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Is Work-Life Balance Possible?


Today’s busy working families need about 28 hours in the day to get everything done. Work hours have crept into our home lives as more people take care of job responsibilities in the evenings and on weekends. In this environment, is it even possible to balance our careers and our personal lives?

(Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/

The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled data from 2012 showing how employed adults ages 25 to 54 with children spend an average work day. The pie chart details 8.8 hours spend working “and related activities,” and 7.7 sleeping, which leaves a full 7.5 hours left for everything else. With the expectation that full-time work is 8 hours per day, this data seems reasonable.

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Unfortunately, it is more complicated. Employed persons in 2012 did not go to work for 8 hours and leave to do other things which would help them achieve work-life balance. Twenty-two percent of working adults spent some time working at home, even if they only held one job. For those who need more than one job to get by, that statistic rose to 34 percent.

While we might expect self-employed people to work at home part of the day, 20 percent of wage and salary workers were performing some of their job responsibilities from home. For 34 percent of the total employed population in 2012, these work at home hours included weekends.

Work Life Balance

The point is that it is difficult to achieve work-life balance when you don’t have clear boundaries. In a world in which achieving work life balance is becoming more and more difficult, Eric Barker at Time Magazine outlines a few helpful tips. The key is to stop trying to do everything yourself.

  • Rather than create a list of 25 things to do today, pare it down to the most important things that must be done today. If you do fewer things, you are better able to do each one well. 
  • Work on the things that get you disproportionate results. In other words, do the most important things on your list that will be most beneficial. 
  • Do things that only you can do. Delegate the rest as much as you can. For example, if you are an integral part of a meeting with a client, you have to be there. However, another family member may be able to prepare dinner that evening.

None of us can do everything. Focus on what you do best, and do that.

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How do you achieve work-life balance? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Fiona Craig

I achieve my work-life balance by starting a small business.  That way I can schedule my day and work during my most effective times which is 10-3pm.  Before that I’m walking my son to school and after he’s home and we all take the dog to the dog park.  I’ve also organised my days into themes.  Monday is admin day, whilst Thursday and Friday I see clients till 8Pm as my son goes to his father.  When my son is… Read more »

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