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The Work-Life Balance No One Else Will Tell You

Everyone’s always talking about work-life balance. Talking about how you shouldn’t work too much, how you need to make time to play. Yet while I’m a big believer in integrating fun into your life early on – rather than spending your twenties working and waiting to have fun until you retire – I see a BIG exception to that rule, one I delve into in my ebook, How I Surpassed my Day Job Income in Just 6 Months of Self-Employment. And this is one work-life concept we don’t discuss enough. What I’m talking about is this: if you’re a young professional without a spouse or kids, now’s the time to work your butt off. Don’t get me wrong; I need work-fun balance just as much as the next person, need to get away from my computer on weekends to feel inspired to write and work on weekdays. But sometimes we put too much emphasis on getting out to play when we could be building a network or launching a business or setting ourselves up for a career that will make us happy. Despite the constant pressure to “find your balance,” it’s totally OK to work full-on (especially if you love your job like I do) if you’re at the point in your life when you lack certain responsibilities like having a family. Why? Because later in life you probably won’t be able to focus on your career like you can now. Later in life you won’t have all this time. Later in life you’ll have family distractions – distractions you’ll want to pursue. When it’s smart to work a lot, even if everyone says not to When your personal life is slow, you have more time to work – and you should take advantage of that. By “work,” I don’t just mean your day job. I mean your side projects, your passions, whatever will help you get where you want to be. With that in mind, here are two great times to throw yourself into your work:
  1. When you’re single
  2. When you’ve moved to anew cityand don’t have many friends
Now, I know I’m going to get crap for this, because single people have just as much of a right to a social life as anyone in a relationship. But when you’re single and childless, you have all the time you want to focus on you. And that can mean extra time to dedicate to your career. So if you love what you do, use that time to give it all you’ve got. And if you don’t love what you do, use that time to figure out what you would love doing, which can be as time-consuming as actually doing it. Because a few years down the road, you might be busy. Your priorities might shift, and you might have a spouse, family or other non-work responsibilities to tend to. And of course you’ll love tending to those responsibilities! But it means work might have to take a back seat. This phase of your life won’t last forever, so leverage it while you can. Grow your business, invest in your career, and then you’ll be able to focus on relationships and family when the time comes. Don’t feel guilty about working a lot if you don’t have other commitments. If you’re at this point in your life, run with it. And don’t listen to other people who say you work too much. Those people often have other commitments that keep them from throwing themselves into their career – they might be at a different stage in life or have different priorities. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. That doesn’t mean you can’t use these weeks or months or years to get a leg up on your career. Which phase of life are you in, and how is that affecting your work?

Originally aired about 5 years ago.

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