Work-Life Balance Is a Farce

Jerome Huff

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I used to think that I could have an equal balance in my personal and professional life.

But the deeper I've gone in building my online business while holding more than a part-time job, the more I'm realizing this isn't possible.

At least in the utopian way I imagined.

Currently, I spend most of my time working. Whether it be on my business or my part-time job, I'm always working.

At times this is extremely frustrating.

While I'm single and have no children I don't have much free time.

I know I have more time than some but l feel a bit bitter that I can't play and travel as much as I’d like.

This is normal while building a business.

I fully accept my life and for the most part and I'm enjoying the process.

The Four-Burner Theory

A few years ago I remember reading an article by James Clear which talked about the Four-Burner theory.

The origin of the four burner theory is hazy.

Essentially the theory dictates that you have four main areas in your life which are like burners on a stove.

These areas include:

  • Health
  • Work
  • Family
  • Friends

The four-burner theory tells us that in order to be successful you must cut off one of the burners.

In order to become immensely successful, you have to cut off two of the burners (or have them at a low simmer).

Now you may be thinking. “I want it all”. “The Universe is infinitely abundant”.

Yes, the Universe is infinitely abundant but humans are limited in the physical world.

We can only do but so much at one time.

After reading the article I felt limited. I didn't want to embrace the four-burner theory.

But the more I thought about it the more sense it made.

My life reflects the four burner theory more than I want to admit.

I want to do my online business full-time without the worry of a part-time job.

But in order to accomplish this, I must work another job while building my business.

I've turned the family and friend's burner almost completely off.

My mental and physical health suffered a lot last year. So now I'm turning the health burner back up to full blast.

You can have it all just not all at once

Going back to Clear’s article, he suggests looking at your life in seasons.

If you’re youngish like me you’re probably working on your health and career. If you’re a little older perhaps your family burner is turned on blast.

Maybe your career is solid and you don’t need to have to make making money such a priority.

You get the point.

I'm sure once I'm in my 80’s my life will be more about family and friends rather than work. I’ll still work but not at the intensity I currently do.

People may ask if you have a decent work-life balance.

If you live in Western society it's not likely.

Most of your time is spent acquiring money even though it never seems like you have enough.

I embrace capitalism and I love living in the fast-paced environment of NYC but at times I need a break.

You need breaks too.

When you have your work burner turned all the way up for years at a time this will do more harm than good.

Your health will start to fail eventually.

When I focus too much on work and not on health I get depressed. I don't eat right and my physical activity plummets.

This makes work even harder.

Building a business takes enormous amounts of energy so my health burner must be scorching.

Seasons always change

As the years go by I'll have more freedom to do other things in life besides work.

Money provides this freedom provided its acquired and managed properly.

I'll also be able to outsource some of the work I currently do so I can turn up the friends and family burner a bit.

Money helps make this happen.

Nothing in this life is permanent. We live in impermanence.

Although sometimes it feels like an eternity.

Recently I left a toxic job that I had for 6 years. It felt more like 20.

But I finally left. Things always change. They always will.

My work in my business is turning into my life. This is my intention. I know that by doing work I'm passionate about it won't feel like much work.

Most of the time writing doesn't feel like work. I feel privileged that I can write all the time. People read and respond to what I write.

This feeling of making an impact is very powerful.

I also get to coach my readers. Help them live their lives to the fullest.

This feels amazing. It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

Even though my work and health burner is turned way up, for the most part, I feel balanced.

My life is disciplined but yet it has some spontaneity.

Don't let the idea of the four-burner theory and work-like balance make you feel hopeless.

Through my life experience, I'm learning that I can have whatever I truly desire. It just takes some time to manifest.

Which burner would you like to turn up now?

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I cover topics ranging from weight loss, intermittent fasting, meditation, spiritual growth, and American populism. For many years I was overweight, depressed, and allowed life to beat me up. In 2014 I took control of my life. I changed my diet to whole minimally processed foods and started a meditation practice. From there my transformation began.

Collegeville, PA

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