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KAT'S CORNER: Work-Life Balance

Pray for me, I'm not there yet.

At the start of each week, I set a goal to go to bed at a decent hour every day. I firmly tell myself to be under the covers promptly at 10:00 pm (no excuses) so my brain can fire on all cylinders in the morning. I am sure that we’ve all read an article that says getting 8 hours of sleep is good for physical and mental health and that it also plays an important part in our daily work performance. So, with good intentions, I update my planner and set a bedtime alarm for the week. 

Why then do I find myself back in my office after dinner and glancing at the clock on the monitor at 9:50 pm fully knowing that I’m not going to wrap it up in 10 minutes? By 9:59 pm, I’ve already convinced myself that another all-nighter is not so bad since everyone is sleeping and the house is quiet. Why not make good use of that quiet time? Ugghh!

If I can’t keep myself on schedule on Monday night, then I already know that the rest of the week is going to be a complete failure. 

This is a prime example of why I struggle with work-life balance. Why is work-life balance an important topic? I’m glad you asked. First, let’s define it. Work-life balance is the amount of time you spend doing your job (day or night) versus the time you spend with loved ones, yourself, or pursuing interests and hobbies. When work demands more of your time, your life scale is unbalanced and productivity begins to decrease and the potential for mistakes and injuries increase. 

My goal then is to find that ‘sweet spot’. The more I study it, the more I understand that our careers and personal lives don’t always exist in separate spheres. Our homes and family lives, our community, our personal well-being and spirituality need to be considered alongside our work lives. I’ve come to realize that rather than resembling a scale with two competing sides, work-life balance more resembles a Venn Diagram of overlapping interest. 



To begin improving my work-life balance, I wrote down the areas that must be nurtured: family, friends, self-care, career, and learning. 

Then I implemented the following: 
Time Management – with my priorities listed, I can review how I spend my time and find ways to adjust my schedule where possible. 
Pause and evaluate- I can take a step back to ask myself: What is causing me stress, unbalance, or dissatisfaction? 
Establish and communicate boundaries – It’s okay to say no. 
Reflect, refine and repeat – If like myself, you work long hours, it’s easy to slide back into “business as usual”. These big life changes can take time, so reflecting on your approach and refining it from time to time is all part of the process. 

I hope you find these tips helpful if you too are seeking to improve your work-life balance. Keep in mind the tips I shared are not a one-time activity, but rather a cycle of continuous re-evaluation and improvement.

The key is to create change for yourself.

It all starts with your mentality. Your mindset empowers you to set boundaries to say “no”. You can then prioritize what’s most important to you, create the balanced lifestyle you want, and get the 8 hours of sleep you deserve.  Good luck!


- Kat McGowan