• Matt Black

Having a Work-Life Balance is Way Better than Dreaming About One

Hey, do me a favour and close your Inbox for a sec…


Next, hold down that ‘Power’ button and turn off your work cell…

Awesome, thanks.

Now for the love of all things sacred and Holy, please stop sending emails while you’re sitting down for dinner with your family!

Sorry for the rant, but you need to know that being a workaholic isn’t cool.

It doesn’t make you a better employee or person.

It won’t make you a hero in the eyes of your colleagues or, well, anybody really.

It isn’t even necessarily a predictor of success!

Take it from me – a guy who blurred the lines between his time as an employee and as a son, brother, boyfriend, etc., for over 5 years – until making a career move a few months back:

The work is going to be there tomorrow… and the next day… and the day after that.

After some time to reflect, let me say this: having a work-life balance is one of the best things you can strive for in the world – and achieving it is entirely in your control.

Don’t kid yourself – being addicted to work is a choice.

The unfortunate truth is that we prioritize our ever-growing Inboxes and looming deadlines over so many other precious moments too often. The consequences can be life-changing, and in most instances, not for the better. During my time as an office addict, my health suffered, I missed countless family functions, I gained a ton of weight…

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

And frankly, it shouldn’t be this way.

Here are a few unparalleled benefits of disconnecting from the world of work and spending more time with the rest of your life:

Quality time with ones you love most

Choosing work over loved ones will always hurt you (and them!) more than it’s going to help.

Do you really want to be that parent or spouse who invests more time into their projects at work than their relationships at home? Is whatever deadline you’re stressing over really worth more than the moments you get to spend with the people who make your life meaningful?

I’m guessing that the answer to these somewhat rhetorical questions is invariably ‘no.’

And hey – I understand that in order to provide for our families, we’ve got to work… and work hard!

But if you’re not capable of devoting all of your attention when you’re home, you’re cheating yourself – and the ones you love most.

Make it a rule that you don’t respond to work emails until your kids go to bed. Or talk with your spouse about not using your iPhones in bed and instead, spending more time talking about your days.

A little effort can go a long way and really enhance your most important relationships!

Chance to recharge & attack each week fresh

There’s no way you can perform at your peak if you’re dragging your ass.

Lack of sleep, too much stress, excessive workload… all of these can factor into draining your capacity for optimal results.

Giving yourself a chance to breathe not only puts your mind at ease, but will also provide you with a chance to gain some fresh perspective and attack projects with a renewed sense of understanding.

If we focus for too long on something specific, say a proposal for a new client, we end up inhibiting ourselves from doing our best work. That’s because it’s hard to focus and think at a high-level when your brain is fried.

More time in the “Sweet Spot” of life

Ultimately, there’s more to life than just working, sleeping and working again… it’s the moments in between, the memories we make with family, friends and experiences we share with them that make up what I like to call the “sweet spot” of life. This is probably the greatest thing balance can bring you.

When you think about it, all of the time that we spend trying to better our lives and the lives of our families is motivated by creating the best “sweet spot” possible.

But can’t we shake materialism and societal conformity and just enjoy the things we take for granted? Frankly, I wish I did more of this myself. Just waking up every day next to somebody you love more than anything in the world is worth more, in my mind, than anything a fatter pay cheque can bring.

As cliché as it may seem, the happiest life is one layered with quality, not quantity. While spending a ton of time at work can certainly enhance the world you build for yourself, it won’t completely fulfill you.

Enjoy the world you’ve built

You owe it to yourself (and the people who mean the most to you) to make time for fun.

Depending on the person, this can look very different: for instance, maybe it’s exploring your community and learning more about your surroundings. Or perhaps it’s a day at the beach or waterfront, soaking up the summer sunshine. You might like taking your kids to the park or watching them play sports…

Whatever enjoyment means to you, all that matters is you make time for it! Again, balance is the key.

It’s hard to really appreciate the fruits of your labour if you’re never around to even have the chance to do so. Making time to soak it all in and enjoy the world you’ve built can strengthen your performance at the office – trust me!

How do you ensure you maintain a healthy work-life-balance? What are some of the benefits you notice by staying conscious of the time you spend at the office away from family and friends? Let me know on Twitter via @mattblackink.

©2020 by Matt Black Ink | All rights reserved | Toronto