Productivity and GTD
The myth of the two lives
"Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once" ~ Lillian Dickson
There are still many people trying to live two different lives, one personal and one professional. Or dividing their life into two independent halves, if you prefer. Unfortunately, this way of thinking assumes that we have to work, doing whatever, to live. And although it is quite understandable, especially given the economic situation we live in today—we have to eat, right?—, we should not settle for that.
This approach imposes the inevitable need to find a balance between personal and professional life, so that we can have a more or less happy life in spite of our work. In addition, it involves separating people into categories. People who belong to our inner circle and people who belong to our professional circle. They are not equal, we don’t deal with them equitably and we share our time with them differently.
It makes no sense. In the course of a day, you spend your time with your family, your friends, your customers and your co-workers, so you should enjoy all these relationships. You cannot have a happy career without having a happy personal life and vice versa. More often than not, the problem is that we work with people we don’t like. We are the ones who choose our friends, our partner and the people with which we spend our spare time, but we don’t usually choose the people we work with.
Why must it be this way? Everything can be changed. But first we must change our approach. Our so-individualistic culture represents an obstacle to meet people and pursue new opportunities. Connecting with others increases the chances of meeting people that can lead you to a new and exciting job. In this new era, where the paradigm of work is changing rapidly, it is increasingly important to build networks. Helping others and receiving their help is a way to get a meaningful working life.
The pursuit of the so coveted state of perfect balance between both worlds is just an absurd source of stress and frustration. This balance cannot be achieved. It is just a mental state that is reached, precisely, when you do not have the need to separate the two worlds. If you can enjoy your work and your relationships with the people you work with, the need to mentally separate the professional landscape from the personal one fades.
In the end, we all live one life. And we live it connected to many people. Fill your life with people you care about and do the things you like. To do that you need to be proactive. If you manage to get rid of the need of that balance, you will be joyful; if not, you will be unfulfilled and, most of the time, angry. How many lives do you want to live?