In today’s hectic world, it’s incredibly difficult to lead a balanced life. In fact, experts often talk about work-life integration rather than work-life balance because – with the intrusion of smart devices (such as smartphones and tablets) into our lives – we end up working from the minute we open our eyes to the minute we fall into bed. So the question is if the concept of a work-life balance is merely a myth in our modern day society, or is this something that we can actually achieve?

What is a work-life balance?

‘Work-life balance’ simply means how well you’re able to balance how much you work versus how much you do the things that you really enjoy, for example your hobbies, etc. Rachel Ritlop highlights a number of warning signs, which will alert you to the fact that you have not achieved a balanced life. These are, for example, you have a constant headache, you’re always tired, or that you don’t have patience – for anything.

What is a balanced life

Why is maintaining a work-life balance so hard?

Simply put (pun intended) our lives are too chaotic. We are suffering from information overload and are expected to always do what we need to do – yesterday. Psychologist, Robert Brooks, offers another opinion about why we struggle to maintain a balanced life: “A lot of people are having a more difficult time finding balance in their lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work. They’re afraid it may happen to them, so they’re putting in more hours. But even if you don’t have much control over the hours you have to work, you can ask yourself: In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life?”

Why is it difficult to maintain a balanced life

How can we maintain a work-life balance?

Deborah Jian Lee offers some advice about how to maintain a balanced life:

  • Don’t be a perfectionist: Trying to get things 100% perfect all the time puts undue pressure on you. You’ll spend more hours than you should on work, so eroding the time you get to spend with your family and on yourself.
  • Go on a digital detox: The constant bombardment of information we’re exposed to makes us work far more than we should. So take a break from your smart devices and empty your mind of what others are telling you so that you can get time to fill your mind with what you want.
  • Make time to exercise: Exercise is one of the most powerful ways that you can destress. Unfortunately, it’s the first thing to go out the window when we get busy. Daily exercise or meditation will help you keep your stress levels at bay and your work-life balance in check.

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