How Not to Achieve Balance in Your Life

In what has to be the most dystopian ad campaign ever, Microsoft has released a new info-graphic demonstrating how we can fill all of those unproductive moments in our lives with something totally worthwhile, like meetings. 

Work on vacation

It goes without saying that everyone wants to work on vacation, because what’s the point of going someplace different if you can’t swaddle yourself in the same exact bullshit you deal with every other day of your life?

That’s especially true of television. You shouldn’t even bother recording your favorite show. You’re too busy to watch it anyway.

Work while watching tv

And hey, little Bobby won’t know you were talking to a client instead of seeing him score his first goal. It’s kind of a win-win, actually.

Work during family time

And while we’re at it, wouldn’t we be more productive if we didn’t have to waste our precious waking moments speaking to friends and family?

Work while dining with others

Speaking of waking hours, we really need more of those. Sleep is for pussies.

Work While Sleeping

Don’t get us wrong. We’re huge fans of technology that allows us to work remotely. We exploit that flexibility as much as anyone on the planet. At the same time, we’re not fans at all of what Microsoft really seems to be promoting with this info graphic: the idea that technology should permit work to intrude into every aspect of our lives. 

Just because we can have a conference call from a national park, or email colleagues while at dinner with our spouse, or draft memos while watching t.v. doesn’t mean we should. More importantly, we shouldn’t be expected to. 

Seriously WTF

Tags: ,

15 Comments on “How Not to Achieve Balance in Your Life”

  1. Jay Jacobsmuhlen April 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    This has to be a joke. I can’t believe that Microsoft, even being in the business they are, could seriously publish this. There must be a second part to it in the nature of promoting responsible connectivity.


  2. sweetsound April 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm #



  3. Laura April 23, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    I took this week off from work and made the monumental decision to disconnect from our work email server. While I’m sure I will pay dearly next week, not being tied to work and being able to actually relax on my time off has been a game changer. For so long I’ve operated under the delusion that having access to my email 24/7 made work easier. This experience has really opened my eyes to just how harmful it can be. Who knows? Maybe I won’t ever sign back in!


    • Brian April 24, 2015 at 8:28 am #

      Good for you. It’s rare that we’re able to fully unplug from our professional lives.


  4. Jason April 24, 2015 at 6:31 am #

    Flip it: rather than being a replaceable cog in a machine that has insatiable demands – build your own machine that has the primary purpose to serve the life you live on purpose.
    Do the Brian & Shannon thing! ✈ 🚉 🚌 🍜 🏯 🚙 🍻 🚢 🚲 🚶 🏯 ⛵ 🚕 🍸 ⛪ ⛲ 🌄 ✈ 🛀 🍹 💻 💑 🏨 ✈ 🐘 🌅 😎


  5. Bruce April 24, 2015 at 8:04 am #

    Call me old-fashioned, but I had to retire early just because of this kind of nonsense. The much-vaunted American “productivity” figures no longer reflect the principals of giving workers the tools and latitude they need to be efficient; instead, the ratio now makes its new strides by pretty much forcing fewer workers to accomplish what more workers used to do in the name of corporate “right-sizing.”

    I share your contempt, Brian–that this idea of a tech-based 24-hour work day might be considered such a desirable thing that companies brag about enabling it.


  6. Jason April 24, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    It is amazing that Rose was reading this article today. This is an insight into how stupid this obsession is, once you stand back and observe


  7. Nikki April 24, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    What a stupid info-graphic! I agree, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should and we shouldn’t be expected to be available and connected all the time. As full time travelers we struggle to get this point across to the companies we work with (and sometimes our readers). Great piece, I always look forward to you posts in my inbox!


    • Brian April 24, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Thanks Nikki. And you’re completely right. If we want any private space that isn’t dedicated to serving employers or customers we really need to set boundaries. And the first step in doing that is trying to convince people that there are boundaries.


  8. gemmari April 25, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    I’m perfectly willing to work from a national park or the dinner table or in bed or anywhere else I want to work if I never have to physically be present at the office. I work from many odd places these days. It’s a nice perk of freelancing on the road. When I worked in a physical office though, the minute I walked out the door, I was done with work stuff. For me, that was the only major good thing about working in an office. I think if too many places try to take that away, more people will start escaping to do other things.


  9. wineandhistory April 28, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

    I have resisted the push towards being always connected. I don’t have my work email on my smartphone and I rarely give out my cell number to colleagues. I even appreciate that many of the National Parks don’t have service! I think it just puts everybody one step closer to total burnout.


  10. Marilyn Albright May 11, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Terrific post. no wonder people have so many stress related conditions. The work will always be there tomorrow – just like dirty dishes and dust


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: