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Work-life balance: meaning and why it matters

Work-life Balance

Noisli - What is work-life balance?

What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance is the state of equilibrium of one person’s time and focus between work, family and leisure time. In order to achieve work-life balance, this division of time and focus needs to be balanced.

Therefore, having a good work-life balance means that when you’re at work you have the right energy and mental capacity to fully focus on the tasks at hand. Likewise, once you’re off of work, it means you have enough energy and brain power left to enjoy quality time with friends and family or to pursue leisure activities.

When work does not negatively influence your private life and vice versa, you’ve achieved a good work-life balance.

Why is work-life balance important?

Work-life balance is important because it leads to a higher quality of life.

If you manage to maintain a healthy work-life balance you will feel much more fulfilled and content, and overall enjoy a greater sense of wellbeing.

A good work-life balance can also positively influence your physical and mental health and will help you to prevent stress and can lower the risk of burnout and depression.

What are signs of a poor work-life balance?

If you’re feeling that one part of your life is too demanding and feel like you can’t fully be yourself because you’re often too stressed or tired, it can be a first sign that you’re not having a healthy work-life balance.

Your private life negatively influences your work day: this could be for example if you often worry about private matters during work hours or if you can’t get enough sleep and relaxation during your leisure time thus making you feel frequently tired and exhausted at work.

Your work day negatively influences your private life: this could be for example when you’re overworked or bring work-related stress and pressure into your private life, preventing you from fully enjoying quality time with friends and family or leaving you without energy for any leisure activities.

How do you maintain a good work-life balance?

Pause and ask yourself if you’re happy with the way you’re living. Which parts of your life are making you feel stressed or leave you unfulfilled? Where would you love to spend more time and energy on and how could you achieve that? What makes you happy and where are your priorities at this stage of life?

Frequently asking yourself those questions gives you the opportunity to constantly reassess your current situation and make changes that help you to improve your work-life balance and consequently your quality of life.

Here are some ways to create a better work-life balance:

1. Accept that there is no “perfect” work-life balance.

Work-life balance is a progress and will probably require constant adjustment as your work and life is also in constant change. Keep in mind that no matter how much you plan, life is full of unexpected events where things will not go as planned. So rather than being upset, be prepared to adapt and accept the things you can’t change.

2. Prioritize your health.

Prioritizing your physical, emotional and mental health is key to live a well balanced life. Be mindful about your feelings and your energy levels and take action whenever you feel like work is too demanding or you can’t find time and ways to recharge during your leisure time.

3. Take frequent breaks and time-off.

Taking breaks has many benefits and is very important if you want to be productive. In order to keep your energy levels high throughout the whole day and avoid burnout, it’s important that you take enough breaks during your workday. There are many ways in which you can take effective breaks so to keep your mood and productivity high. It’s also important to take time-off to enjoy a prolonged weekend or a proper vacation in order to fully recharge your energies.

4. Make time for yourself and your family.

Spending time in solitude allows for self-discovery and self-awareness. It makes you a better observer and helps you to fuel your creative thinking. Likewise, it’s important to care about your social wellbeing and spend time with your friends and family which can support you and help you lift your mood.

5. Set boundaries between work and life.

With the advance of technology and the ability to be always connected, the line between work and private life becomes more and more blurry. That is why you need to be extra mindful and set boundaries of when you’re working and when you’re not. Set some ground rules for yourself like not checking your phone first thing in the morning, not doing household stuff during work hours or checking emails and muting Slack after 6pm.

Avatar photo Written by Sabine Staggl

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