Does work-life balance exist?

Author Eric Barker explains why powering down can help your productivity


Rachel Leah
September 25, 2017 8:58AM (UTC)

"It comes down to a personal definition of success," Eric Barker, author of "Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong" said to Salon's Alli Josephs on "Salon Talks."

Barker's book evolved from the success of his business blog of the same name, where he provides "science-based answers" to help people thrive in the workplace and in life in general. In "Barking Up the Wrong Tree," Barker dispels common success myths that he says simply do not work, as well as proposes new and researched tactics for people to get ahead and stay engaged.

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One of those aspects to success is achieving a work-life balance, he says, but this is further complicated by the mass messages about hard work paying off. "If you work 10 hours and I work eight, you're going to do better, which is a dangerous incentive," Barker said. "30, 40, 50 years ago, the doors to the office closed at 5 p.m."

"Now you've got your phone in your pocket, you're textable, you got email at home, the documents are in the cloud, if you choose to work 24/7 you can," he continued. "When you start to add up, hey more work pays off. I can work 24/7, and we have these incredible examples of extreme achievement that we're constantly being fed by the media, we're put in a really difficult situation."

But for Barker, it comes down to drawing your own line and sticking to it, "Because the math of the world right now is always more and that's not possible or sustainable," he said.

Watch the full "Salon Talks" conversation on Facebook.

Tune into Salon's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage," daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon and on Facebook.


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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