Effectively balancing your career with your personal life is hard, especially in today’s fast-paced, unpredictable and often under-pressure workplace environment. But before you give up on your work life balance dream, get clear around the reasons why work life balance is important.
Because not only is work life balance possible, but it’s necessary for good health and happiness. And it’s not just about you (it’s good for your employer too!).
Here are 10 reasons why work life balance is important (even imperative) so that you’ll prioritize it once and for all.
And to get started immediately in creating a more balanced life, download 5-Minute Stress Solutions. This powerful resource contains proven mindset and stress management strategies for a healthier, more positive mindset and less stress (both important components to having a balanced life).
Table of Contents
Why Understanding The Importance of Work Life Balance Is Essential to Getting It
Understanding the reasons behind why work life balance is important is essential to actually achieving it. That’s because balance isn’t something that you find or are given. It’s created by you.
And you can’t create it if you don’t understand what work life balance really is (which requires that you appreciate the reasons behind why work life balance is so important).
Besides, creating work life balance is about making tough choices. Choices that help you:
- Prioritize what’s truly important (and drop the rest),
- Take control over your career path, and
- Simplify your life.
Let’s face it: these require courage, mental strength and resilience (as they’re not easy things to do). You’ll want to be clear around all the work life balance benefits to help you make these hard choices.
Work Life Balance in Men vs. Women
Before we get into the importance of work life balance, I want to make something clear: this isn’t just a female thing. There’s a common myth (believed by many) that men don’t care about having balance in their lives.
But after over 18 years in a legal career where I worked primarily with men and now in my coaching business, I’ve discovered that men and women want much the same thing. The difference is the language they use.
Women talk primarily in terms of balance and leading meaningful lives. Men talk about having time for their priorities and making an impact (both at work and in their family’s life).
When you drill deeper into what those mean, both men and women are talking about pretty much the same things. Regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, if you want to:
- Have a positive impact on your kids’ lives,
- Make a bigger impact in your work without having to sacrifice your personal health, happiness or relationships,
- Prioritize the things that are true priorities for YOU (and stop feeling as if you’re always drinking from a fire hose because you’re trying to do it all), and/or
- Have more space and time for your thoughts,
then you want work life balance.
10 Reasons Why Work Life Balance Is Important
Not only is having a healthy work life balance good for your health, it’s also good for your relationships and your productivity levels.
That means that your family, friends, and even your employer will all benefit from your ability to effectively balance your career with your personal life.
Let’s get into the details by looking at the top 10 reasons why work life balance is so important.
Reason #1: Work Life Balance Means Less Stress
Two of the biggest culprits for workplace stress comes from:
- Having a heavy workload, and
- Feeling like there’s no real control over the work/life juggling act.
The Problem With a Heavy Workload
For obvious reasons, a big workload is stressful. The biggest problem is that most people think they have no choice.
But here’s the thing: you do have a choice. It’s important to set proper boundaries, even at work. You’re only one person and you can only work so much. Being stretched too thin isn’t going to help you or your employer.
That means being honest about whether you can (or can’t) take on a new project or help a colleague. And it also means prioritizing self-care when things are busier.
Just be certain that a busy season is just that: a short-term season where you’re busier (not an eternity).
[Recommended Reading: How To Say No Without Feeling Guilt (Step-By-Step Instructions)]
Why Work Life Balance Equals Less Stress
Remember that work life balance is ultimately created through your choices. And that means proper prioritization and simplification. Here’s what that looks like:
- Saying no to things that aren’t priorities.
- Delegating as much as can be delegated.
- Doing the things that are most important to you, while putting non-priorities off (or even letting go of them).
- Prioritizing self-care and stress management.
All of these things relieve stress and anxiety. The end result is a more manageable workload, more time doing what’s most important to you, and less stress and anxiety.
[Related: Have trouble letting go? Read How to Relax Without Guilt (Even if You’re an Overachiever)].
Reason #2: Work Life Balance Will Improve Your Mental Health
One of the biggest reasons why work life balance is important relates to your mental health. When you feel balanced you’re more capable of dealing with negative emotions and thoughts.
The human brain isn’t meant to feel stressed-out and under pressure all the time.
Creating more balance in your life gives you breathing space to think, which allows your subconscious thoughts to bubble up to the surface.
That will help you to better understand your feelings, know your thoughts, and actually deal with them (instead of allowing them to stay pent up within, ready to blow up at the most inopportune moment).
To start you on your stress relief and mental health journey, download 5-Minute Stress Solutions for mindset and stress management strategies for less stress, increased resilience and emotional control. You can get your free copy here:
Reason #3: Work Life Balance Means Better Physical Health
Part of creating balance for yourself includes taking care of your physical health. And yes, that includes things like:
- Eating healthy meals,
- Reducing sugar and alcohol intake,
- Healthy sleep habits,
- Regular exercise.
But there’s actually more to it than that. How you live and work is making things much worse for your body (it’s actually a societal problem, not a personal thing).
The Problem With Having a Busy, Demanding Career
If you’re like most professionals, then you’re chained to a desk most of the day and glued to your couch at night because of how exhausted and stressed you are (while drinking a glass or two of wine to take the edge off). Am I right?
That means that you’re rarely moving, often sitting and almost never outside. And you’re coping by using alcohol (which upon occasion isn’t a big deal but isn’t a healthy way to cope with stress).
The simple fact is that human beings aren’t meant to sit so much. Nor are they meant to be cooped up indoors. You’re meant to stand, move and get outdoors!
That means that achieving balance includes more movement and outdoor activity. Physical activity (especially when you get your heart rate up) and spending time outdoors generates endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel more positive and good about yourself.
Doing this will help you sleep better, give you more energy, and will give you a more positive outlook.
Reason #4: A Balanced Lifestyle Enhances Your Ability to Be Present
One of the biggest complaints I hear from prospective and new clients is the inability to be present (both at home and at work). What that looks like is this:
- Your mind feels like it’s always “on”, racing and cluttered with thoughts that can sometimes be difficult to decipher.
- Always thinking about work when with family and friends (which then leads you to constantly check email).
- Worrying about what’s going on in your personal life when trying to work (such as your overflowing laundry, the fight you had with your spouse that morning or how guilty you feel about not making it to your child’s piano recital the other night).
The good news is that your brain can be trained to be more present and calm through consistent practice of specific mindfulness practices. Doing that is part of how you create a balanced life.
How Mindfulness Creates Internal Balance
Mindful awareness will help you to be:
- more attuned to people’s emotions and feelings;
- better at responding to people intuitively (which will positively affect your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and even clients);
- aware of the good around you (and not just focused on the bad);
Notice that balance isn’t just about being more productive and a good at time management (which is a typical go-to for most work life balance articles).
Instead, work life balance is more about feeling calm, confident and in control of your life.
[Recommended Reading: For more about mindfulness and how to use it to increase your work life balance, read How to Decrease Stress And Anxiety Through Mindfulness To Be A Better Leader].
Reason #5: Work Life Balance Improves Your Relationships
Working too much means less time with those you love. But it also means less quality time with them too. It’s pretty difficult to be present and give others your full attention when exhausted and overwhelmed.
A balanced lifestyle means more time with family and friends that’s high-quality. Imagine what that will do for your relationships. Additionally, think about how that will affect your outlook (both generally and within your career).
There’s a ripple effect that will help you be more positive about your life, your career and even your work relationships.
Why Connection Is Key to Your Happiness
Connecting with and relating to people isn’t happening enough these days. People are too busy (and allowing technology to get in the way of real human connection).
Having a balanced lifestyle means developing deep connections with other people (and not just family, but colleagues and friends too). You’ll derive more purpose from these connections. And you’ll also feel more connected to your work (in a meaningful way).
Reason #6: A Balanced Lifestyle Results In More Engagement At Work
When employees are happy and feel motivated by their job, they’re more likely to be loyal and engaged. Being engaged is about feeling committed to something so that you do your best. Engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work.
But (according to Gallup) only about 34% of U.S. workers are engaged.
Many employers falsely believe that engagement is created through pressure or incentives. Although this might work (a little) in the short-term, it ultimately creates stress, anxiety, and resentment. That’s not exactly a recipe for long-term engagement or morale.
A less stressed, mentally and physically healthy employee who feels connected to co-workers is more likely to be motivated to work harder. And that increased motivation means that you’re going to perform at a higher level and be more engaged.
Even better is that increased engagement results in better workplace morale, more accountability and better communication.
Reason #7: Work Life Balance Increases Creative Thinking
I mentioned this before, but it bears saying again: your brain needs space to think. It’s not meant to be constantly bombarded by people, social media, email, phone calls, and texts.
And you NEED space for clear, creative thinking.
Ever wrack your brain on a problem and feel stuck because no answer comes? Yet an answer magically appears (and you can’t believe you didn’t see it sooner) quickly after you let go of worrying about it? The same things happens when you have an unhealthy work life balance.
When you’re stressed, overwhelmed and/or anxious, you have no capacity to think creatively. But with balance comes clear, creative thinking. And that means better work product too!
[For help with creating space to think, be sure to download 5-minute stress solutions. It includes several strategies to help you retrain your mind to be more present and focused.]
Reason #8: Balance Makes You More Productive
Everyone wants to be more productive. In fact, most of my clients cite this as something they initially want more of out of our coaching together.
Contrary to what many believe, there’s only so much benefit that you’ll get from implementing a new time management strategy or productivity hack. Once you learn how to utilize the basic formulas for better productivity and time management, new strategies won’t help much.
The thing that WILL make you more productive is a better work life balance. Think about it: you’ll feel better (both physically and mentally), be more focused and present, and will be able to think more calmly, clearly, and creatively. Plus, you’ll be more motivated to work hard.
What that means is that you’re more likely to perform at a higher level because of your balanced lifestyle. If that’s not a formula for productivity, then I don’t know what is.
#9: With Balance Comes More Fulfillment and Happiness
One of the big reasons why work life balance is important (even imperative) is for your own happiness and fulfillment. Balance is about feeling good about yourself and being in control of your life and career path.
Think about the reasons listed above about why work life balance is important. Most (if not all) of them will make you feel more positive, happy and fulfilled.
For more about how to be happier and more fulfilled (and what happiness really is), read How to Redefine Yourself Into Happiness.
Reason #10: Work Life Balance Brings Higher Levels of Success
If career success is important to you (and you believe that balance is synonymous with settling and anathema to success), then I have good news because. . . Work life balance will make you more (not less) successful.
There’s a misconception that balance doesn’t work for those who want to be successful. But that’s just not true (and it’s based on a common misconception that work life balance is about settling for less). Work life balance is about creating a life of success on YOUR TERMS by:
- prioritizing and focusing on what’s most important to you;
- ensuring your own well-being (thereby enabling you to serve others to the best of your ability); and
- being in control of your life.
Isn’t that what true success is? Besides, a balanced lifestyle makes you more well-rounded, a more creative thinker and more productive. And that means that you’ll have more ability for success in both your personal and professional life.
Your Next Steps for Creating a Balanced Life
All the reasons why work life balance is important are clues to what balance really is (hint: it’s not about time or juggling two sides of an imaginary scale). And they’re also guideposts for how to start creating a healthy work life balance for yourself.
To start creating a more balanced lifestyle, start by reading the following articles:
- Redefine Your Work Life Balance Definition (To Be Happily Successful)
- How to Achieve Work Life Balance (Blueprint For Busy Professionals)
And then start creating your own balanced lifestyle by downloading 5-Minute Stress Solutions, where you’ll learn how to (1) drastically reduce stress levels (and keep them low), (2) develop a resilient, present mind and (3) increase emotional control. Download your free guide here: