Have you ever heard of the saying “Leave your personal problems at home“?
Ideally, that’s what we should all do—separating personal life from work.
But then again, sometimes it can still affect us. Even the little things at home can have big effects when we’re at work, and vice versa.
That is where work-life balance comes in. When we set clear work-home boundaries, it can help us become less stressed and more efficient, both in our work and personal lives.
If you’re struggling to balance the two—don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
We wanted to know just how important work-life balance is to people, so we partnered with Branded Research to conduct a custom poll.
They asked 10,748 U.S. Working Adults “Is work-life balance important to you?”
Here’s the result:
Overall, the poll found that the vast majority of U.S. working adults say work-life balance is important.
Approximately, 57% of U.S. working adults say that work-life balance is important because it gives them more time with their families.
Younger working adults are more likely than older working adults to say that work-life balance is important because it gives them time for self-care.
While older working adults are more likely than younger working adults to say that work-life balance is important because it gives them time to stay healthy.
To further expand on the topic, we also asked 29 experts “Why is work life balance so important in today’s world?”
Let’s have a look at their insights.
Psychologist | University Professor | Author, “Boost: The Science of Recharging Yourself in an Age of Unrelenting Demands“
The stress caused by work causes physiological reactions, and we need work-life balance to undo these reactions.
In response to stress, the body’s autonomic nervous system and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis get activated and produce allostasis, which allows the body to adapt to the pressures and stressors it faces.
Normally, these biological reactions are short-lived, and the body returns to its resting state fairly quickly. However, sometimes these adaptive reactions fail to turn off after the stressor disappears and we experience allostatic load which is when there is wear and tear on the body caused by an unyielding state of overactivation.
This is bad for us and can lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer. Work-life balance helps to undo this wear and tear.
Read related article: Living with Chronic Illness? Make Your Life Easier
However, the mere availability of time away from work does not automatically make us feel recovered. For many years it was believed that stress-related biological reactions were the direct cause of long-term health problems, but we now know that the problem is incomplete recovery.
If people are able to recover effectively from the job-related stress during their leisure time, the long-term effects of stress are reduced or eliminated.
If you make the right choices during your leisure time you can achieve work-life balance, avoid allostatic load and get a boost, which means you feel better, are healthier and avoid long-term health problems, and get better at your job.
Author | Columnist | Radio Show Host
Because it takes 2 salaries to make it in today’s world, it complicates things like child rearing and care, shuffling kids for games and practices and finding time for each other.
Everyone needs a break, so things like date night, family dinners together and time for just checking in with each other is more important than ever.
For singles out there, often tasks are imposed on them because they don’t have families and they get stuck with extra duties both at work and volunteer positions. Regardless, everyone needs something that relaxes and replenishes them whether it is exercise, dinner with friends, a hobby or just reading a book.
It can be done–it just needs to be thoughtfully planned out and executed.
Attorney | Coach | Entrepreneur | Podcast host | Author, “Get in a Good Mood & Stay There“
The reason work-life balance is so important is because what hangs in the balance of our work-life balance is our sense of self and our identity.
If you are always working, then that’s how you see yourself—as someone who always works. You begin creating stories in your head that you aren’t a fun person anymore and that you don’t have time for people outside of work. You become lonely, irritable and tired.
On the other hand, if all you do is “play”, then the stories become more along the lines of being someone no one takes seriously, always being broke or not having real meaning in life. You become defensive, detached and possibly depressed.
We need to see ourselves both as someone with purpose and as someone who enjoys his or her short time here.
That balance is what leads to fulfillment. That balance is what leads to happiness. And that is why that balance is so very important.
Rod Brace, PhD
Author | Chief Learning Officer | Executive Coach | National Speaker
Work-life balance is not a private matter. In fact, it is critically important for leaders to demonstrate work-life balance for the benefit of their employees. Employees appreciate it when their leader demonstrates work-life balance.
When an employee sees a congruency between what the leader espouses to be important about balance and their actual practices, their employee feels they have permission to have work-life balance in their own life.
Too many supervisors tell their employees they don’t expect them to work the same number of hours that they see their boss logging, or answer the emails sent to them on the weekend, or not take a vacation without realizing their words have no weight.
It is their actions that reveal what the boss truly holds to be valuable. When a leader demonstrates they take work-life balance seriously, their actions loudly proclaim permission to their employees to do likewise.
Campaign Manager at Monk Manual
After working 12+ hours per day, 6 days per week, I realized I needed to take a step back from the day to day and reflect on the big picture. I realized I was moving my business forward, but my personal life was taking a serious hit.
I didn’t realize I was out of balance until I met the creator of the Monk Manual. After speaking on the phone, it was clear that he had been in a similar place and realized he appeared incredibly productive to everyone around him, but internally he felt like he was sprinting on a treadmill. Every night he went to bed feeling like he didn’t do enough, feeling like he didn’t focus on the right things.
When I heard him describe his old way of life, I felt a pit in my stomach. It sounded all too familiar. He explained to me that being productive isn’t about doing more.
Productivity is about doing the most important things well. And on top of that, it’s not about doing what’s urgent — the important is almost never urgent.
Read related article: Best Productivity and Time Management Books (in 2018)
From that day forward, I started evaluating my days. Each night, I would reflect on the day that passed and look at the day’s highlights, times I felt great, times I felt unrest, and find just one way to improve the next day. Then I would prepare for the next day ahead – listing my priorities, to-do’s, and my schedule for the day. This alone helped me find extra time in my day.
I started using the extra time for “life” rather than work activities. I spent more time relaxing and more time with friends.
A funny thing started happening — when I started reflecting at the end of each day, I saw my productivity go up. I got the most important things done quicker and earlier in the day.
Then, I started reflecting at the end of each week, and I started feeling more peaceful. I would prepare for my week and prioritize the important rather than the urgent. Never before had I prioritized time for relaxing, time for myself, and time with friends and family.
Then, I started reflecting at the end of each month… This is where my life completely changed. At the end of each month, I would take an inventory of my work, relationships, spiritual well-being, and overall health. And I would reflect on one insight learned.
It was during these monthly reflections that I found my purpose. And thanks to the weekly and daily preparations, I’ve been able to grow and help others experience the peace that comes from living mindfully.
I needed to find my work-life balance before I was able to truly discover my life’s purpose — and now, I wake up each day and tap dance out of bed.
I still work hard, but there’s a joy in every moment of the day. As soon as I finish my work, there is a peace that comes from knowing that I did exactly what I was supposed to. And now, when I’m “off-the-clock,” I’m not worrying about unfinished work — I’m living in the moment and appreciating the time I have with loved ones.
You don’t realize how productive you can be until you experience a true balance of your whole person – body, mind, and soul.
Read related article: How to Live a Balanced Life? What Does it Really Mean?
A Jazz Musician Who Writes Books
As the author of Motherless Child and other works of fiction, I live the life of a creative entrepreneur and I struggle with work-life balance every day.
Work-life balance is something that has to be actively cultivated now. It doesn’t come about as a result of natural lulls in office hours, vacation or availability of professional services.
As technology, and specifically the internet, have increased in power and reach, it is possible for a person to be an author, editor, publisher, publicist and media producer all at the same time.
This is a great thing for people trying to break in and share their work with the world. Unfortunately, the ramifications of this are that, now, it’s necessary to be an author, editor, publisher, publicist and media producer.
If you don’t wear all of these hats, you either have to pay someone to do this work for you, or you have to convince an established organization with people in these roles to sponsor or publish you.
As there are many, many more people looking to have someone take care of these issues for them, the competition is so fierce that, unless you are very aggressive, very lucky, or have inside help, you will not make much headway. That throws us back on the “pay someone or do it yourself” choice, and few people have the resources to pay people.
Not only are we able, and in some cases forced, to do ten times the work we used to do, we can do it 24-7. If everything happens on your laptop, you have immediate and constant access to your tools. And if you don’t work 24-7, your competition is.
As I said at the beginning, it used to be that we could generally follow the rise and fall of office hours, vacation days, or the availability of people who were working for us to know when to take time off.
Now that those boundaries are gone, we have to plan our off-time the way we plan our work time. One thing hasn’t changed: If we go 24-7 long enough, we’ll burn ourselves right down to the ground.
Michael W.S. Morton
Fee-only Financial Advisor, Morton Financial Advice
I’ve been working from home for years while starting a family and having a wife that goes to work – so I understand and live the need for work/life balance.
I believe it’s critical to have the balance of life away from work due to the overwhelming stress in today’s world. We are bombarded with stress from every angle, and most we don’t fully appreciate or understand.
It’s easy to understand stress from the daily commute, an overflowing inbox, and family schedule. But we’re also bombarded daily with beeping notifications on our smart-phones, food that adds to physical inflammation, and addictions to social networks that destroy our focus.
This is why you see such a rise in ideas like meditation, physical activity, supplements, and detox protocols: we need a way to unplug our minds and bodies from the daily stress. It’s critical to take time and simply enjoy life. You need a balance to unplug and unwind.
The demands of today’s environment are so much more so than any time in the past. We expect so much achievement of ourselves and our family (just look at all the social media posts that we don’t live up to!). But without proper rest, we are failing to provide the support to be the best possible version of ourselves.
SEO Consultant, CanIRank
Having a work-life balance is so important to me that I intentionally sought out and now work for a completely remote job!
For a long time, I think society tricked us into believing that we were machines and that work was all that mattered. But I argue that if we’re high-functioning machines, we need to make sure we have time for maintenance in order to stay successful.
Working remotely provides me this ability, in large part due to my control over my daily schedule. When I’m working, I am intensely focused. And when I’m not, I can commit to taking time for myself without fear of backlash from my workplace!
I then return to work feeling well-rested, clear-headed, and ready to tackle my next project.
Personal Finance Expert at Dollar Sprout
Work-life balance has always been important, but today it’s so much harder to accomplish because of how connected we all are.
It seems like we are never more than an arm’s reach away from our work email (via our smartphones). That means we need to be much more proactive about setting boundaries than in years past, otherwise, work will dominate our lives.
Fortunately, a few simple changes can greatly improve work-life balance, even for the hardest workers.
- Plan out your workday beforehand to increase productivity (you’ll accomplish more during the day and feel less compelled to take your work home with you).
- Make commitments outside of work, and stick to them!
- Set clear expectations to others at your job, and try not to overextend yourself. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
- Perfect the art of saying “no”
At the end of the day, having a better work-life balance will benefit everyone (including your employer!). By having lower stress levels and more time to spend with family and friends, you’ll be much more fresh and productive when you are at work. Work at work, don’t work when you’re not at work.
Wellness Entrepreneur | Co-founder of Amber Blue
Work-Life Balance is so important in today’s world and it’s something I promote and discuss in all of my meditation classes.
I lead by example, as I was that person that did not have balance and it caught up with me. I had been living in NYC for 13 years in corporate finance, in a constant state of fight or flight, attached to technology, email and work 24/7, while living what was deemed the “high life”.
And then it hit me, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 32. I was 90lbs heavier than when I moved to NYC, I was exhausted, my relationships were strained and now I had a brain tumor.
I stopped. I re-evaluated. And I realized I had absolutely no balance.
I turned to yoga and meditation as tools to wedge balance into my life. Shortly after my diagnosis, I left the corporate world and moved to India to train in meditation and yoga. With these tools of finding balance, I lost 80lbs, am healthy and happier than ever, all of my relationships are strong and I’m genuinely happy.
When our bodies are not in balance and we have no work life balance – our bodies are in a constant state of fight or flight.
It causes higher blood pressure, high heart rate, increased anxiety/depression, lower immune system, insomnia, and disease. When our bodies are relaxed, when we have balance, our breath is slower, our heart rate slower, lower blood pressure, a higher immune system to fight disease and illness, we sleep better and we are more at joy and happiness. Our thoughts are clear.
Creator and Author of I Like to Dabble
I am constantly struggling with work-life balance as in addition to my 40 hour full-time work week, I also spend probably an additional 20 hours a week on my blog.
Even when I am not working, I end up working. I really have to take the time sometimes to stop and tell myself to slow down or I might crumble. I do this by exercising 6 days a week, journaling and meditation. Anything to take a break from all the stresses of work.
That is the thing with work-life balance and why it is extremely necessary to keep the two balanced. If you don’t, you could burn out, break down, or even worse.
Remind yourself that work isn’t worth your mental and physical health. There is more to life than work.
Everything is moving so fast in this day in age and moves faster every day. We tell ourselves we have to keep up with all of it or we will fall behind. But really, you need to work smarter to stay ahead of the game, not harder and longer.
Work-life balance is possible and absolutely necessary to keep yourself together. You don’t want to wake up 70 years from now with mental and physical health issues, with no one by your side, and no real passions in your life besides work.
Stay true to yourself and respect yourself by giving yourself time to rest and time to be balanced in all aspects of life and work.
Carolyn Horner, and Eve Ackerley
Co-Founders of Jenzy
As co-founders who are also best friends and roommates, Eve and I spend a lot of time talking about the topic of a work-life balance.
When we first started Jenzy, we would work seven days a week thinking that that was expected in the “startup world.”
What we realized, however, was that our best ideas came from doing things offline, like playing tennis or going to a concert.
After about 6 months, we started implementing a healthier work-life balance routine. For example, we almost always take the weekends off and try to stay away from Slack and our email as much as possible.
While we wake up early, we spend the first few hours independently working out, reading or journaling as a way to get ready for the day. This helps us get mentally situated for the day that as entrepreneurs, is filled with a lot of unexpected situations or meetings that require a lot of collaboration and critical thinking.
There are so many stereotypes about being an entrepreneur that you see portrayed on shows like Silicon Valley; in reality, the healthier that Eve and I can be physically and mentally directly correlates to the health of our company.
CEO of MyCorporation
When has work/life balance not mattered?
It is incredibly important for everyone, whether or not you are an entrepreneur, to take time away from work to recharge and relax.
We live in a world where we are increasingly expected to be ‘on’ through emails, text messages, and social media. We risk major burnout if we continue to keep running without stopping and do not prioritize balance or self-care.
No matter how busy your days or weeks are, take the time to carve out a space of time for yourself to regroup. You can use this time to exercise, meditate, clean (it’s definitely cathartic for some and a great way to stay organized!), read, rest, and spend time with friends and family.
Recruiter for Healthcare | Medical Device | Pharmaceutical | Biotech | Chemicals
I am a recruiter with 20+ years experience. Desiring a better work-life balance is one of the top reasons people want to change jobs.
There are many hiring managers who expect employees to be totally dedicated to their job giving them unmanageable workloads, requiring long work hours, unreasonable travel schedules or discouraging employees from using vacation time.
The financial hit involved for replacing a burned-out employee is very costly and company culture and reputation suffers greatly.
Studies have shown that the cause of burnout has less to do with expectations for hard work and performance and more to do with how someone an employee is managed and can be prevented when you focus on the right factors.
SEO Specialist for MyInjuryAttorney
Work-life balance becomes more important the better our technology becomes. Our smartphones and computers allow us to stay connected with the world (nearly) anywhere we are. From hiking in the mountains to enjoying the afternoon at the beach.
But this connection means that it’s also more difficult to have “time off.” Depending on where you work, your boss might expect you to respond to an email, no matter when they send it. If your coworkers have a question on your day off, they might send you a text or message you in Slack.
At a previous job I remember working 60-80 hours a week, then getting a steady stream of “must answer” calls, texts, and emails once I got home. I had “mandatory work calls” on my vacation, during my brother’s bachelor party, and at my grandfather’s funeral. It’s easy to think of this as the new normal, but it’s not.
Work live balance is so important because if you let it, work starts bleeding into your family time, your “me” time, and pretty soon your sleep. You start sacrificing the things you really care about so that you can “send a quick email.” But you when you do, you’re losing more than the amount of time it takes to compose the message.
That buzz or sound pulls you out of whatever you were doing, breaking your routine. It takes time to bring yourself back. If you’re with friends or family, you pull all of them out of their routine while they wait for you to respond. And once you’re done sending the message, how long will you spend waiting for them to reply?
This blending of work and personal life isn’t good for our careers either. Our brains aren’t made to function like this, and spending so much time plugged in means that pretty soon you start getting burned out.
When you get into the office, you’ll spend an increasing amount of time going over everything you discussed when you weren’t working. This means covering the same discussions, same plans, and same arguments with the *same* people you just wasted your weekend talking to.
Why? Because, like you, they all had their life going on when they sent that email, and no one was completely paying attention.
This makes your “real” work start to feel pointless because you’ll feel like you’re never making progress. But then come the weekend, the email chain starts again, setting your next Monday up for failure. You’ll quickly burn out, which helps no one.
At my current job, I’m fortunate enough to work for a boss who respects my time out of work. But I also made the decision not to install any work apps or email on my home PC or phone.
This separation allows me to approach each week fresh and ready to tackle whatever challenges it presents, and it means that when I’m at home, I get to enjoy the things I really care about.
Owner/CMO of Destin Vacation Boat Rentals
Working in the travel industry, many of our customers tell us they are trying to unplug and get back to basics to try to restore some balance in their lives.
In today’s world, there are so many things pulling us in so many different directions that it’s easy to feel “out of balance“, particularly when one area of their life is demanding more attention than others.
For example, they got so obsessed with their work that they let their health or family life slide. Or maybe a family issue caused them to fall behind in their job. Taking time to relax and re-evaluate can be crucial to help restore that balance.
VP of Marketing, GuidedChoice
Sign Out of All Work Accounts on Your Personal Devices
Technology has done wonders for the modern workplace. Can you imagine surviving without your computer, phone, etc?
Technology can be as much of a curse as it is a blessing though. We are connected to our work 24/7 with our personal devices.
I advise people to not sync any business emails or any other accounts that are synced to work to their own devices. Never disconnecting from work can drive people insane.
We all need to wind down at some point every day. It is very tempting to check a work email that pops up on your phone. That simple notification can be a gateway to multiple emails. I know for some this is not possible so at least set aside an hour or two to unplug from work. You will thank yourself!
CEO of Concrete Camouflage
I used to work on the weekend. 6 or 7 day work weeks were normal. The realization that working weekends was more counterproductive happened over the course of a few years.
While working in construction contracting, I worked long hard days. When I happened to get a full weekend off due to rain or job site delays, I noticed the entire crew seemed to be sharper and more upbeat.
Finally, late one Friday evening while working on a project, the wealthy elder gentleman who had hired us told me that I worked too hard. I’ll never forget his words, “I can promise you that no person has ever reached the end of their life and thought, I wish I had worked more“.
I decided to take the weekend off and haven’t worked weekends since. I think work-life balance is important in today’s world because we are always one click away from checking our email and being in work mode. It’s critical to set boundaries and prioritize time away from your job commitments.
President and Owner of Audio Den
My best thinking takes place when I’m relaxed and in a good state of mind.
If I’m exhausted from having stayed up late the previous night working, then almost always less productive the following day. The less stressed and energized you are, the more creative you will be and the higher quality of work you will produce.
In my opinion, work-life balance is a critical component of mental health but is unfortunately still a bit of a taboo topic in the workplace. I hope companies and managers can have more open and honest conversations with employees about the importance of work-life balance, and its impact on mental health.
I coach work-at-home moms and work-life balance is the number 1 item that each and every one of them is striving for.
Finding that balance seems like it should be an enigma, but the fact that so many people are looking to achieve just that is so promising.
Over the past decade, there has been a huge shift towards mindfulness and being more present in each moment and in turn that has been allowing people to figure out how to live their best lives through finding balance.
In today’s world, people are wanting to show up more for the little moments and it warms my heart. They want to be there for their children and families.
Not by just being there, but by actually being involved and showing up both physically and mentally. This balance may seem impossible to obtain, but with the right mindset, you can accomplish anything!
Angel M. Barrino, MCC, CPSS, CSAC, A.Min.
Author | Coach | Minister | Speaker
In a society where everything is demanding and tasks must be completed in a hurry, we find ourselves rushing to meet deadlines, spending less time with family, more time texting and caught up in virtual environments, while mental health crises and stressful circumstances are on the rise.
Companies have incorporated work/life balance programs, stress management initiatives and other wellness solutions which enable employees to gain better control of work and personal life relationships; yet we still have an ongoing crisis of absenteeism, major health issues, stress, trauma and the like.
Life is challenging, especially as we look at all of the tragedy the country faces overall and varying degrees of social inequality and economic shift; therefore, I strongly believe the aforementioned programs along with even more strategic work/life balance interventions are necessary to assist individuals with functionality, coping and living a healthy and purposeful life at work and home or in the community.
Senior Content Marketing Manager, ProjectManager
Work is a large part of our lives, but in the grand scheme of things, a minor part of life.
In our age of ever-improving technology which blurs the lines between time to work and time away from work, it’s vital to set some boundaries for yourself which allow you to compartmentalize one from the other.
So many people have that urge now to check their phones, check email, check Slack and always be ready to respond in a heartbeat no matter the hour, no matter what they’re doing.
In simplest terms, this isn’t natural. Studies are being conducted that prove that our brain chemistry is literally being re-wired by the dopamine hits that come from quick responses to all of the alerts we receive on every single device, social network etc.
In fact, that response is what has made sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Slack ultra-addictive. The only way to break the cycle is to set firm boundaries of which your colleagues are aware.
If it takes literally un-plugging by turning off your device and stowing it away in a place that’s hard to access, maybe that’s what you need to do, to maintain a healthy work-life balance and be at your greatest productivity in the hours when you are in the office.
At ProjectManager we truly walk the walk of this balance. Our CEO is from New Zealand, where there’s a fervent belief that work hours are work hours and personal time is personal time.
We’re expected to be in the offices by 8 am but also equally as expected to be OUT of the offices at 5 pm. In fact, if you hang around even 10 minutes past 5 you’ll get some questioning responses from your supervisor as to why you haven’t left yet.
Obviously, this same standard can’t be applied to all people, in all organizations, as responsibilities differ and deadlines can cause longer hours.
However, being as serious about your personal time as you are the quality of work you produce during work hours is the only way to rebel a little against the technological revolution that would much prefer you to be “on” all the time.
Beyond that, it’s the only way to protect what matters most: your own mental well-being.
Marketing Apprentice at Fueled
Back in the 1950’s, the nuclear family and industrialism was a huge part of American culture. The focus for many individuals was working and providing for their family.
As that age of America move on so did some of its values. Now, with the increase of mental health awareness and laid back/start-up working environments, many people are now trying to find the balance in work and life.
Social media and globalization are showing people all the experiences the world can offer whether that is through traveling or taking on hobbies and passion projects. All of these things come together to show why people are really trying to balance their work along with other aspects of their life.
Antonio (Tony) Argibay
Founder and Managing Principal of Meridian Design Associates
We find that without taking frequent breaks, the “work” time – (which for us is design) – a paradox emerges, the efficiency of productive work (design solutions) diminishes until you hit the proverbial wall.
Therefore, it’s important to have micro breaks above what is conventionally recognized as Work/Life Balance time, which is family time and leisure.
We emphasize this because this balance has to be present in the office as well, within the eight hours minimum of a workday. We encourage breaks, walks, web surfing, speaking with colleagues and other activities that take you away actively from the design process and lets you work subconsciously, so we can tap the deeper well of our imagination.
Founder & Chief Visionary, SparkVision
As a person who works in organizational culture, it’s evident that there’s a drastic shift happening across all sectors in the quest to achieve work-life balance.
While more of the voices seem to be coming from the millennials, it’s no secret that people across the generations are realizing there’s a better way to do business that doesn’t require around the clock expectations.
Since the increase in mobile technology and the incessant need to be “on” the line between work and life has become increasingly blurred. In generation’s past, your work stayed at work because there wasn’t a way to access it otherwise! Today, it’s become normal for people to check their email and respond to tasks while they’re on vacation.
Being able to disconnect completely during the hours you’re not in the office is so critical to one’s emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing.
When you are losing sleep, meals, or headspace due to anxiety created from work you will literally find yourself in the hospital. I wish I didn’t know of so many personal cases of people having panic or even heart attacks as a result of having no sense of balance in their lives.
For me personally, my lack of balance happened with an inaccurate and inappropriate interpretation of someone else’s demands which triggered me into my fight or flight state. I used to be Rocky when it came to stress. Fighting with and for the most important things that HAD to be done ASAP. You know that kind?
It wasn’t until I started an active mindfulness-based practice, set intentional boundaries and ignited regular self-care, that I was able to reclaim what elicited stress in my life and what was just part of being alive and getting my work done to feel a sense of balance and grace.
Managing Director, LeaseFetcher
Work life balance is important because it’s essential to your mental health.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 20% of the US population has some kind of mental illness that is exacerbated by avoidable stress caused at work.
Americans are much more likely to burn themselves out at work compared to workers in other countries across the world – you only have to look at how many employees in a workplace choose to waive the right to their paid vacation days to see that.
Taking steps to make sure that you don’t work too hard is really important – having a clear separation between work and home life is essential for this. Always remember that in most cases it isn’t the end of the world if you reply to a non-urgent email in the morning, rather than the evening.
Founder of Signature Scents by Hand
I believe work-life balance is so important in today’s world because sometimes we tend to forget to enjoy life.
We’ve become so wrapped up in how much money we’re making, things we need to buy (for some type of status) that we forget to take a breather and just be happy to be alive.
In today’s world, we take life for granted. We’re all guilty of this (including me). But I think if we take a step back every once in a while, we can enjoy life much better.
Chief Brand & Engagement Officer at EHE
As a vocal advocate of prevention, I believe that it’s super important to one to find their personal system of perfect balance.
Balance can look differently, depending on how you prioritize family, friends, and professional demands – but in the end, it’s so important to find a system so that you can live a healthy and happy life.
When you are out of sync, you harbor guilt which can have a significant impact on your cognitive health and affect how you manage anxiety and depression.
When you are imbalanced, your lifestyle changes – and you can find yourself overeating, or maybe over medicating with drugs and/or alcohol, or over-exercising – all of which can eventually affect your professional success.
That said, I believe in work-life integration. I believe that it’s important to create and nurture an environment of support. Your employer should support the responsibilities that come with having a family and your partner should support the times in which you may have to carve out time for work. Because they value your contribution (professional) and because they love you (personal).
And, as you navigate this integration, adopt a lifestyle centered around how you eat, think and move.
At EHE, we believe prevention extends towards how you live your life – really, how you eat, think and move. I, personally believe in the connection between these three dynamics and believe in an integrated program that includes exercise, proper sleep, and nutrition.
- Get up and move every day. Daily movement, especially, during the fall/winter months, can be a big mood enhancer and positively impact stress.
- Eating for energy. With the colder temperatures, it is so easy to eat more of the “comfort” foods that our mothers used to make. Try to balance the simple carbs, sugar-filled foods with fruits, veggies, proteins and complex-carbs AND lots of water!! You’ll feel more energetic and the brain power you need to make good decisions at work and at home.
Get out and spend time with your tribe. It’s easy to stay inside when the months become darker and colder – but, try to make time to stay connected to your support system.
Work-out with your girlfriends, sign-up for a language class (and make new friends), or invite friends over to have a healthy pot-luck. I’ve found that feeling like I belong and having a tribe I’m connected to with activities planned helps me stay productive, personally and professionally!
So I have recently gone from no work-life balance to a very balanced lifestyle and it has totally changed my life.
I worked my ass off during my 20’s. During this time I worked for a startup and did well and then went on to start my own company which I recently sold. The problem was I never really stopped to find myself or find out why I wanted to keep growing my business and make more money. At the end of the day, I was in pursuit of something I thought would make me happy and never took the time to learn who I was.
It was like I was chasing something that I thought I wanted but didn’t know why.
Once I sold my company and started working on a smaller project, I was able to take some time and allowed the time to really learn about who I am and what my motivations are.
Finding myself has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me because now I know what makes me truly happy.
In my opinion, work-life balance goes beyond spending time with your family or doing the things you love. It is crucial to help you find yourself and make sure you are doing what is best for you.
One of the best things I do now that I am not working nonstop is to take a few hours a week and sit in a coffee shop with a notepad and just write down whatever comes to mind!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance refers to the idea of creating a balance between the time we dedicate to our work and the time we dedicate to our personal life and well-being. It’s about finding a healthy equilibrium between the demands of our job and the things that matter most to us outside of work.
What are some ways to achieve work-life balance?
• Create a daily schedule: Plan out your daily activities, including work tasks, personal errands, and self-care activities. This can help you stay organized and ensure you have enough time for everything important to you.
• Use technology to your advantage: There are many tools and apps that can help you manage your time and work more efficiently. For example, you can use a productivity app to track your time and prioritize tasks or a scheduling app to coordinate with coworkers and family members.
• Delegate responsibilities: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider delegating responsibilities at work or enlisting the help of a family member or friend with household chores.
• Take advantage of flexible work arrangements: Many employers now offer flexible work arrangements (e.g., telecommuting, flexible schedules, and job-sharing). If these options are available, consider taking advantage of them to balance your work and personal life.
• Disconnect from work: It’s important to disconnect from work and avoid checking emails or taking calls outside of work hours. This can help reduce stress and allow you to fully enjoy your personal time.
• Make time for hobbies and interests: Whether it’s reading, playing a musical instrument, or volunteering, make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
• Practice self-care regularly: Regular self-care activities (e.g., exercise, meditation or simply taking a relaxing bath) can help you manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Can work-life balance be achieved by everyone?
Achieving a work-life balance is a personal and individual journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s a goal that many people strive for, but it can be difficult to attain due to various circumstances.
However, it’s important to remember that work-life balance is a matter of finding what works best for you and making changes in your life to support it. This may require making trade-offs, setting boundaries, and prioritizing your time and energy. With effort and commitment, many people can find a healthy balance between their work and personal life.
What are the consequences of not having a work-life balance?
Not having a work-life balance can lead to several negative consequences, both for individuals and for organizations. Some of the most common consequences include:
• Burnout: When people work too much and don’t have enough time for other activities, they can become physically and emotionally exhausted, leading to burnout.
• Health problems: Chronic stress, sleep deprivation, and a sedentary lifestyle can result from working long hours and not having enough time for exercise and self-care.
• Decreased job satisfaction: People who feel that they are always working and never have time for other things they enjoy are more likely to be unhappy in their jobs.
• Reduced productivity: When people are overworked and stressed, their ability to think creatively and solve problems can be diminished, leading to decreased productivity.
• Damaged relationships: Neglecting personal relationships due to work can lead to strained relationships with partners, friends, and family members.
• Increased absenteeism and turnover: When employees are burned out and stressed, they may start to take more time off work or even quit their jobs, leading to increased absenteeism and turnover for the organization.
How can employers support work-life balance for their employees?
Employers can support work-life balance for their employees in several ways, including:
• Flexible work arrangements: Offer flexible scheduling options, such as telecommuting, flexible hours, or job sharing, to allow employees to manage their personal and professional responsibilities more effectively.
• Time off policies: Provide paid time off for vacations, personal days, and sick leave, and encourage employees to use it.
• Family-friendly benefits: Offer benefits such as paid parental leave, on-site child care, or backup child care services to support employees with family responsibilities.
• Health and wellness programs: Offer programs such as fitness classes, stress management workshops, or an on-site gym to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.
• Workload management: Regularly review and adjust workloads to ensure that employees are not overburdened with excessive work, which can negatively impact their work-life balance.
• Open communication: Encourage open and transparent communication between employees and managers to discuss work-life balance and make adjustments as needed.
Can work-life balance be achieved while working in a high-pressure job?
Yes, even those in high-pressure jobs can achieve a good work-life balance. It may require more effort and creativity, but it’s definitely possible. Some strategies for achieving balance in high-pressure jobs include:
• Setting clear boundaries between personal and professional life.
• Prioritize tasks and focus on the most important ones.
• Make time for self-care and engage in enjoyable activities.
• Disconnect from work during time off.
• Seek support when feeling overwhelmed.
• Negotiate flexible scheduling with your employer.
• Set realistic expectations, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
• Delegate tasks to others to lighten your workload.
• Plan work and personal activities in advance.
• Take regular breaks to stay focused and avoid burnout.
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