What Does Work-Life Balance Really Mean? 

When we think of work-life balance the definition seems pretty straightforward: enough time spent at work and doing what we love after work. It is easy to understand what “balance” means, but when we discuss ensuring that we are spending enough time on each part of our lives the definition becomes more complicated. 

Many of us have a difficult time leaving work in the office, and with today’s technology and the growing number of people who can work from home, it is becoming even more of a challenge. Creating a work-life balance is about more than just allotting time to do what you enjoy outside of work; it requires actively prioritizing each side equally. 

Finding a balance between work and home life has many benefits for you and those around you. When you create harmony between your responsibilities, you will be less stressed, making you less likely to become burned out and overwhelmed.

Find a Job that Works for You

The idea that if you “love what you do it won’t feel like work” is a bit unrealistic for most people, however finding a job and work environment that works for you is very achievable, and the first step towards finding more balance. We spend a large portion of our week at work, and when you work in a toxic environment, it is difficult to leave that at the office. 

You may find yourself spending your weekends stressed about how your boss may react to work you did last week or often ranting to your friends and family about how horrible your coworker is. Not only does a toxic job put a strain on your mood and stress levels while you are there, but it also adds stress to other aspects of your life. 

Some employers expect their employees to go above and beyond even outside of their regular work hours, and the pressure to impress or keep your job can create feelings of being trapped even when you are home. When you leave work it is crucial to set the boundary that you will not complete tasks at home. If you find that work emails and being contacted by your coworkers is also cutting into your home life, this is a boundary you should also set. 

Flexibility within your workplace is extremely helpful for creating a balance. Unexpected responsibilities come up all the time, especially if you have children or other family members who depend on you. Working for someone that you feel comfortable asking for help or time off from will take the stress of those home-life responsibilities off of your shoulders.

Make Time, But Don’t Expect it to be Perfect

In an ideal world, we would spend the first half of our day at work and the other half at home or out doing things we enjoy. Unfortunately, this is not usually realistic, so instead of stressing about the exact time you are spending on each part of your life every day, strive for a schedule that works the best for you. 

Work is important and if success in your job is a priority, you may have days where you come home too exhausted from work to do anything else. Try not to view this as a loss for your personal life, and see it as a win for your career. You can balance this by making time later in the week to prioritize your family or interests. 

The key to a healthy work-life balance is not allocating an even amount of time to each, it is being realistic with yourself about where you can most conveniently make time for each. Putting pressure on yourself to have the perfect balance between both is counterproductive, as it will only add stress to your life.  

Having a flexible outlook on your day-to-day is extremely valuable. Some days you may have to forfeit time that you’d rather not to your work or family, but this is just one day. It is important to always assess your balance based on where you are at the moment, whether that be this week or this month.

Set Achievable Goals and Priorities

You may have long-term goals such as five or ten-year plans, but it is helpful to set smaller goals and priorities throughout the month, week, or even the day. Perhaps one month your goal is to make it to all of your child’s sporting events, if you plan ahead to make this work it will be much more achievable throughout the month. 

You can also set smaller goals during the day, such as spending one hour at work without checking your phone or prioritizing the tasks you have that day to ensure you complete everything that is most important. 

Overall, the key to a happy and successful work-life balance is to accept that everything will not always be perfect. However, acknowledging that both aspects of your life deserve to be prioritized will improve your productivity at work and your happiness at home. 


Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She writes for a workers’ compensation lawyer in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.