Work-life Balance

by Barbara Buffton

What do we mean by work-life balance?

...work-life balance involves having a feeling of control and sufficient energy for one’s work and one’s life outside work...

Ingrid Steinberg

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not about allocating an equal number of hours to each of your various work and personal activities. Life is and should be more flexible than that. Some things are more important than others and demand more time.

The ideal balance for any individual can also vary over time, often on a daily basis. The balance that is right for you for today may be different from tomorrow’s ideal balance. The balance that is right for you when you are single will be different from the balance that is right when you marry, or if you have children. Similarly, there’s a difference between the balance that is right when you start a new career as opposed to when you are nearing retirement.

A balanced work-life is primarily a matter of deciding when to hold on and when to let go.

Jacques Limoges

There is no perfect ‘one size fits all’ balance you should be striving for. The ideal work-life balance will vary from person to person, because we each have different priorities and responsibilities.

It’s all in the mind

People with a good work-life balance generally feel happy most of the time about how and where they spend their time. If you spend all your time thinking ‘I should’ be doing something else, you will undoubtedly feel you have no balance, even if the time spent on activities is appropriate and, in theory, balanced.

Key facts

  • Work-life balance means different things to different people.
  • It is not necessarily about working fewer hours.
  • It is about being more in control and having choices about when and how you spend your time.
  • If you get more balance, you are likely to feel less stress.
  • Getting the balance right for you will improve the quality of life – your life and the lives of those around you.

If you want more balance, or if you’re an employer wondering what to do about stressed employees, there are many steps you can take to change things. Why not check out Six steps to balance?