work life balance

Finding Harmony: The Key to a Successful Work-Life Balance!

When I first entered the workforce I wasn’t aware that work-life balance was a thing. Of course, I assumed that work wasn’t meant to be your whole world, but it was never explicitly stated. For some, it may go without saying but for me, work and university were always top of my priority list. Health, social life, downtime? All of that could wait. First I needed to get my grades and make that money, then I’d be happy. Right?

The sad reality is that most workplaces aren’t set up to accommodate the personal lives of their workforce. Many companies expect employees to go above and beyond without recognition, compensation or any regard for personal health and wellness. And while many are now providing wellness programmes, adhering to working time directives, grievances etc, they are few and far between.

But let’s start at the beginning. What does work-life balance mean? How do you know if you have a healthy one? And if you’re struggling, how can you change that?

What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance refers to how we prioritise our professional lives with our personal lives. It’s a state where you can manage your work responsibilities while still finding time for personal pursuits, such as hobbies, relationships, and other interests. While the very term suggests a ‘balance’ between the two, it’s not about dividing your time equally between work and your personal life. It’s about prioritising your time, energy, and resources to create a meaningful balance, enabling you to enjoy both areas.

In an ideal world, work should stay at work, and not spill over into our free time. We should be able to enjoy our lives without the constant input from our workplace, and correspondence or interference should be limited to the hours we work. However, in today’s fast paced world it can be challenging to draw the line between the two.

A key issue when it comes to work-life balance is where the responsibility lies. Is it on the employee to manage their own balance, or should employers take some (if not all) of the responsibility? Employers, in my opinion, have a duty of care to the employee to ensure that work is kept within workplace working hours, or the hours of that individual’s shift. Likewise, employees have a responsibility to themselves to manage their own health in regard to responding to emails outside working hours, or working additional hours not required or scheduled.

Why is it important?

Mental stress and burnout have been identified as significant economic and public health concerns, caused by the perceived need for employees to do more in less time, and for less reward. This results in a large portion of our work coming home to haunt us, both mentally and physically. If we’re unable to switch off, even in the comfort of our own living room, then we never get the opportunity to decompress. Equally, the hours we work compared to the hours we have free is a common problem. Specifically if those hours of work are unpaid, or uncompensated by the company in some way. In my humble opinion, this includes any ‘mandatory training’ companies may require, but are not willing to pay for.

Apart from the moral responsibility of encouraging a healthy work-life balance, stressed and overworked employees are less productive, unhappy and more likely to make potentially dangerous errors.

As a former health and safety officer, I dedicated my university dissertation to work-life balance and how it can impact the health, safety and welfare of shift workers. I discovered during my lengthy research that some of the world’s most troubling disasters (Chernoybal being one) have been linked to overworked staff members. Yes, other errors occurred, but human error played a huge part!  And human error can occur due to a lapse in judgement often caused by irregular shift patterns, workplace pressures, and employee exhaustion.

What will having a positive work-life balance give me?

Reduces stress.

It goes without saying that a good work-life balance reduces stress and promotes both physical and mental wellbeing. It enables you to take care of yourself and allows you to recharge and relax after a hard day’s work.

Improves productivity.

When you have a good work-life balance, you can focus better on your work. Therefore, allowing you to be more productive. You are more likely to be energised and motivated when you have time for your personal endeavours, which inturn helps you be more effective at work. Seems simple, doesn’t it!?

Improves personal relationships.

If we have more time and energy to spend with the ones we love, we have more effort and love to give. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ why a healthy work-life balance improves our interpersonal relationships. And some might argue that it improves our professional relationships too. If we’re no longer overworked, working relationships may become less strained, leading to a healthier and happier working environment.

Space for personal growth.

Being able to pursue our own personal interests, hobbies and goals leads to more personal growth and fulfilment.

What are the signs of a poor work-life balance?

When our balance is off, a range of problems can ensue including the aforementioned stress, poor physical health and broken interpersonal relationships. While the signs of a poor work-life balance may appear obvious at first, all may not be as it seems.

  • Long working hours.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Poor physical health.
  • Reduced productivity.
  • You have no time for family or friends.
  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • No time for hobbies and interests.
  • You have difficulty unplugging.
  • No time for friends and family.
  • There’s no room for self-care!
  • You’re feeling perpetually unhappy and unfulfilled.

Read more about these over on Nyxie’s Nook!

How can you repair your poor work-life balance?

Set clear priorities.

The first step to repairing your work-life balance is to identify your priorities. Make a list of your professional and personal goals. From there, determine which ones are the most important for you. Focus the majority of your energy on achieving these goals and allocate your time accordingly.

Set and stick to boundaries.

Learn and utilise the word NO. It can be challenging to say no to work-related tasks, but sometimes it’s necessary to prioritise your personal life. If you feel overwhelmed with work, learn to say no to extra projects, meetings, or events that will take up too much of your time.

Create a schedule.

Once you’ve identified your priorities, create a schedule that allows you to balance work and personal life. Make sure you include time for your friends, family and any hobbies or interests you might have. Plan your working hours around your personal time, rather than the other way round. After all, we shouldn’t live to work, we should work to pay for the things we enjoy. (After the essentials of course).

Take breaks.

It’s essential (but not always easy) to take breaks throughout the day to recharge your internal battery. Whether it’s a five-minute walk, a coffee break, or a quick stretch or yoga pose, frequent breaks help us to stay focused and energised. They can also help us realign our focus and take a well-deserved breather.


Technology is a wonderful thing, but it’s also all consuming. It enables us to stay connected twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. And while for some this is amazing, for others it means you’re always available to work. Or so your boss may believe! Turn off your phone and computer on your personal time to avoid distractions and to focus on those that matter most.

Delegate where possible.

Delegate tasks to others when you can. This allows you to focus on different, more pressing tasks and, in the long term, allows for more personal activities. Don’t be afraid to delegate work-related tasks to other colleagues, and outsourcing personal tasks to others. For example, get help with chores or consider hiring someone to take on the essentials such as house keeping and child care.


To conclude, maintaining a good work-life balance is essential for leading a healthy and fulfilled life. If you’re experiencing any of the signs mentioned above, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities and make changes to achieve a better balance. Achieving balance isn’t always fixed by working less, however. But rather, it’s sometimes  about working smarter and making time for the things that matter the most in life.

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