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Why You Need a Good Work-Life Balance

  • Category: LiveSmart
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  • Written By: Baldwin
Cartoon graphic of business woman sitting in the middle of a balanced scale that says work on the left and life on the right

Is work taking over your life? How to strike a healthy balance while still being productive.

All work and no play may do more harm to your well-being than you think. That's why it's important to establish a good work-balance. But what exactly is work-life balance? And how do you make it happen so you feel productive enough at work while still enjoying a robust personal life?

Defining Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance isn't just about counting the number of hours you're at the office and trying to make sure you keep to a specific number or less. Rather, achieving a good work balance is about finding the right combination of meeting work obligations while also being able to enjoy family, hobbies and personal interests.

There's no set amount of time you need to work, or not work, that equates to a good work-life balance. An ideal balance is different for each person. While you may not be able to dictate how many hours you work, there are steps you can take to improve this balance.

The Importance of a Good Work-Life Balance

Many people find work a source of stress. Even after leaving work, some people find it hard to turn off the stressors of the work day. You may check emails, do unfinished work or worry about what you need to do tomorrow. Not being able to distance yourself from work keeps stress levels high.

Chronic stress has been shown to contribute to many serious health issues, from high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack to poor sleep and a weaker immune system. This stress also has negative effects on your mental health, making many people feel anxious, depressed or unsatisfied with life.

People who don't achieve a good work-life balance may also find they are less productive, less creative and less motivated. This may make it harder to get work done, solve problems or experience career advancement.

Tips for Improving Work-Life Balance

There's no way to achieve the perfect work-life balance every single day. After all, life is life. Sometimes there's an important project at work that just has to get done. Or you have a personal issue that must take precedence over work. But here are some ways to achieve a better balance overall between work and the rest of your life:

  • Use your PTO. It's important to take time off, so don't leave those days on the table. When you take a day off, you should actually be off—no checking emails, answering calls or planning your next work project. Don't worry, work will be there when you get back.
  • Leave it at the office. Get in the habit of disconnecting from work at the end of the work day. Some people find it helps to make a to-do list or to jot down ideas or problems they're juggling so they don't have to think about work once they're home.
  • Don't confuse WFH with always working. If you work from home, it may be harder to check out of work because it's always there. Set up physical boundaries between your workspace and the rest of your home and learn to set boundaries for your time as well.

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Date Last Reviewed: March 20, 2023

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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