Work-life balance is different for everyone

Everyone knows the feeling of having too much to do and not enough time. Many people find it difficult to establish a healthy work-life balance.

Some people say it’s just a fact of life, but letting your personal life suffer for a job, or school, isn’t necessarily inevitable.

While it can feel like more work when you’re trying to figure out what to do, scheduling can ease the issues around this imbalance. At least, some of the time.

Sociology professor at the University of Toronto, Melissa Milkie, found in a recent study that those who have control of their own schedule for work—like those who work from home—often have a harder time balancing these factors.

“It may be indicative of ‘work that never ends,’” she said in the study.

Haley Bugiak, a small business owner and new mother, said it often felt like she couldn’t let those late emails go.

“I found myself saying that I’d go to bed after the next one, and I finally just had to start turning off my phone for a few hours.”

Perfect – the enemy of progress

The pressure to have everything done perfectly can also affect how balanced life is.

“I had to get it out of my head that everything had to be perfect,” said Bugiak.

“Sometimes you just have to learn how to let things slide, even just for a little bit.”

The concept of work-life balance is different for everyone, which means everyone has to figure out what works for them. This is especially important if the workplace is less than stellar about helping employees find that balance.

If you can segment your time for school, work, and social life, you should. However, that can lead to frustration when a class runs long or you’re asked to work a little longer than you planned.

“Flexibility needs to be a focus,” said Martina Vaneckova, a psychologist with Flourish Psychological Services.

“Not just for the individual or family, but for the employer and institution as well.”

Making it work in the workplace

Since it can be difficult to influence the balance of major institutions and companies, where does that leave us?

“If you’re tired, stressed, sick, you’re not doing the best you can,” said Bugiak, who makes sure her employees have some space in their schedule.

“Everybody deserves a break, now and then.”

Even if we have to schedule it in for ourselves, those breaks are necessary to maintain physical and mental wellbeing.

So, don’t bother cooking tonight. Leave that paper that’s due in a week for a day or two. Take a breath.

You’ll be okay, even if it’s not perfectly balanced.

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