(TIME) — “If you think about it, work-life balance is a strange aspiration for a fulfilling life”.
Too often, people are taught to sort what they do between the wrong categories. Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall suggest an alternative
Think of your life’s many different activities as threads. Some are black, some are grey and some are white. But some of these activities appear to be made of a different substance. These activities contain all the tell-tale signs of love: before you do them, you find yourself looking forward to them; while you’re doing them, time speeds up and you find yourself in flow; and after you’ve done them, you feel invigorated. These are your red threads, and research by the Mayo Clinic suggests that doctors who weave the fabric of their life with at least 20% red threads are significantly less likely to experience burnout.
The simplest way for you to do this is to spend a week in love with your job. This sounds odd, but all it really means is to select a regular week at work and take a pad around with you for the entire week. Down the middle of this pad, draw a vertical line to make two columns, and write “Loved It” at the top of one column and “Loathed It” at the top of the other. During the week, any time you find yourself feeling one of the signs of love scribble down exactly what you were doing in the Loved It column. And any time you find yourself feeling the inverse — before you do something, you procrastinate; while you do it, time drags; and when you’re done with it, you hope you never have to do it again — scribble down exactly what you were doing in the Loathed It column.