Richard Branson

“If you are struggling to juggle your home life with your career commitments, both can suffer. Part of the solution may be to treat time with your family as a priority. When you’re facing an avalanche of appointments, book time to spend with your family — put it in your work diary. You will also need to prepare your colleagues for those times when an emergency will come up at home and you’ll need to drop everything to deal with it, because this is almost certain to happen.

But rather than thinking of these two aspects of your life as antagonistic, why not combine them? As I’ve often said, I don’t divide work and play: It’s all living.”

When you have more of a traditional job with set working hours, the lines in the sand can be quite a bit clearer. You have your work life at the office and you have your personal life at home. As the nature of work continues to change and evolve, this sense of separation is becoming less and less obvious. This is particularly true for entrepreneurs who are effectively always “on the clock.” Believe me, I know the feeling.

In a recent contribution to, Richard Branson answered a reader question about how best to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The question specifically looked at how achieving this balance is particularly difficult when you have children. Part of this has to be about making your family a priority and scheduling your time accordingly. Another part of it has to do with shifting your perspective.

Living the Harmonious Life

The subject of work-life balance has become increasingly popular in recent years, partly because we have become a society of constantly-connected professionals. We are always plugged into the matrix, because work is only an e-mail or a smartphone notification buzz away. And when you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer or small business owner, the difference between what is work and what is play can become muddled. In this way, a better goal may be to strive for improved life-work integration rather than life-work balance.

I guess I have at least one thing in common with Richard Branson. Considering that the Founder and Chairman of Virgin Group has an estimated net worth of US$4.6 billion, he must be doing something right.

The Power of Choice

“If you run a business, consider investing in technology that will allow you and your staff to work flexible hours — your investment will pay dividends in the long run. You will all be less stressed by long commutes and less discouraged about missing those special moments, from first steps to first words, so you will have more space to think creatively… Overall, this is about giving people options.”

Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. If it were not for the rise of the Internet, I’m not sure I would have ever been able to build up my career as a full-time professional freelance writer. At the same time, it feels like I am constantly tethered to and bound by the Internet and by my business. And the ability to work flexible hours can bring with it a sense of guilt when you’re not working. Just because you can work at any hour doesn’t mean you should work at every hour.

And if you look to the monumental success of Sir Richard Branson, it’s pretty clear that the soon-to-be 64-year-old knows a thing or two about living. He’s not afraid to take risks and to stay true to himself. Some may say that Branson is more eccentric and Elon Musk is more ambitious. The good news is, between Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, they’ll be “giving people options.”