Finding a work-life balance is a hot topic. Some people believe that work-life balance is impossible to achieve because if you want to be successful and achieve outstanding results in your work, you need to sacrifice leisure and have less time to play.
Being self-employed myself, I always have the thoughts of whether I should choose to work or choose to enjoy.
And because my working time is flexible, it makes me feel guilty when others are working while I’m playing.
As much as I wanted to be successful and build a profitable business, I also want to spend time to play because I only live once. I want to have time to build relationships with the people I love, to play a little bit of computer games, and to enjoy life.
And so, I decided to write about this topic. And in this article, I’m going to clear off a little myth regarding this work-life balance ideology.
Here’s what I believe: Work-life balance is important, and if you are committed to making the best of it, you can have the balance you want.
Of course, there will be times when you are going to be out of balance, like when you’re putting in more time to work on an important project or to pursue an important goal, but on average, you should aim to achieve work-life balance.
In order to achieve work-life balance, there are 2 things you have to understand:
1) Your belief about work-life balance is important
You see, if you think that work-life balance is something impossible to attain, then so it will be true to you. Remember Henry Ford’s famous quote? “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
Whether you think work-life balance is possible, you’re right. If you believe that work-life balance is important and you should strive to achieve as much balance as possible, then most likely, you’ll find the answer.
However, if you believe that in work-life balance is impossible to achieve because you want to work hard to achieve greater success in life, then you’re right too.
It depends on what you believe. And my opinion is that I believe that work-life balance is important and anyone who wants to achieve greater success in life should try their best to achieve it.
I don’t think that you should sacrifice all of your play in order to achieve the success you want.
While it is true that there are some extraordinary people choose to sacrifice their sleep for work, those are bad examples. You want to follow the good examples where they succeed in every area of their lives.
2) Work-life balance doesn’t need to always equate to time
The second thing you have to understand is that work-life balance doesn’t always need to always associate with the amount of time spend.
When we say work-life balance, it doesn’t mean that if you spend 8 hours working, then you should spend 8 hours playing. No, it doesn’t work this way.
Work-life balance has nothing to do with time. It is about how effective you are and how you feel after you have done something.
For instance, if you want to build an intimate relationship with your significant other, it doesn’t mean that you should all of your time with him or her. It is the feelings that count.
At work, you can spend 16 hours working at a task. But if you’re ineffective and you do the wrong thing, at the end of the day, you may still feel like you’re not getting things done even after you have spent 16 hours.
Do you get it? It is the quality that matters, not how much time you have poured in. It is about creating quality work and manufacturing great feelings.
Hence, work-life balance is not about spending time working or playing. It is about creating quality work and truly enjoying your play. That’s how you achieve work-life balance.
Now that you understand the fundamentals of work-life balance, let’s talk about why it is important to you:
1. Work-life balance increases your productivity
First, work-life balance increases your productivity. We have heard about this over and over again, when you overwork, your productivity decreases, and you may suffer burnout.
I can relate to this a lot. When I’m writing articles in my office, I can only focus for a few hours. After about 3 to 4 hours of chunking out content, I find it difficult to focus and I need to do something else to keep my mind refresh.
I believe it happens to everybody out there. We can only focus on one thing for a certain amount of time. If we continue to force ourselves to concentrate and continue to work, mistakes can happen and our work quality decreases.
This is something we all want to avoid. If you want to produce extraordinary success in what you do, you must focus on the quality, not quantity.
Therefore, aim to achieve work-life balance by taking short and quick breaks throughout the day.
2. Work-life balance maintains both your physical and mental health
We only have so much mental and physical energy. If you dry them up, you will eventually burn out or fall sick. If you don’t believe me, try to work for 24 hours straight without taking a break or sleep. See what will happen to you.
Your mind slows down, and you’ll feel exhausted both mentally and physically. As human beings, we’re conditioned to rest to recharge our mental and physical energies.
If you overwork for the long-term, you will feel stressed and pressured. Too much of work and too many things to think can cause serious mental illness too.
Thus, don’t overlook the importance of work-life balance. Instead of working for long hours, exercise regularly to maintain your overall wellbeing.
3. Work-life balance develops you into a more rounded person
If your life is all about work and nothing else, it makes you a boring person. Imagine what will happen to you if you work in the same industry, for the same company, and at the same position for 30 years.
Do you think your life is going to be interesting? The same can happen if you only keep yourself to stay in your house without going out. You don’t travel outside of your village, town, city, state, or country. Guess what will happen to you?
You don’t expand your views and perspective on other things. In terms of career, it makes you lose other positive dimensions to your employer. You will also become narrow-minded because you don’t expand outside of the things that you know and do.
Having interests outside of work can improve your skills and make you a more rounded person.
4. Polymaths are more successful
Polymaths, or person with a wide range of knowledge, tend to be more successful than others. Some people argue that if you want to achieve extraordinary results in one area, you have to put in extreme focus.
There may be some truth in that statement, but if you look at history, you will discover that extraordinary people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, Aristotle, Charles Darwin, etc., are all polymaths.
- Do you know that Da Vinci was not only famous for his paintings, but he was also a mathematician, an inventor, a sculptor, musician, etc.
- Charles Darwin who was best known for his contribution to the science of evolution was naturalist, geologist, and also a biologist.
- Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists of all time, was a mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author.
As you can see, being a polymath and expanding your knowledge across a wide variety of areas actually help you achieve greater success in life.
Here’s a meaningful quote from Da Vinci:
“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
You have to be open to learning and have interest across other domains. And of course, you have to understand your core domain and connect all of your knowledge to help you create a breakthrough in your core domain.
Just like this T-shape learning shown below. If you want to learn more about how being a polymath can help you achieve greater success in life, read this article.
Before I go beyond the topic of work-life balance, let’s continue on to the final benefits of it. 🙂
5. Variety is the spice of life
Yes, life has more to offer. It doesn’t need to be just work, work, and more work.
Life is colorful and there are plenty of options to choose from. Even your mobile phones come in multiple sizes, shapes, colors, and specs. So, what makes you think you should just work and have no other alternatives in life?
We all have only one life to live, and so you don’t want to waste it by only chasing just one thing. You can excel in many areas like the polymaths we talked about above.
More importantly, you don’t want to get years down the line and only to realize you missed out on something. By then, it is too late to turn back.
Do your best to strive for work-life balance. You don’t have to fill your life with just work. If you do that, your productivity will suffer and it is difficult to achieve the high-performance state.
Instead, choose work-life balance. Believe that it is possible for you to have a fulfilling work life and at the same time, able to enjoy life too. Learn from those extraordinary and successful people who have done it. After all, they have found the way, and you just need to follow.
Do you believe that work-life balance is possible? Do you think that if you live a balanced life, you can still achieve great success at work? Leave your thoughts below.