Trapped On The Treadmill: Work-Life Balance


 Trapped On The Treadmill: Work-Life Balance

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the phrase "work-life balance"? Well, probably work, with life being more like a distant second.

But there is no such thing as a perfect work-life mix — every career has its own unique set of balancing act questions. Here are some tips on how to have a successful and fulfilling career while maintaining healthy and happy relationships.

1) Don't be afraid to rest! If something gets in your way that makes it difficult for you to keep up your work load (like an unexpected illness), don't be afraid to take a break from your job for awhile. Just make sure that when you return, it's with new ideas and refreshed motivation.

2) Set boundaries! This is very important in any work environment, but especially in one that requires long hours of unproductive time spent in front of a computer. If you know your space and time are limited, you'll find yourself feeling better about the time you put into your job.

3) Don't get caught up in office politics! This seems like more of a "life" problem than a work one, but when you get wrapped up with office drama it can eat away at other aspects of your life. Keep your head down, stay positive and don't participate in gossip — all that will do is hurt your career and take away time from the things that matter most to you.

4) Don't stress about your work! If you can, try to implement strategies that eliminate all the things that stress you out about your job. For example, if you spend all day staring at one computer screen — try switching between different ones every few minutes or turning off the lights, getting away from the screen for awhile. If you're constantly worried about deadlines, maybe break them up into smaller chunks; take care of non-negotiable items first in order to free up time for the things that are not so important. Stop worrying and start enjoying yourself.

5) Work-life balance can be a mindset. One thing that can help is to not let the thought of having a perfect work-life mix affect your mood, or how you treat your coworkers. Not everyone can have it, but the lack of balance doesn't put you at a disadvantage — after all, there is no standard for life-balance.

6) Have fun! Nothing sucks the life out of everything as much as stress and irritation from your job. Even if all you're doing is typing on a keyboard, let yourself enjoy what you're doing every once in awhile.

7) Make time for your family and friends! They're the people in your life, who care about you and will be there for you when it feels like the whole world is against you. Take time to see them, even if it doesn't always work out.

8) Don't make too many sacrifices! This may contradict what we've already said, but there is a difference between making sacrifices and doing things that will ultimately have a negative impact on your future. It's okay to cut back on ambitious long-term goals in order to provide yourself with some stability — but don't let go of anything that might give you enjoyment down the road or cause positive changes in your life down the road.

9) If you think about work too much, you'll start to resent it for taking over so much of your life. Put that head in the sand and focus on the things that really matter — your health, relationships and interests. Don't let work consume your life, but don't forget about it either!

10) Don't take anything personally! You're not going to be appreciated 100% of the time, or even at all. All of us have our flaws and annoyances — try not to take this personally if someone doesn't like what you do, so when they do like it they can make a big impact on your career.

11) Make time to work out! Physical activity has a huge impact on both your energy and your stress level. Exercise will give you energy and improve your mood, which can help make working more enjoyable. Not only that, exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress — some research has even shown that exercise may actually prevent heart problems.

12) Do something you love! It's okay to have a job or career that isn't going to be the most innovative or cutting-edge thing that ever happened — it's about finding something you're genuinely interested in and doing it well. Think about what kind of work you'd love to do, and then make the time to do it.

13) Think about your future. No matter how much you hate your job, the truth is that it'll probably be important at some point in your life. Consider this before making any drastic changes — it can have a big profound effect on what happens when you get into a bad situation later!

14) If you find yourself hating your life or constantly arguing with people, consider looking for professional help. A psychologist or psychiatrist can help you to identify the source of the problem, and then find the most efficient way of getting out of it.

15) Be honest! If you're not happy at your job, be honest with your employer and believe in yourself. Whether you have a plan to move on or not, no one wants to hire a miserable employee who won't be a good fit for the company.

16) Let people know when you're sick! This may sound counter-intuitive, but some people are so used to working all hours of the day that they forget how important it is to take care of themselves. People don't like having to call off for medical emergencies or take the day off because of a cold — and if you don't let them know in advance, they will likely assume that you're faking it.

17) Let people know when you want to take a break! Are you always answering questions on email, taking calls and working all hours of the day? Don't do that — it's not fair to other people and will affect your work environment. Let people know personally when there is a situation that requires some time away from your job.

18) If you're considering changing jobs, remember that it's not really about what job you have now. Most people don't stay in the same job for all their lives — you're going to have to look at the bigger picture of your career and decide if it's a good fit for you.

19) If you're sick at work, go home and rest. You do not have to stay in work if you are not feeling well, so don't continue doing anything that will make it harder for yourself to get better. Take some time off from work, or take a day or two off — it's okay to take an extended break while getting better.


Stress is a part of life — whether you like it or not. Workplace stress can be an inconvenience in your life, but if you think about it, there are ways to deal with it. You can learn how to recognize the source of your stress, manage what you can and get help when you need it — and hopefully, this will make working easier and more enjoyable.

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