Work Life Balance: Why It’s Important
Author - Dave Herbert
I’m sure many of you have full-time jobs, families, and significant obligations to attend to on a daily basis. Today I’d like to talk about work-life balance, and why I think it’s important to a healthy life. The daily grind can be just that. A grind. What can we do to not have a mental breakdown day in, and day out? First, let me outline “work-life balance”.
Work-life balance can be thought of as splitting your time effectively between your career, and activities you enjoy such as hobbies, side projects etc. An example of such activities includes a bowling league with friends a few nights a week, a running club that you frequently attend, or even setting aside a weeknight or two to play video games with friends. The options are limitless, as long as you enjoy what you’re doing. I’ve found that these outside activities provide a few key benefits.
Fighting Burnout- Working and other obligations become a grind. If you don’t have something fun to look forward to, this can become a monotonous pitfall in your life. Some people live to work, but most can’t. To fight the daily grind, switch things up.
Expand Your Horizons- You have a particular set of skills and knowledge that you use daily at your job. Your outside activities and interests can help garner new information, new ideas, and chances to learn new things. While you can take this new knowledge into the workplace, you can also capitalize it, and seek it out for your own self-benefit.
So what happens if you neglect balance? Aside from burnout, you could become irritable. You could also become unhappy with not just your job, but all aspects of your life. Burning the candle at both ends is tough to do, and even tougher to do for a long time, before something has to give.
I’ve done this on a few occasions myself, more so with my extracurricular activities (distance running) than with work. The combination of physical stress, job stress, and everyday life got too much for me to take. I wasn’t enjoying my running (which was important), not enjoying my job, and I was quite miserable.
So you got burned out. Your life is skewed way out of whack. You’re done for. Right?
There are ways to come back from this. I did, and you can too. I found any combination of the following things helpful to digging yourself out of a rut and putting you back on the track to balance.
Time Management- Some extra work projects have you all riled up, and are dominating your thoughts before, and after you leave the office. While it may be difficult, try and allocate time for work...at work. Bringing it home might help you at the onset, but will only wear you down as time goes on. Make time for work, make time for play.
Rest- When I went over the top with training, my body craved rest. I took some time away from running, tried to liven up my social life, and did some different activities. Just as with a job, I took running too seriously for too long. It owned me, and that isn’t how it should be. Don’t be afraid to take a step back from not only exercise but social obligations as well. Say “yes” to everything? Try saying “no”. Give yourself some free time, and relax.
Want more information on rest? Check out this link here.
Figure Out What You Want- There are so many options each of us has daily. From the food we eat to the people we interact with. This last point that helped me involves priorities and figuring out what you want from your days. Make a list of what you need, and want to do today. Work will be there most of the time, but you have a good few other hours to play around with. Section off an hour or so for activities you enjoy, and stick to it. Have commitment issues? Plan activities with friends, or groups to help keep you on track. An example can be found below:
5:00am- Take the dog for a walk
5:45am- Make an awesome breakfast (pancakes!)
6:30am- Head to the office
3:15pm-4:45pm- Meet up with Bill and Jane to run the trails
6:45pm- Unwind with some Netflix, or build some models until bed.
While it’s perfectly reasonable to pursue career goals and to want to make money, make sure you dedicate some time to yourself each and every day. You’ll thank yourself down the road.
Here are a few useful resources
This is a 1-page document on a few really useful models on learning how to prioritize your life
Great website for meeting up with others who have similar interest as yourself
The 80/20 rule proposes that 80 percent of your success comes from 20% of your effort. The main takeaway is that by focusing on the things that matter most you will be able to eliminate the extra stuff.
This is an article explaining it further
In the vein of improving productivity so you can work less - Zapier offers a great service for those who may want to automate parts of their work, as well as a fantastic blog on the various resources out there for doing so.
Here are a few useful ones:
Blocking Distractions https://zapier.com/blog/stay-focused-avoid-distractions/
Productivity Schedules https://zapier.com/blog/daily-schedules-for-productivity/
Email Management https://zapier.com/blog/inbox-zero/
A Nice General List of Tech Apps https://zapier.com/blog/college-student-productivity/
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links below, which means that if you click on one of the product links, we will receive a small commission for it. This revenue is important for allowing the website to operate and continue to produce quality materials for you our reader. With that said all items listed in this article I have personally used and recommend because I feel they provide a real benefit for you.
Lastly here are two books that I've read in the past year that could offer some assistance.
The 4-Hour Workweek
Tim Ferris is a popular author and one who's built his brand on the 80/20 Principle. His book offers a number of helpful tools and tips for allowing you to focus on what's most important and allowing you to get the most production with the least amount of time.
Tools of Titans
This is another Ferris book worth checking out based on his interviews on his podcast. In it you'll find a number of different Ideas, productivity tips, and more from the top people in their fields.
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind
This is a great book that aims to help you find a proper balance in your life. To be successful you must be both happy in the now and have something to work towards in the future. It teaches you to question conventional norms and help you define life on your own terms.
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