

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