We’ve all experienced it: waking up with an uneasy stomach and our body being overrun by anxiety. “Oh yes, that’s how I feel whenever I’m the keynote speaker at a conference”… or, not really.

Some people are going through this daily – one of the reasons is that they lack “life” in their “work-life balance”. Scenarios vary as every human perceives them differently. One can be happy working non-stop while another can fall apart. Either way, it cannot be denied that each and every one of us must discover a balance of our own.

Are you struggling to recall the last time you felt relieved of work duties?

When was the last time you didn’t cancel dinner dates with your friends?

Do your children solely associate you with the good-night kiss?

Instead of being driven, are you feeling drained?

But what actually matters is this: do you find all of this unbearable? 

If you respond positively to any of these questions, the chances are you’re on your way to burnout. So how do you avoid that? Read on!

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What do you mean by “work-life balance”?

The work-life balance encompasses a wide range of matters, not to mention that we all have our own perspectives on it. In light of this, it might be difficult to come up with the perfect definition.

Many definitions refer to the equal distribution of time between personal life and work. Balance, in our opinion, is not about equality. Here’s another way to put it:

Work-life balance means the convenience of being able to manage a personal life during the work day, without the hassle of having to get permission or explain our activities to others.

Rather than using more complex definitions, we provide you with the words of author and business consultant George Nagle. This is how he visualizes what it is like to be trapped in a difficult work-life situation:

When we’re in that river and it’s moving really fast, we’re adding all sorts of stress because we’re just constantly on the go.

“Quiet quitting”, a.k.a. “I’m only doing the bare minimum” – this is the movement that has been taking over by a number of corporate employees lately. Their goal is to establish a line between work and personal life by only working in accordance with the contract. 

Comparably (2022) conducted the 5th annual list of companies that take pride in having the best workplace cultures, with the work-life balance being one of the indicators. Here are some of them: Microsoft, RingCentral, IBM, HubSpot, Elsevier, 23andMe, DataArt, and Chegg.

This year’s list of the Best Companies for Work-Life Balance are known for cultivating workplaces that prioritize their employees’ mental health and flexibility, ultimately creating a more engaged and productive workforce.

– Jason Nazar, the CEO of Comparably 

Is it possible to have a stress-free career?

Another interesting research has been conducted by US News & World Report. Based on their results, these are the careers that are well-paid, flexible, and, among other important attributes, tend to offer a good work-life balance: 

  • orthodontists;
  • dentists;
  • data scientists;
  • medical and health services managers;
  • software developers;
  • physician assistants;
  • nail technicians;
  • recreation and fitness workers;
  • exterminators, management analysts;
  • web developers;
  • interpreters and translators;,…

Some of these jobs are considered low-stress; some can be done fully off-site; some are not performable at home at all; and some are equivalent to the hobbies of an individual.

What if this is not your case?

What if “balanced“ is the last word you would use to describe your life?

A significant impact on people’s satisfaction at work can be ascribed to post-pandemic attitudes. Many have had plenty of time to review their careers and to prioritize certain things. Having experienced what it’s like to work from home, they are now reluctant to get back to normal. It has led to the phenomenon of “Great Resignation”: in short, the masses quitting their jobs. 

Celebrity wellness expert & owner of Brace Life Studios, Robert Brace, mentions: except for traditional reasons such as low wages or lack of benefits,

Many people left their jobs for the pursuit of happiness.

Probably the most important aspect of work-life balance is the time dedicated to performing your job. It’s not that long working hours only affect the quality of one’s personal life, it also harms their health—both mental and physical. Along with severing ties with friends and family, this trouble inevitably turns into wrecking for some.

The OECD Better Life Index states that “10% of employees in the OECD work 50 hours or more per week in paid work” and that “more men work very long hours in paid work.”

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6 tried-and-true ways to strike the ideal work-life balance

Based on our research and personal experience, here are some of the useful tips to incorporate into your life when striving for a greater balance between life and work:

6. Take action before things get out of hand

Nicole Dunn, the CEO of Dunn Pellier Media, Inc., talks about different ways of approaching the matter of work-life balance at the very earliest: when taking part in a job interview.

She advises asking the recruiter about how the company enhances employees’ well-being. More specific questions, such as the degree of flexibility in working hours or the working environment, should not be overlooked.

It may feel intimidating to ask these questions in an interview for a job you’re excited about, but remember that you are interviewing them too.

5. Establish boundaries

Being aware of the boundaries between personal life and work is crucial. Separate job duties from the little things that make your life more joyful. However, a perfect definition of work-life balance looks different to everyone: sit and realize what it’s about for yourself instead of following universal guidelines… unless you find a tailored one.

Jo Constantz, reporter for Bloomberg, advises:

Prioritize ruthlessly and remember not everything has to be urgent: Identify what’s pressing and what can wait until tomorrow.

4. Highlighting the value of communication once again

You guessed it; communication is vital in any relationship, including the one you have with your manager. You might be taken by surprise how well your boss reacts to your concerns… or the other way around. In any case, you won’t know unless you try.

Do you feel like working from home would be a fit for you?

Are you feeling depleted because your output is undervalued?

Startlingly, you can talk that through with your manager as well. Don’t be shy about demanding a pay boost, Aine Cain from Business Insider advises.

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3. There’s always time for “me-time”

Stretching, taking your dog out for a walk, grabbing that life-saving cup of coffee in your favorite café, switching off your phone, quality time with your loved ones… every little bit counts; even a few minutes of that particular activity each day.

Just turn your head away when you need it.

2. Take that vacation

Who said you need to be seriously sick to not come to work?

Whether you constantly find yourself daydreaming about a long-awaited vacation – go do it. If you have the means to treat yourself but the only obstacle in your way is work time, what do you think the postponing-it-until-never will lead you to? “To you getting fed up with it” may be the answer here.

Both you and your employer stand to gain from taking that trip. Your productivity and energy levels will be likely to increase after some well-deserved time off, as well as your concentration. Melanie Fish, head of global PR for Expedia Group Brands, says:

I would tell my 25-year-old self: You are not so important that your workplace can’t get along without you for a couple of days.

1. Explore the root of the issue

Have you done everything you were advised to but are still facing a hard time finding balance? Well, you might’ve omitted a crucial point: is the work itself of any value to you? Do you ever feel enriched by it?

One gets easily sidetracked by all the work-life balance questions and begins to ignore the root cause. If aversion is your only emotion toward your job role, all the effort may be vain.

Not everything can be fixed; sometimes a change is necessary. If you find yourself at a dead end, do yourself a favor and inject some newness into your life. You will thank yourself later.

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The gist

No matter how much you like your job, you should always set some time aside for yourself.

Explore the balance of your own. Set limits. Don’t wait for others to act on your behalf. Take the liberty. Communicate. For your sake and your well-being. 

What are your thoughts on work-life balance? Are there any other strategies that helped you win the battle? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let’s get the discussion started in the comments section below.

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