Tackling the Work-Life Balance

Most of us just simply work too hard and part of the problem is that we may often associate work as something we do to enable one to put food on the table rather than giving us pleasure, satisfaction or enjoyment. Of course, this is not to say that there aren’t people (the more fortunate ones amongst us) who absolutely love their job, jump out of bed every morning with a huge smile on their faces and make their way to work. Well, striving to get somewhere in between would in fact be a good starting point for most of us, I suspect.

In my opinion, I think having a sense of ‘balance’ is the key to having a fulfilling life including a work-life balance (has it worked for me? I hear myself asking this question a lot recently…). Whilst it is highly commendable to go above and beyond at work e.g. to help others, to achieve goals and targets, pursue wealth and success, to be a super leader, to be a excellent team-player and not let others down, etc., if you find yourself burning out in the process, who are you kidding? So-called ‘decision fatigue’ can also set in if you are always needing to make important, often time-critical decisions as part of your work. As one would imagine, over time this can lead to excessive stress separate to the stresses already associated with your job, which in turn may start to affect your physical and mental health (see Tackling Stress). Taking the extreme end, it is even possible to overwork yourself literally to death (there is a Japanese term for this called karoshi). Life is therefore too short to dedicate it solely to work unless this is your true passion but chances are, you must be willing to make some serious sacrifices along the way. Interestingly, there are a few online videos that talk about how we spend our time over the course of one’s life, which may help you to put things into perspective. Not surprisingly, much of our life is spent working and statistics tell us that the vast majority of people unfortunately do not enjoy their work. This means we really ought to be seeking out a job that we enjoy even if this may mean sometimes having to bite the bullet and to take a pay cut. Importantly, we also need to take time out from work to rest, recharge and recuperate at appropriate intervals (see the section How to get you in the Holiday Mood) and also build in time to reflect on life itself. Clearly, we need to strike a balance with ones’ priorities as we can’t be 100% at everything and function in fifth gear all the time – as they say, ‘work smart, not harder or longer’.


Courtesy of TED (taken from YouTube) Terms of Service




I think it is very difficult to give any absolute advice as to what the correct work-life balance is as this will be case by case and highly dependent on your circumstances (including the nature of your job, your personality, you expectations amongst other things) and may change over time. However, what can be said is that there are ways of changing the mindset that may make it easier to appreciate the importance of finding that work-life balance and hopefully, you will be able to implement some changes for the better. Here are just a few talks that should get you thinking. The TED series on The Way We Work is also very informative and a must see.

The Japanese philosophy of Kaizen can improve your life in 3 easy steps (World Economic Forum, 2019)

Working to Live or Living to Work? (Prince Ea)

Strategies For Life And Work, Think Out Loud with Jay Shetty

The Happy Secret to Better Work (TEDxBloomington 2011)


The Way We Work (an original video series) TED 



Cancer Prevention Research  >>   Achieving Good Health & Resisting Cancer (n = 1)  I  Tackling Stress  I  Tackling Sleep  I  Tackling Obesity  I  Tackling Smoking  I  Tackling Alcohol  I  Tackling Poor Diet  I  Tackling the Lack of Exercise  I  Tackling Sun Exposure  I  Tackling the Fear of Seeing Your Doctor  I  Cancer Screening  I  Cancer Vaccination  I  Genetic Testing