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6 Steps to Help with Work Life Balance

September 02, 2013, by Lori Bolliger | Work Environment and Policies

This past weekend I found myself contemplating the two annual markers that distinguish this long weekend.  One is Labour Day, which recognizes and celebrates workers across the country and the other is the waning few days of summer.  Both events are so different or are they?  This started me thinking about balancing work and life.  I wondered what does it actually mean?  How do you know if you have a good work/life balance? And what can you do to achieve or maintain it?

My search began at  They define work-life balance as “a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” and “lifestyle”.  It goes on to say that the expression was invented in the mid 1800’s.  Anthropologists said happiness occurs when there’s as little separation as possible “between your work and your play”.  Here we are in the 21st century and we’re still trying to figure out that balance.

The proliferation of technology has not helped matters.  Laptops, smartphones and the internet have, for the most part, removed office walls and allowed us more freedom to work but also raised the expectation of when and how much we work.  This can translate into a higher rate of stress among workers, less job satisfaction, more sick days and lost productivity.

To see what my work-life balance equation looked like, I took the “work-life balance quiz” on the Canadian Mental Health Association website.   My results surprised me!  You can try the quiz too at  

The results from the quiz prompted me to brainstorm a few ideas to see where I could make some improvements.  Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Build downtime into my schedule.  By this I mean, go for walks regularly, read a trashy novel, take a hot bath, listen to music or paint.
  2. Get moving!  We all know exercise has tremendous health benefits, including reducing stress.  Maybe a colleague would like to start a morning or after work walking or running routine.
  3. Avoid activities that zap my time.  This includes surfing the net, checking Facebook or watching TV shows that I’m really not that interested in.
  4. Say “no” more often.  This involves setting personal boundaries and sticking to them.
  5. Ask my employer what work options are available.  Does my company offer flextime, part time or the ability to work from home?


And, here’s the big one,


  1. Leave work at work.  Commit to turning off the devices after I leave for the day.  Maybe not every day but certainly some days.

 Now that the long weekend is behind us and summer’s coming to a close maybe we can all look forward to enjoying a more balanced life that’s rich in both productivity and relaxation!

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