Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Time Management Tuesday: Are Writers Ahead Of The Curve In Integrating Work And Life?

If you visited CNN's website today, you may have read an article today called Work-life Balance is Dead by Ron Friedman, a social psychologist who has a brand new book out, The Best Place to Work. He says that the idea of work remaining something that's done outside the home is a fairy tale. Well, it certainly is for writers. "Until we come to terms with the fact that separating work from home is a fantasy, we can't begin to have an intelligent conversation about what it means to create thriving organizations," he writes.

He's talking about traditional work sites where people go to work, to do something that they don't do at home. For writers, our work sites usually are in our home. Which is why you sometimes hear about writers heading out to coffee houses and libraries for mini-retreats. They're trying to escape the home demands or the home habits so they can work more. Or, as Friedman might say, they're trying to get some control. "...placing employees in control of their schedules encourages them to work during hours when they are most effective." Or perhaps where they are most effective?

Friedman writes that for "many of us, compartmentalizing our work and personal life is simply not possible and not just because of the ubiquity of email. In a growing number of companies, work now involves collaborating with colleagues in different time zones, making the start and end of the workday a moving target."

I would argue that many people can't compartmentalize their work and personal lives because their work is so much a part of their identity that it is their personal life. Of course, I'm going to mention writers here, who are always working, if for no other reason than that they are constantly taking in information that can become a new idea. But if you've known engineers and people in many medical and technical fields, anyone whose job involves solving problems, for that matter, they are often integrating what they're seeing around them with whatever is going on in their work lives.

"Instead of endorsing the work-life balance myth, organizations are far better off empowering employees to integrate work and life, in ways that position them to succeed at both," Friedman concludes. Integrating work and life is pretty much what writers are already trying to do.

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