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I Am Terrible With My Work-Life Balance – But These Books Helped Me

My work-life balance was more work-work than work-life. I read these five books to finally take control.
by Daniel Thomas | Jan 15 2024

Every year I make a resolution to get more work-life balance. I try to stop working on weekends, see my family more often, and spend time on a hobby or two. 

But, every year, I also fail that resolution. 

I love my job, so it’s hard to close my laptop at a reasonable time each day and say no to extra projects. But the life side of my work-life balance was starting to suffer. 

To change that, I turned to my favorite thing: books. 

No matter what you want to do, you can bet an expert has written a book about it. I decided to read five books about work-life balance and apply the learnings to my life to see if that could help me finally make a change. 

But because I work long hours — the reason I need this goal in the first place — I don’t really have time to read five whole books. That’s when I turned to Blinkist

Learn From Books in Less Time 

Blinkist is an app that shares key insights from nonfiction books in the form of bite-sized explainers. You can read or listen to these explainers in 15 minutes, and you’ll find 7,000 titles in the app’s library across 27 categories

As well as work-life balance topics, there are books on productivity, entrepreneurship, and psychology. 

I picked out five titles on work-life balance and dove in. Here’s what I learned on the app and how I finally gained some balance in my life. 

Designing Your Work Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans 

To kick off this journey, I needed to make some changes to my work days, but I didn’t really know what I wanted that look like. 

Designing Your Work Life explains that you don’t need to make drastic changes, like quitting your job or closing down your business. It prompts you to find the parts of work you like and make small changes to do more of what you enjoy. 

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

As well as making my work days more enjoyable, I needed to make them shorter if I had any chance at balance. 

The co-founders of project management software Basecamp, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, talk a lot about working less and working on the right things in It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy At Work.

One actionable piece of advice that stood out to me: finding uninterrupted chunks of time to work. It’s the lack of distraction and interruption that makes an eight-hour flight feel endless, while an eight-hour workday can fly by.  

I started carving out distraction-free hours for deep work and focusing on the essential tasks. The result? I got more done in less time.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.


The Work-Life Balance Myth by David J. McNeff 

As someone obsessed with their work, I needed a reminder that there are other things in life to focus on. I checked out Blinkist’s explainer of The Work-Life Balance Myth to find out what they should be. 

Author David J. McNeff explains the Seven-Slice Method. This outlines seven areas of life that need daily attention: work, family, personal, physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual

At least using Blinkist was tending to my intellectual slice!

Do Pause by Robert Poynton

Despite knowing how important it is, I still found it hard to relax, so I next read the explainer of Do Pause. Author Robert Poyton explains how pausing and taking a break is essential for maintaining creativity

Seeing breaks as productive in this way helped me finally start taking more of them.  

“Machines work well at a constant speed—and the faster the better…Yet what works well for machines doesn’t work well for people.”
Robert Poynton


How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell 

Some of us — myself included — feel like we have to always be doing something. If I’m not working, I want to at least be learning a language, training for a marathon, or starting a side hustle. But that’s not exactly balance. 

My final explainer, How to Do Nothing, was a great reminder that doing nothing, or resting, is not only valuable, but essential. Author Jenny Odell explains that stepping back and slowing down can help you pay more attention to the world around you

I got through these explainers in a matter of days and started making changes fast. 

Here’s how Blinkist helped.

Get Expert Insights in 15 Minutes 

My non-work time was already tight, so I loved being able to get the most important parts of a book in just 15 minutes

The Blinkist team pulls out the actionable tips, real-life examples, and expert guidance from a book and puts it into one easy-to-digest explainer. 

Read or listen to Blinkist’s bite-sized explainers.


Learn Work and Life Hacks On the Go 

I started prioritizing a morning walk before work and exercising at lunch each day. These were also the perfect times to listen to more Blinkist insights. 

Explainers are available in audio form, so I got through these five titles — and more — while out and about. 

One of the World’s Best Apps for Becoming a Better You 

I learned everything I could about work-life balance, applied it to my life, and then enjoyed more free time after work. What did I use this time for? More learning! 

I listened to Blinkist titles on health, investing, and mindfulness to improve other areas of my life. 

The team adds 70 new books each month, so the life side of my work-life balance is always engaged. 

I’m not alone in making changes. Blinkist found 91% of users have created better habits and 87% have made positive changes since downloading the app. 

28 Million Users Already Use Blinkist to Achieve Their Goals 

I didn’t realize Blinkist was such a big deal. It’s been praised by The New York Times and The Guardian, it’s won awards from Google and the United Nations, and Apple named it one of the top 20 apps for lifelong learning

The app has 28 million users and 94,000 5-star ratings, too. Many are using it to get better at both work and life: 

“As with many, I live a busy life trying to squeeze everything I can out of every day in pursuit of an effective work life balance. Blinkist allows me to listen to a great resource of learning in the car, at the gym, whilst cooking.”
5-star review

Want to find work-life balance in 2024? Download Blinkist to get started. 

Start your free 7-day trial

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