Work-Life Fusion

Work-Life Fusion, not Work-Life Balance

I practice work-life fusion, not work-life balance.

Sometimes people ask me, “What do you mean with work-life fusion? How is that different from work-life balance?”


Work-life balance means using Twitter for your work-life and Facebook for your private life. Instead, I have friends, family, and business contacts everywhere! My 13th happy anniverselfie on Facebook was liked by 86 people, half of them were friends and family, and the other half were business contacts. I call that work-life fusion.

Work-life balance means a foreign trip can be a business trip or a vacation, but not both. (Just ask the tax man.) However, this August I will travel to the USA with my spouse and our two weeks in New York, Chicago and San Francisco will be full of workshops and sightseeing, working and shopping. That’s work-life fusion to me.

Work-life balance means tracking the time spent working and balancing it with time spent relaxing. Instead, I’m in a coffee bar, writing this blog post just for fun, not knowing if there will ever be a return on investment. And I had to walk 30 minutes just to enjoy the coffee. No time tracker is involved, because I practice work-life fusion.

What does your work-life look like? Do you have balance or fusion?

(image: (c) 2011 DonkeyHotey)

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  • Toby Baier

    I actually call it work life blend, if “work” somehow blends into my private life. I am a product manager, working as a product owner in an awesome scrum team. Thinking about the product, the team, or anything work related also happens in my “private” time, and I also do comment on my friends posts on Facebook during “work”. Talked about that two years ago in my podcast, sorry, in german 😉

    • jurgenappelo

      Great! Most call it “integration” but that is a complicated word.

  • Adam Michalik

    I guess if you treat your work not as an integral part of your life, but as something you do *for a living* then you need to balance the downsides of work with the upsides of “life”. If doing your job is a part of who you are, then it all – as @tobybaier:disqus said – just blends in.

  • Do Ba Duc

    The true balance in life does not even exist. I think one’s ideal status in reality would be slightly losing work-life balance, and making effort to achieve the balance is the most enjoyable part in life 🙂

  • Tobi Stadelmaier

    I have to respectfully disagree with @TobyBaier (hi ex-colleague! small world…) and Adam at least to some degree.

    I used to work for a sports web site, and was, among other things, responsible for the technical infrastructure required for the site’s live sports coverage. Since sports is just happening everywhere, all the time – with the exception of December 25th perhaps – the “fusion”/”blending” or whatever you want to call it thing was pretty much a natural requirement. And I accepted, even if that meant unpleasant 4am wakeup calls because some server was stuck while the F1 Grand Prix in Japan or whatever was going on.

    I eventually quit, because I found that the situation was basically just bad for my health – *despite* actually loving the job itself, and not seeing it as purely a “I do this for a living, period” kind of thing – quite the opposite in fact.

    And even to this day, I have to kind of force myself (because it’s somewhat against my nature) to establish psychological barriers that separate private from business life. Those barriers can be along the “time” scale (i.e. I’ll spend the next three hours on the beach with my kids, everyhing else has to wait), or “local” (I’m personally not very good at the “home office” thing, for example, which is arguably lack of self-discipline – I’m not proud of it, but for me personally, there just is a correlation of “where am I” and “how well can I focus on task X”. Also, I’m still not a huge fan of watching world cup games in the office, I just happen to enjoy myself more when I’m somewhere else.). Or “technical” – for example, I only have one G+ account, but I use its circles feature to post things selectively to different audiences.

    The point? I think that even when you live a “fusion-y” kind of life, which I do and enjoy, you *still* have to balance things out a little bit, in order to create some slack for yourself. The term “fusion” kind of implies that once “fusioned” (is that a word?), you cannot separate things any more, no? Which hasn’t worked very well for me personally in the past. So, as any other concept, the term is somewhat precarious when taken to the extreme.

    • jurgenappelo

      I understand your point. However, with “fusion” I do not mean that work commitments always take precedence over health commitments. This has (in my book) nothing to do with fusion or blend, but everything with not setting clear constraints/limits.

      I do only 2 workshops per week, not more, because more is too much.
      I also run 5 times per week, not 6 or 7, because that would be too much.

      But I enjoy running in the cities where I organize workshops. That is fusion/blend. However, I always take care of healthy constraints.

  • Franziskus Domig

    I tend to have times where it is more like a “fusion” and times where it is more “separated”. Depending on the state of projects or “things” I do, it can sometimes work well together. I do, however, like the times when work is “off” and the sole focus is on my vacation/free time.

  • Sam

    Definitely agree….to an extent. If you’re on the sales or accounts side, it’s not always the best idea to add your clients on Facebook. There’s no denying that Facebook is in the realm of personal networking. It’s difficult to intersect work with personal when your clients expect one side of you, but your Facebook reveals something drastically different. However, the same is not true for other social mediums. Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google + (unless you use it for personal, but who really does that?) can be seen as more professional social platforms from which you can manage your network in it’s entirety. But, I agree that the more you erase the line between work and personal life the better. Will probably spend the first hour tomorrow at my desk debating who I should add on Facebook 🙂

  • brny

    I have a
    very fulfilling job and I feel good in my office and with my coworkers. I work
    as a java development team leader (16 developers) and product leader (our own
    WMS, developed since 2002) in a small local company (cca 120 employees). The
    relationships especially in our division (together 35 people) are very open, communicative
    and I would say nice. I guess the company is quite successful (positive long-term
    division and company financial results, numerous business opportunities, happy employees,
    happy customers – idyll :] )

    But I live
    20 km form the company place in a small city. My wife works as a teacher in our
    small city, my children visit school in the small city too and some of my friends
    are related to my place of residence. All of them (family and friends) have
    completely different jobs from mine (both professionally and time). The
    work-people and the private-people don’t hardly know each other.

    I have no
    idea how to integrate (or even fusion) work and life. Do you have similar experience
    or any tips?

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