How to Find Your Work-Life Balance, According to Science

Work smarter, not harder.


(AnastasiaNess /

Is a lack of sleep causing you to look as if you’re auditioning for a horror movie? Is a never-ending pile of paperwork keeping you late at the office?

Starting to forget what your kids look like? You, my friend, are overworked.

Is there life outside of work? If you have to ask yourself this question, you’ve got a problem.

Chronic stress. Poor health habits. Trading sleep for work. The 40-hour week just keeps getting longer and longer.

Sound familiar? You may be aiming for “Employee of the Year,” but don’t take on more than you’re able to do.

Spending time with your family or friends, finding a new hobby or going to the gym – whatever your leisure activity of choice is, it makes you more productive.

And work?… Well, too much of it can kill you. Maybe not directly, but through a greater risk of heart failure and stroke.

It’s time to bring some balance to your life. Here’s how you can do it, step by step.

1. No overtime

In the US, four out of ten people are constantly working beyond the standard 40 hours a week. Despite the fact that a study on the productivity of working hours shows that after 50 hours of work you become less productive.

Once you hit 55 hours a week, your productivity falls off a cliff. Working into the night and logging a whopping 70 hours doesn’t mean that you actually do more. You’d be better off putting less time into whatever it is you do, but making that time as effective as possible.

2. Set boundaries

With today’s technology, we’re more connected than ever. We’re always available for a phone call or a work email. But just because you can answer those, doesn’t mean you have to.

57% of people in the US believe that technology has ruined their family dinner because their bosses expect an answer at any hour of the day. Set boundaries for your employer.

Don’t do any work outside of your office hours unless it’s an emergency. Find the off button on your phone and learn to use it.

3. Eradicate the extras

Losing hours of your day by needlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed is counterproductive. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that at all, just make sure you don’t get lost somewhere in the hundreds of posts from people you don’t know or don’t care about.

4. Delegate responsibilities

You can’t physically handle all the work in the world. So start to outsource some of it to your coworkers and share chores with your spouse. I know, it always feels like you’re the only one who knows how to do it right, but you’ve got to learn to trust people to feed your cat on time.

Finally, try to find a job you enjoy. I did. But it’s 5 pm on my clock and I’m out of here. See you next time for another how to, according to science.

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