Before you give up on your work life balance dream, get clear around the reasons why work life balance is important. Because understanding why work life balance is important isn’t just nice to know, but necessary for creating a balanced life.
And the need for work life balance is more important than ever. Especially given the unpredictable, often under-pressure workplace environment (and – in the age of COVID – having to juggle working from home with teaching your kids).
Today we’re covering:
- Why understanding the importance of work life balance is necessary for creating it, and
- 10 reasons why work life balance is important (even imperative).
And before moving any further, be sure to get your copy of 5-Minute Stress Solutions, a free resource with 8 proven strategies for de-stressing and creating a calm, confident and healthy mentality (that can be done in 5 minutes or less). It’s your starting point for creating a more balanced life.
Table of Contents
Understanding What Work Life Balance Really Is
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
When thinking about what work life balance means, most of us envision equalizing a see-saw (with work on one side and the rest of your life on the other side). And we think that we’re supposed to equalize both sides, focusing on the amount of time spent on each side of the see-saw.
That’s why so many so-called solutions revolve around managing your time, adopting productivity hacks (to be more productive with your time) and creating a more flexible work schedule (so that you can spend more time at home – even if working).
There’s just one problem. . . time isn’t the real problem (and you can’t balance your life in the way that the see-saw image suggests). This is why there are so many work life balance seekers that never manage to find it.
The good news is that you can stop obsessing over time and can banish the see-saw image once and for all.
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 (but without sacrificing your personal healthy or happiness for it),
- Having a positive impact on your kids’ lives,
- Being present in the moment (with actual space to think),
- Prioritizing what’s important to you (including self-care) without guilt, shame or apology,
- Having strong boundaries that you feel good about enforcing, and
- Letting go of trying to do/have it all.
That means that work life balance is really about feeling content. . . in who you are and the decisions that you’re making. It begins with your mindset. And it’s not something that you find. You instead create your own balance.
I’ve written extensively about how to rethink and redefine work life balance in this way – and recommend that you read about how to Redefine Your Work Life Balance Definition (To Be Happily Successful) here.
The Key to Creating Work Life Balance (Is In Understanding Why Work Life Balance Is Important)
Since work life balance is created (not found), it’s imperative to understand the reasons why work life balance is important.
That’s because it’s difficult to create something that you don’t understand. Moreover, creating work life balance is about making tough choices. To create it, you’ll need to:
- Prioritize what’s truly important (and drop the rest),
- Take control over your career path, and
- Simplify your life.
All of these require courage, mental strength and resilience (as they’re not easy things to do). In order to make these tough choices, you’ll want clarity around WHY. It’s what will inspire you to act with courage.
[Recommended Reading: Why Mindset Is Everything: The Key to Success & Happiness].
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.
I’ve found 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, they’re talking about the same thing.
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 go through the top 10 reasons why work life balance is important.
Reason #1: Work Life Balance Means Less Stress
The biggest problem is that most people think they have no choice. But that’s not really true.
Remember that work life balance is ultimately created through your choices. That’s also what’s causing much of your stress. By agreeing to take on more work when you don’t have the capacity or not delegating work that could be delegated, you’re creating more stress for yourself.
Here are the choices that you could start making for yourself to relieve a lot of your stress and anxiety:
- Saying no to things that aren’t priorities.
- Delegating as much as can be delegated.
- Choosing to do things that are priorities (and letting go of non-priorities).
- Prioritizing your own wellbeing.
The end result is a more manageable workload and more time doing the things that are important to you. That’s going to greatly decrease your stress and anxiety levels.
A Note About Boundaries
Making tough choices requires you to create strong 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.
I know that having boundaries can sometimes feel scary (especially since enforcing them means saying no to people). But it can be done (without feeling badly about it). Saying no kindly (without guilt) is a skill that can be developed.
[Recommended Reading: How To Say No Without Feeling Guilt (Step-By-Step Instructions)]
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).
As a side note: 5-Minute Stress Solutions isn’t just about stress relief, but about helping you create a more resilient mind while better understanding (and processing) your thoughts and emotions. It’s a great way to start taking control of your mentality so that you can create a more balanced life. Download your 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);
[Recommended Reading: 20 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress Naturally and Quickly (and Keep It Low)].
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 Increases 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, which includes 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 an outcome that they want from coaching.
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: