Even Work-Life Balance Experts Are Awful at Balancing Work and Life

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Media Outlet: New York Magazine - The Cut

Brigid Schulte explores behavioral science, why change is hard, and writes in New York Magazine how being an expert sometimes isn’t enough.

For years, as director of the Work-Life Center at MIT, Kathy Simons pushed for flexible work policies, family-friendly benefits, and could cite chapter and verse the research on how taking time off to recharge improves workers’ outlook, productivity, and health. (In case you’re curious: One long-term study found that men and women who don’t take vacations are, respectively, 30 to 50 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who do. People who work long hours have a 20 percent higher mortality rate than those who don’t. And women who fail to take time off work are more likely to suffer from depression.)

Yet for five years, Simons herself didn’t take a vacation.


Brigid Schulte is the director of the Better Life Lab at New America. Schulte is an award-winning journalist and author, who writes widely for publications including the Washington Post, Slate, Time,  the Guardian, and others. Her book on time pressure, gender roles and modern life, Overwhelmed, Work, Love and Play when No One has the Time, was a New York Times bestseller.