Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work


Nigel Marsh is best known for his creative pursuits. As well as the author of three books – Fat, Forty and Fired, Overworked and Underlaid and Fit, Fifty and Fired-Up – he is also the co-founder of Earth Hour and the founder of the Sydney Skinny.


Nigel used to be a ‘corporate warrior’ – working and eating too much and neglecting other aspects of life. He took a year off, and when he returned he studied and struggled with work-life balance. Here is what he learned:

  1. We need an honest discussion about work-life balance. However, some jobs seem to be incompatible with daily engagement with a young family. Flexi time and casual fridays do not do enough to fix this issue.
  2. Governments and corporations will not solve this issue for us. We need to take responsibility for the type of life we want to lead, and setting the boundaries of our life. Even the good companies will try to get as much out of you as they can.
  3. We need to be careful of the timeframes when we will achieve our work life boundaries. We need to be realistic about what personal activities we can do around an ideal work day, but we can’t fall into the trap of delaying everything until we retire, or until our children grow up.
  4. We need to approach balance in a balanced way. Some people see balance as an ability to go to the gym more. We need to make time to satisfy all our physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional needs. This can be daunting, but the small things matter.

We don’t need to completely upheave our life, and if everyone starts to make small changes we can alter our definitions of success (away from ‘whoever dies with the most money wins’).

Thousands of people are currently quietly screaming desperation, long hard hours at jobs they hate to buy things they dont need to impress people they don’t like.