How did working 70-hour weeks became a point of pride and not a cause for concern? When did your company start claiming to be your family instead of your co-workers? Instead of pushing yourself to work longer hours, meet tight deadlines and see the competition as your mortal enemy, it’s time to discover a calmer way of doing things. The mundane truth is that progress and innovation are rarely achieved with blunt force, instead, they are built brick by brick, week after week.

Another unhelpful idea, voices both online and offline, is that the business world is like a war zone. This attitude is reinforced by the tendency to use the language of battle in business. Competitors are “conquered”, companies describe their sales department as a “force” rather than a team and new employees aren’t recruited, they’re “headhunted”. Unfortunately, while these analogies might make life a little more exciting for office warriors, they also create a toxic workplace culture. After all, the entrepreneur who fancies himself/ herself a military leader and the competition “the enemy” will find justification for engaging in unethical behaviour and commercial skulduggery.

A great company culture doesn’t just happen. Just like great products, it takes years of careful craftsmanship, design, implementing. Just as the best companies never stop trying to make their product as good as possible, a product manager with a curious mindset is continually searching for places to make improvements in company culture. Don’t fall for the popular rhetoric surrounding the modern workplace. Instead of pushing yourself to work more hours and bending over backward to meet unrealistic deadlines, focus on working smarter. By fiercely guarding your time and making your processes more efficient, you can get home on time and never again utter the words “It’s crazy at work!”

Find your harmony
Your career is important, but it shouldn’t be your entire life. It’s easy to get caught up in work, especially if you’re passionate about your job.
When in pursuit of work-life balance, ask yourself what it would ideally look like for you, designate tasks to achieve it, and accept that although it will be a bumpy road, it’s a journey well worth taking.