What is a good Work-Life Balance?

posted in: Energy, Parenting, Work-Life Balance | 1

find your energy quote

The Cambridge Dictionary definition of Work-Life Balance (W-L Balance) is:

“The amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy.”

 Over the last year, these boundaries have blurred. Organisations are demanding ever increasing levels of performance. Since homeschooling during the pandemic, the evidence is the working day has been redefined and increased.

It is impossible to separate our personal and professional lives.


However, here is a potential win-win “Employees with functional personal lives are a tremendous asset to a company…

You can control the amount of time and employee spends at work, but you cannot control the level of focus, efficiency or engagement.

However, here is a potential win-win

“Employees with functional personal lives are a tremendous asset to a company…

You can control the amount of time and employee spends at work, but you cannot control the level of focus, efficiency or engagement.

And what is happening in an employees personal life can cause massive swings in engagement, focus and efficiency.”

Matthew Kelly

So we are juggling homeschooling as well as longer hours.

The result is a nation of worn out parents. As the children are now back in school, you will be catching up on your day job whilst worrying about the impact of school closures on your children’s mental health.

What do you want out of your work-life-balance?

Think about it for a minute, perhaps write it down. What do you want the outcome to be?

Unfortunately, W-L Balance has become a catchall for people’s dissatisfaction with their life. We can’t have it all, we have a fiply of time, things and people so we need to make choices.

We spend our time and energy on things we value but there are constantly trade-offs.

Life takes energy and our capacity to embrace, respond, enjoy and react depends on how much energy we have.

Tiredness makes cowards of us all

It is so true…

Longer hours can equal increased performance in the short-term, we’ve all done it and it can become addictive. You can get a real buzz from achieving targets, contracts or projects particularly if you are working with a great team.

However, over months it can become exhausting and can backfire causing physical ill-health or poor mental health and relationship problems at home and at work.

Our time is limited, we have 24-hour a day but our energy levels are renewable.


When tired, we are more likely to:

  • Rely on sugar, high carb unhealthy foods, caffeine and/or alcohol to get us through the day
  • Struggle with our mental health and anxiety
  • Ruminate on problems
  • Are short tempered and grumpy at home (never me of course…!)
  • Procrastinate
  • Feel less confident and less able to cope
  • Struggle to get a good night’s sleep

We can’t face certain things we need to do or decisions so we put them on the “too difficult” pile for another day. Meanwhile, the “too difficult” pile festers and our anxiety grows.

Managing energy not time

Conventional wisdom is that W-L Balance is all about time management. I disagree with this.

“Nothing affects your personal and professional satisfaction like your energy level. There is no substitute for personal energy. Nothing will affect your capacity for life more than your personal energy level. Therefore managing your energy should not be taken lightly.”

Matthew Kelly, Off Balance

We need to learn to manage our energy not time.

If we learn to rejuvenate our personal energy, we are more likely to have:

  • More confidence and a stronger sense of identity
  • The mental energy to take difficult decisions
  • Capacity to tackle the “too difficult” pile
  • More resilience and have a stronger ability to cope with changes and challenges
  • Improved work and home relationships
  • Clearer boundaries
  • Higher levels of life satisfaction
  • More optimism and a positive outlook
  • Improved mental health and an ability to manage your thought life
  • Better self-control

Our W-L Balance is at the core of our goals, priorities and choices.

Whether you want more energy to work longer hours to deliver great work for promotion, more money or for your home life and family – it is your choice.

But, how do you make that choice? Something I explore on my course.

Getting the W-L Balance you want

Life is a series of questions we ask ourselves, about choices in moments. Unfortunately, we have a track record of constantly reacting to events.

An event happens, our emotions lead our reaction and there is an unavoidable result.

1 ×  13 year old female (+ academic pressures + social media + difficult friendships + critical self-talk) ×  you (worrying about a difficult meeting + anxious about finances so didn’t sleep well + time pressures to get out of the house + need to hang washing out) = grumpy teenager perceived as rude, you overreact and loose it with them = fractious argument with the family, all leave the house angry.

Not a great way to start the day.

The danger is we run in our default automatic mode without even thinking about it.

We are constantly reacting to events in our day-to-day lives. Where our emotions go, our lives follow.

To find the energy we need to live the life we want we need to start getting on the front foot, to start being proactive. And learn to prevent problems before they happen.

Have the energy to stay curious about your teenager’s behaviour, to see what is going on and learn to manage it not react.

We need to learn the capacity to steer our lives in the way we want. Which was why I got into parenting when I had children! (LINK)

So, how do you find more energy?

We have 4 sources of energy:

Physical energy is the fundamental source of the fuel we need. It lies at the centre of everything we want to achieve. We know that a lack of physical energy has a disproportionate impact on our capacity to manage our emotions and mental chatter, let alone our ability to focus and concentrate.

Emotional energy is key to a successful life. Our brains seek pleasure and want to avoid pain. We can’t control our emotions but we can learn to manage them. Learning to manage our emotions builds our emotional intelligence; our ability to manage emotions skilfully to generate high positive energy and great relationships.

Mental energy is needed to allow us to perform at our best at work or home and remain optimistic about the future. Learning to manage our thought life is key, the mental chatter that goes on in our minds every second of the day. Learning to manage our anxiety, quieten our self-critic and challenge our self-limiting beliefs can energise our mental energy.

Spiritual energy, or our human spirit is at the core of all our energy. It comes from a deeply held set of values, life priorities and clear purpose beyond ourselves. Passion, commitment, integrity and honesty drives our spiritual energy. It helps us to push past our comfort zone and energises us in a way no other source of energy can.

Life satisfaction

It is it common mistake to believe that satisfaction is all about getting what we want. Unfortunately we can’t have it all as there are an infinite number of possibilities for any day, you or life!

You cannot be in 2 places at a time, you cannot have it all, and so you must choose.

What energises you?

Take a moment to think about:

  • Who are the people that energise you? And who are those who drain your energy?
  • Which places energise you? And where drains your energy?
  • What things energise you? And what things drain your energy?
  • What activities energise you? And what activities drain you of all your energy?

Your unique energy profile

We have unique energy needs. We have unique energy sources (radiators) and energy drains.

My course helps you discover your own unique profile by:

  • Focusing on each person as an individual.
  • Encouraging individual curiosity through questionnaires.
  • Helping to understand your temperament profile and how to use this to manage your energy.
  • Enabling you to explore your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual energy radiators and drains.
  • Developing your own energy management plan.
  • Supporting you as you use your energy management plan.

  1. Paddy

    I know you haven’t finished this yet, but it’s good to see the variety of text formatting – bullets, headings etc, which makes the content much easier to read. It’s easier to find the place you want by skimming through the page. This lets you get away with writing longer pages, which search engines like, but keeping it easy to read.


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