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Investing Blog Roundup: Finding Harmony Between Work and Other Roles You Play

I have been self-employed in a work-from-home capacity for ~15 years now. Pre-Covid, when working from home was more rare, people would often ask how I maintain barriers between work and life. I never had a good answer, because the truth is that I don’t really have any such barriers.

Much of my email correspondence with readers is handled in the evenings, and much of my writing has been done on Saturday or Sunday mornings. At the same time, it’s entirely normal for me to go to the climbing gym or go for a walk/run/bike ride on a weekday morning/afternoon.

And that has always worked pretty well for me. As long as I’m getting my work done and my physical health and mental health needs are met, I don’t really care when or where I’m doing one thing or another. Keeping a barrier between “work” and “life” has always felt as contrived and unnecessary to me as keeping a barrier between, for example, “exercise” and “social life.”

This week, I encountered an article that makes a case for such an approach. (Of course, I found it compelling — but we always find it compelling when somebody tells us that the thing we’re already doing is indeed a good idea.) In any case, maybe you will find that such an approach works well for you.

In the authors’ words:

“A lot of the advice you will hear is to erect strong barriers between your work and your private domains […] or to somehow find the right balance between these different areas of your life. […] We argue that setting up your life in a way that meets your psychological needs (known as needs-based crafting), and doing this across all domains, is what’s important.

[…]

The good news is that neither work nor leisure time must satisfy all your psychological needs. Instead, each role in life you have (eg, experienced foreman, loving husband, caring son, dedicated Red Cross volunteer and avid chess player) plays an important part in an orchestra. Coordination of these different roles, and satisfaction of needs via active engagement in these roles, results in what we call ‘life domain harmony.'”

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