Before you give up on your work life balance dream, get clear around the reasons why work life balance is important. Because, although effectively balancing your career and personal life is hard, it’s not impossible.
And the need for work life balance is more important than ever. Especially given:
- the current fast-paced, unpredictable and often under-pressure workplace environment, and
- the added strain from having to work more from home (especially since COVID-19 hit) while possibly juggling the needs of your kids.
Understanding the reasons why work life balance is important isn’t just nice to know, but necessary if you want to create it for yourself. If you’re brain doesn’t buy into it, then it’s not going to have the right mindset to do much about it.
Here are 10 reasons why work life balance is important (even imperative) so that you’ll prioritize it once and for all.
And if you’re serious about creating a more balanced life, then be sure to check out 5-Minute Stress Solutions, a free resource that contains 8 proven mindset and stress management strategies for less stress and more emotional control (that can be done in 5 minutes or less).
Table of Contents
You Must Understand Why Work Life Balance Is Important (If You Want to Create 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. That’s why it’s so important to understand why work life balance is important.
[Recommended Reading: 10 Life Tips For How to Excel In Life (2020 Edition)].
Why Work Life Balance Is Important For Everyone
Before we get into all the reasons why work life balance is important, I want to make something clear about who work life balance is for. Because I find that most people think it’s something only (or at least mostly) women want.
But that’s not true. Men care about having balanced lives too.
What I’ve discovered (over the course of my 18-year legal career – where most of my colleagues and clients were men – and also as a career and mindset coach) is that men value balance just as much as women do. 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 thing.
What Work Life Balance Really Means
Before moving into the reasons behind why work life balance is important, let’s make sure that we’re talking about the same thing. Because most people don’t define work life balance properly.
How Work Life Balance Typically Gets Defined
Most people have an image of work life balance being a see-saw, with work on one side and the rest of your life on the other. And the focus is usually on time. Specifically, trying to spend the same amount of time on both sides of the see-saw.
That’s why so many so-called solutions revolve around time and productivity. Learn how to manage your time better, be more productive and work more from home for more balance. Right?
Wrong. Here’s the thing: work life balance has very little to do with time. And you can’t balance your life in the way that the see-saw image suggests.
The good news is that you don’t need to balance two sides of a see-saw into equilibrium because that’s not really what work life balance is.
What Is Work Life Balance?
When digging deep into what a balanced lifestyle would look like, I’ve found that most people end up describing things like:
- Making a bigger impact at work and in the world while also having the time and energy to do things for yourself and with loved ones (i.e., being successful at work without having to sacrifice your health or personal relationships).
- Being present in whatever you do (whether it’s with loved ones, friends or at work).
- Having a positive impact on your kids’ lives.
- Being able to prioritize the things that are true priorities for YOU (while also letting go of trying to do/have it all).
- Having actual time and space for your internal thoughts to come through.
- Being able to devote real time to self-care without feeling guilty about it.
That means that work life balance is really about having purpose and meaning within your life, feeling good about yourself (and your decisions) so that you have peace of mind and feeling prosperous in time, energy and spirit.
For more about what balance really is (and how to start redefining it for yourself), read Redefine Your Work Life Balance Definition (To Be Happily Successful).
10 Reasons Why Work Life Balance Is Important
Now that we’ve gotten behind what work life balance is (and isn’t), and who it’s for, let’s get into the importance of work life balance. Here are 10 reasons why work life balance is 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). [Note: 5-Minute Stress Solutions will help with this, so be sure to download it].
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.
Reason #9: Real Balance Brings Happiness and Fulfillment
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 (both keys to creating happiness for yourself and bringing real meaning to your life).
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.
To learn more about how to create your own happiness, 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 guideposts for how to start creating a healthy work life balance for yourself.
Now it’s time to start creating a more balanced life. And you begin within your own mind by taking control of the things you can (and learning to let go of the rest). Building a less stressed, healthy mindset is the foundation to:
- letting go of non-priorities,
- building strong boundaries,
- prioritizing properly,
- being more present, and
- creating space for your brain to think creatively (and know what brings true meaning).
And to do that, be sure to download 5-Minute Stress Solutions, which contains 8 proven strategies for effective stress relief, management and prevention. Not only will you feel less stressed, but you’ll also be more resilient and emotionally in control.
Download your free guide here: