If you want to be successful then you are going to need to work hard, there is no question about it. You will need to work harder, smarter, faster, better or more efficiently than your rivals or a combination of these. That being said, taking some time out to live and enjoy your personal life can actually add value to your work life too.
Here are 7 benefits to having a healthy work-life balance:
1. Improve health and well-being
There is a fine line between working hard and overworking yourself. Once you breach this line the negatives start to outweigh the positives, and the power of the positives start diminishing.
Hard work is necessary for you to be successful, but not at the expense of your health and well-being. You are no good to anyone (including yourself) if you do not have a healthy body and mind. All the money, success and power in the world will might not be able to cure any irreparable damage you do to yourself along the way.
It’s crucial to understand when your health and well-being is being affected by your work and do something about it. If you are experiencing a temporary increase in workload then you may be able to power through without too much damage, but if it looks like an ongoing or permanent situation then it might be time to make a change.
How to Tell if Your Work is Affecting Your Health and Well-Being
The first step to making a change is identifying that there is an issue. Here are a few signs that your work may be affecting your well-being:
- Your sleep is affected
- Your energy levels have dropped
- Your relationships are suffering
- You start suffering from back and neck ache
- Increased alcohol intake is used to help you relax
- You feel more distracted or forgetful
- Unintentional weigh loss or weight gain
- A weakened immune system
- Increased or new gastrointestinal problems
- Feelings of anxiety or depression
This list of symptoms is clearly not exclusive to work related issues, but if your overworked schedule coincides with the start of some of these symptoms then consider that there may be a link.
2. Increase Productivity
If you are overworked, then your productivity is going to suffer. You may be able to get away with this sometimes without too much damage, but there are also times when it just becomes counter-productive to continue.
Imagine writing a blog post for example when your fuel tank is empty, and your brain is suffering as a result. You might continue to increase the word count, but what you are writing is likely start to less value or even make less sense than if you were full of energy and drive. You might even start waffling, and droning on, and getting more boring, and getting more tedious, and going on, and on, ok time for me to take a break.
Learn to recognize when your productivity may have started to drop and do something about it. Try taking a break and coming back to your work when you feel that your energy and morale are replenished. This might mean coming back to it the next morning.
When you re-start, recap over your work and check for mistakes – if you start spotting some then your decision to take a break will be instantly justified. Even if there are no mistakes, you are much more likely to be more productive now that you are in a better frame of mind.
For more information on how resting can boost your productivity, take a look at this resource.
3. Reduce Stress
Overworking will inevitably lead to increased levels of stress. The best way to overcome the stress in this situation is, you guessed it, to realign your work-life imbalance.
Stress is our body’s reaction to change that requires an adjustment or response. It’s that emotional or physical tension you feel, usually brought about by an unwanted event or thoughts that make you feel angry, scared, nervous, embarrassed or frustrated.
Unless you consign yourself to living in a Monastery, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to avoid your body reacting with stress from time to time, but you can learn to recognize when it is happening and do something about it.
Stress doesn’t need to be something that you have to tolerate indefinitely in order to be successful. Here are a few tips to help you reduce work-related stress:
- Schedule your day effectively so you can achieve what you need without overworking. A useful tool to help you manage your day more effectively is Trello.
- Put yourself in an environment with limited distractions
- Get enough sleep. Here is a good resource to refresh you memory on the benefits of sleep.
- Eat well to maximize your energy
- When you feel frustrated or angry, take long, deep breaths for a few minutes before you react. For breathing exercise to manage stress follow this link.
- Avoid conflict when it is not necessary.
- Listen to music that makes you feel good and productive.
- Meditate. You can find more on this on our post on Warrior Meditation Techniques
No matter what your line of work, we all need to exercise creativity at times to help us along the way. This may be literal creativity if you are a designer or artist, or creativity to overcome a business challenge or new way of working to stand out from the competition.
Whatever the specific requirements for creativity, you are much more likely to execute effectively with a clear and positive mind. Allow your brain the space and opportunity to help you find the solutions you need. Don’t act out of desperation, anger or frustration. This rarely ends well.
Here are some researched suggestions to help you boost your creativity when you need it:
- Do something you are passionate about.
- Find inspiration from everything. This is a popular video about finding inspiration.
- Get sufficient rest. Your brain needs space to be creative. Here is an interesting Q&A on why a rested brain is more creative.
- Use the Six Thinking Hats Technique.
- Change your surroundings. Sometimes fresh surroundings are all you need to give you rejuvenated drive and creativity.
5. Stronger social network and less FOMO
If you can build in more breaks for yourself from work, especially when you close off a project or before you start a new one, then you free up more time for social interaction. No need to continue suffering from FOMO.
The age old saying ‘it’s who you know, not what you know’ still carries some weight in the modern world so you need to take advantage.
Books like ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ champion the benefits and methods of increasing your network of friends and acquaintances. Here are some tips to help you win people over and effectively increase your network:
- Make sure to listen. There is a saying in the world of sales that you have 2 ears and 1 mouth so try to listen twice as much as you talk. You can find a quick and useful video by Simon Sinek here that suggests there are benefits to being the last person to speak, not the first.
- Smile – it might sound simple, but it really is more important and powerful than most people appreciate
- Incorporate the other person’s interests into your conversations. Make them feel engaged and important and do it sincerely.
- Remember people’s names. There is nothing more frustrating than hearing your name said wrong or incorrectly.
- Consider things from the other person’s point of view. Accept that you don’t know everything and if you stay open minded you might learn valuable information.
- Be respectful of the ideas and motivations of others, even if they conflict with your own.
- Adopt an encouraging and optimistic attitude. People gravitate much easier to positive people.
- Add value to the other person before you seek some in return. The law of reciprocity is a powerful tool. The theory is that if you do something nice or valuable for another person they will feel a psychological urge to return the favor, sometimes with greater weight than what you did for them in the first place. Brian Tracy is a good resource for you to explore this in more detail.
6. Boost Motivation
Work just feels so much more like something you want to do when you are in the right frame of mind and you have taken some time to remind yourself what it’s like to have fun.
Not all of us are lucky enough for our work to also be our passion. For many it is a source of income to provide for ourselves and our families. You appreciate your work and income more when you allow some time to enjoy it. Make the time.
Reward yourself for progress, keep doing the activities you love and limit the number of sacrifices you make so that you don’t break the tipping point from prioritization to self-destruction. You need to feel motivated in order to be efficient and produce your best work. Remind yourself of this regularly and take the appropriate course of action.
For a more in depth look at suggested steps for success, check out our post on 10 steps for success.
7. Healthy Family Life
There can be no denying that family is a crucial aspect of a person’s wellbeing and happiness throughout life. We all have different relationships with out families, but the importance of having strong and healthy relationships with the right people is universal.
Don’t let your family life suffer too much for the sake of your work. Your success will always feel limited without the right people to share it with.
To back up our argument on the importance of family, here are some benefits you may not know about having a healthy family life:
- Research consistently shows that people who grow up living with married parents (especially married biological parents) experience a stronger level of well-being.
- Family help you to feel a belonging to something which is a key human need. Look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for an established theory of human motivation.
- A sound family environment can help reduce crime.
- A healthy family life can actually help you to live longer. Look at this study for evidence.
- There is evidence to suggest that families who eat together have healthier diets.
- A solid family structure can help boost children’s education
We hope you have found these 7 benefits of a work-life balance useful and as always please do share your comments, questions and opinions.