“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” — Dolly Parton
Creating a healthy balance between work and life is hard to do, especially as more work is being done from home and the classic 9-5 schedule seems less relevant. This increase in flexibility unfortunately hasn’t meant much reduction in stress, and the dilemma of how to maintain some sort of equilibrium between the two tends to be an ongoing challenge.
Take it from the world’s top CEOS, writers, and the researchers: taking time for yourself is a necessity. All of the quotes included here boil down to one common anecdotal theme you’ve probably heard: you can’t pour from an empty cup.
What is a work-life balance? You probably hear this term and think that it means equal parts work and equal parts life outside of work. But as work culture and flexibility evolve, this definition should, too.
Alan Knoll, a corporate wellness expert, writes that this is particularly important for employers and managers to remember, because offering a meaningful work-life balance culture can retain good employees and improve work productivity.
“Flexible leaders can update or reinvent their workplace culture to try something new if employees report poor work-life balance,” he said in a Forbes article. “While maximizing employee productivity will always remain a constant goal, ensuring employees have the time they desire away from the office and enjoy their time spent in the office is the best way to retain talented employees and make them lifers, regardless of perceived generational differences.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean equal time spent outside of work, because maybe you really love your career and have a passion for the work. A work-life balance, whether you’re a manager, a traditional employee or living the gig economy lifestyle, should be about taking the necessary time to rejuvenate, rest and return to work feeling full.
Tips for managing your work-life balance
- Make socializing a priority: Yes, it's harder to do these days, but you’ll thank yourself for it later. A little bit of time away from your work - whether it's going for a walk with a friend or a good old fashioned phone call - can have big, positive impacts on your professional life.
- Schedule it: Achieving the "life" part of the work-life balance can be challenging, but if you schedule it, you’re probably more likely to commit and follow through. Whether it’s making time for a workout or Sunday morning brunch, make sure you put it in your Ink+Volt Goal Planner.
- Audit your time: Why does work tend to take up so much of your time? The only way to find out is to dive in. Try a time management matrix system to test whether you’re prioritizing the right tasks.
- Set goals: Setting goals in our personal life — like checking in with a friend once a week or attending a fitness class a few times per week — can be just as important as professional goals, and it drives us to keep that balance, too.
- Get creative: Keeping a balance isn’t always easy, but look for ways you can compromise. It’ll keep you sane and feeling less guilt about choosing work over personal commitments or vice versa. A walk with a close friend can also serve as a brainstorming session for work. You never know what new idea a conversation with an old friend will spark.
- Be honest: How much are you really capable of? Know when you’ve hit your limit (with work and with personal commitments).Trying to convince yourself you can squeeze in a couple more hours of work when you know you're already spent means you're unnecessarily depriving yourself of time spent doing something restorative or fun. Take a break when you need it. Be honest about what you need.
Quotes to inspire your work-life balance
- “Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers. Love those close to you: Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationship is.” ―Ev Williams, co-founder of Medium and Twitter
- “Examples of balance can be found everywhere, even in those places where you least expect them.” — Dr. Patrizia Collard, “The Mindfulness Bible”
- “Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” ―Former First Lady Michelle Obama
- “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” — Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post
- "It's not about balance, it's about designing a work-home-family life that makes you feel good. A life you don't need a vacation from." — Jacqueline Fisch, “Unfussy Mom”
- “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” — Oprah Winfrey
- "A good method of juggling different tasks is to always balance the short and long term tasks." — Gretchen Pilar, “Overcoming Laziness”
- “The hardest thing to find in life is balance - especially, the more success you have, the more you look to the other side of the gate.” — Celine Dion
- “A career is wonderful but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” — Marilyn Monroe
- “Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.” — Gustave Flaubert, Writer
- “The hardest thing to find in life is balance. Especially, the more success you have, the more you look to the other side of the gate.” — Tom Hanks
- “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” — Charles Buxton, Writer, and politician
What are your tips for a work-life balance? We love to hear new suggestions about how to improve our lives in and out of the office. Share it with us on Instagram at @inkandvolt.