How I Work

Eric Barker on his Five-Hour Rule and deliberate work-life imbalance

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Episode notes

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It’s the greatest productivity debate of our time: how do we achieve work-life balance? Or maybe the real debate should be: is work-life balance even possible? 

Eric Barker, the author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree and now Plays Well With Others, doesn’t think work-life balance is truly achievable. At least, not if you want the best possible results in a given field. The problem, he says, is that most of live an unbalanced life by accident. 

Because of the internet and the rapidly increasing pace of everything from the news cycle to the way we socialise, we’re all doing too much of something, and not enough of something else. It’s overwhelming, and we’re constantly playing catchup. 

Eric’s solution is to abandon balance, but to do it on purpose. Decide what you want to be really, really good at it, and accept that you won’t be world-class in your other pursuits. 

Eric also shares why he sets a five-hour timer at the start of every work day, how he deals with contradictions in his own writing, and how he developed his sense of humour.

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Produced by Inventium

Host: Amantha Imber

Production Support from Deadset Studios

Episode Producer: Liam Riordan

Sound Engineer: Martin Imber