Work-life balance should be killed.

It’s unhealthy and insidious.

Balance implies you have control of both work and life, so it’s your fault if they don’t balance. But both work and home are out of our control because they involve other people. Beating yourself up over things you can’t control is a painful path to low self-esteem and mental ill health.

Balance implies harmony, states that work and home are rarely, if ever, in. Anyone trying to convince you otherwise is being dishonest, either with themselves or you.

Balance implies home and work somehow deserve equal standing and importance. Home life is more important than work, but sometimes work demands will be more urgent than home needs.

Instead of balance I think boundaries are a much more helpful concept, or frame, to think about making work and life work better alongside each other.

Boundaries are set and controlled by you.

Boundaries denote divides between things, reflecting the different demands on you in each.

Boundaries put the decision on importance and urgency in your court, each and every time.

Every two weeks I send an email to dads of things I’ve found that have helped me be a better dad. Articles, ideas, questions, exercises, all sorts of things. Sign up here if you want to get it too.