05 July 2022 |

Work Life Balance Advice From A Workaholic

By Ian Kar

Let’s talk a little bit about work life balance today. I do want to preface some things: I’m probably a workaholic and I have really weird working patterns. My ideal day on the east coast starts around 10AM, and I break up the day into 4-5 hour chunks of time, with probably 1-2 breaks in the middle. And usually when I’m “taking breaks” I’m still doing work-related stuff; emailing people or something of the sort. Idk if this works for anyone else, but it’s been productive for me so far. 

Something that people don’t say out loud is that you should develop a routine and culture that works for you. And almost everyone has a different style of productivity. This was something I hated when I wasn’t working for myself—most workplaces have a culture of busy work. 

There are a lot of things I think a lot of people get wrong about work life balance. For instance, I feel like one aspect of it is only working a specific set amount of hours: 40 hour workweeks per week, and nothing more. Just because the workday ends doesn’t mean the job does—my father was an ER doctor in NYC for two decades, and he was on call on weekends all the time. That meant answering calls or sometimes even going to the hospital. 

To me, work life balance means a clear distinction and separation between work and everything else. One thing I’ve tried to do over the past year is reduce the amount of time I spent working in bed—a weird habit that stems from an old Brooklyn apartment where I only could fit a bed in my bedroom so I didn’t have anywhere else to work. But for me, working in bed leads me to think about work and all the stuff going on while I’m trying to sleep, and then I don’t get to bed till 4 or 5AM and my whole next day is fucked up. 

Lastly, the other thing that’s been super critical for me is sleep. Now, I’m not going to lie and say I have great sleeping patterns. In fact, they fucking suck. BUT what is important to me is getting 8 hours of sleep, no matter what. It seems like my overactive brain absolutely needs the recharge and without at least 7 hours, I’m crankier, have less patience, and less sharper in general. It took a lot of testing and iteration to figure out how many hours of sleep I need per day—early in my career, I thought I could easily do 6 hours, but in hindsight all that work was pretty shitty and I didn’t feel like I was reaching peak productivity. Getting the proper amount of rest, especially when you work more than 40 hours a week, is critical for being as productive as possible.