Why Workaholics Don't Produce Better Work

How do I find work-life balance? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Anna Akbari, sociologist, entrepreneur, professor and the author of Startup Your Life, on Quora.

Finding a good work-life balance is an area I'm extremely passionate about. Technology is obviously one huge factor that makes creating work/life balance an issue. We are always on, always available, no matter where we are. So it's up to you to create the boundaries and the space you need. The trick is to demonstrate flexibility, while also creating boundaries. This is where thinking like a startup makes good sense. For instance, perhaps there is a major deadline or project (not just everyday business as usual) -- that's a good time to step up, to be present, to go the extra mile, even if it infringes on personal time. But when that is complete, it's ok (and advised) to revert back to your boundaries and the balance you need. If we don't take time to recharge, our work suffers. Workaholics don't create better work. It's about working smartly and keeping a dynamic schedule, not one that is obsessive or one that does not acknowledge that sometimes you do need a little imbalance to eventually capture the lifestyle you need.

Time management is also important. One of the overarching principles I advocate is eliminating choice where it doesn't bring you immediate joy or learning. For instance, I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday, and I don't spend time staring at my closet because I operate primarily from a tight capsule wardrobe, so everything is complementary and flexible. Too much choice doesn't make us happy and you can get decision fatigue, which leave you with less energy and time for the things that really matter.

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