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Burned Out and Stressed Out? How to Achieve Work-Life Balance and Create Time For What Matters Most

Updated on January 20, 2010

Failure to find a healthy work-life balance can result in a lot of stress. Coupled with work-related stress, this can lead to burnout. Read on to learn how you can deal with stress and avoid job burnout by achieving a healthy work-life balance and creating time for what matters most...

Most working moms and dads are tormented by competing demands they face at work and at home. Studies indicate that 83% of women and 72% of men experienced significant conflict between family and work.

Most parents want to spend more time with their loved ones, but they are afraid to put their jobs at risk by working less. Especially in a tough economy, they end up working so much longer and harder to protect their income and jobs. As a consequence, their work can end up controlling their lives.

The struggle to find work-life balance — or the resulting failure to find a healthy balance between work and personal life — leads to a lot of stress.

Busy parents already struggling with work demands, have to deal with even more pressure trying to spend more time with loved ones while climbing the corporate ladder or trying to achieve entrepreneurial success.

Job stress-related expenses cost American businesses over $200 billions a year. But, the cost to families are even greater: increased family conflicts, increased divorce rate, increased problems with children, increased alcohol and substance abuse as well as serious illnesses.

The consequence of parents having to deal with work-life balance stress in addition to job-related stress, can be burnout.

A Healthy Work-Life Balance Can Reduce Your Stress and Increase Happiness

Happy mom and son enjoy the waves
Happy mom and son enjoy the waves

Photo credit: arcticpuppy

What is burnout?

Burnout is a process which results from intensive and long-term stress in the workplace. It is an insidious problem for many workers. The symptoms include overwhelming stress, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, cynical detachment from work, inability to function productively due to physical and mental exhaustion.

Achievement-oriented people are often at high risk for burnout. It tends to affect a company’s best executives, managers and employees who really care about achieving in their jobs. It also affects entrepreneurs extremely driven to achieve success.

These achievers start feeling that they are not accomplishing enough. So, they work even harder, faster and longer. Unfortunately, this can lead to ineffectiveness and increased fatigue. When they just keep on working longer and longer hours, these achievers are the ones most likely to wipe out.

How do you avoid burnout?

Burnout often results from lack of self-awareness, lack of respect for personal needs and priorities. The process of preventing and overcoming burnout involves stress management as well as inner work and self-care.

Inner work involves clarifying your values and what matters most in your life; this requires greater understanding of who you are, what you need and what you want from your life. Self-care involves accepting, understanding and respecting your emotional, spiritual and physical needs.

How do you avoid burnout while increasing job and life satisfaction?

Studies show that stress at home interferes with work performance and productivity. Conversely, stress at work interferes with harmony at home; it creates or magnifies problems at home. These studies show the importance of having a healthy work-life balance in order to perform well and be productive at work as well as prevent problems at home.

Most working parents — especially high-achievers — are fearful that they will end up losing their job or getting passed over for a promotion if they stop working longer and longer hours.

The opposite is actually true. Working longer and longer hours leads to ineffectiveness and increased fatigue. Quality of work performance and productivity decrease when time demands and corresponding stress increase.

What’s the solution?

Instead of working a lot and sacrificing your time with loved ones, making time for what matters most to you and what makes you happy can actually improve your work performance and productivity.

Studies indicate that work performance and productivity as well as resulting job satisfaction are determined to a great extent by activities outside of work that enhance life satisfaction including, social support, self-renewal and balancing the needs of work and loved ones.

Instead of jeopardizing your work performance, making time for what matters most to you and makes you happy — including, spending time with your loved ones — can actually improve your productivity and job satisfaction.

What most working parents fear usually does not happen. Since work performance and productivity as well as job satisfaction improve, the chances of losing your job or getting passed over for a promotion decrease.

Video Shows a Simplified View of the Importance of Achieving Work-Life Balance and Creating Time For What Matters Most

How to Get Started Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

How do you get started making time for what really matters if you currently have a time-demanding job?

If you are currently working ten-hour days or more — but you want to free up some time — you don’t have to revamp your whole schedule. You can just reduce your workday by half an hour or more. It’s a simple way to ease into decreasing your time-demanding job. Your work productivity will not be affected much by working one half hour less. Most people who work very long days are less and less productive by the end of the day — it’s the law of diminishing returns. So, you’re just cutting time that’s mostly being wasted.

Surprisingly, most people are more productive when working fewer hours — they manage their time better, are more effective and efficient.

If you are bringing more and more value to your company and you are making more significant contributions, you’re more likely to be noticed by management — you’re more likely to be promoted.

How do you spend your extra time?

You can use your extra time to do something you enjoy. If you’re not sure how you want to spend your extra time, you can use it to relax and slow down — and then you can use your free time to figure out what you really want to do.

When you get used to taking a break from overworking, you can be more creative with your free time; you can use your extra time to spend some time in nature, spend some time with your loved ones, take long walks or have some quiet time. You can do whatever it is that makes you happy.

By not working longer and longer hours, you can avoid increasing your fatigue and ineffectiveness at work. By making time for what matters most to you and makes you happy, you can increase your happiness and life satisfaction. In turn, this can increase your productivity, work performance and job satisfaction.

By increasing your happiness, job and life satisfaction, you can decrease your work-life balance stress and avoid the process of burnout.

Healthy Work-Life Balance: You Can Make Simple Changes That Can Increase Your Happiness As Well As Effectiveness At Work and At Home

Watch the Video to Learn How to Find and Keep the Delicate Balance Between Work and Life

Do you have a healthy work-life balance or not? Please share your ideas and comments.

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    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image

      Ian D Hetri 5 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      Brilliant piece. Full of useful information..Sharing the hub. Voted up.

    • kkgifts profile image

      kkgifts 7 years ago from Florence, SC

      Great hub. loved it, whish I could have read this about 5 months ago, but then again by then i was so far gone it wouldn't have sunk in. check out my hub economic burn out-our new reality. It's about what happened to me. I just quit a job over burn out. I look forward to reading more of your hubs thumbs up