Work/life balance is a fluid concept! Sometimes, workplace demands and projects require increased focus— other times, family life needs to take center stage. When work demands are high, many people try to power through— sometimes out of enjoyment for the work, sometimes out of a sense of obligation to deliver and sometimes because it is just hard to walk away from the email piling up.
Many high performers believe that during important projects, work should be at the forefront, and life must take second place till the project is over. This is the “ebb-flow” theory of work/life balance—sometimes, work comes first, sometimes life does.
This approach can backfire, though, when you start to feel overwhelmed by tasks and find yourself focused on work late each night just to keep up. Sacrificing work/life balance for a high-profile project can be counter-productive if it drains your energy and prevents you from seeing the forest for the trees.
Too much emphasis towards work— even for a few days— does not give the brain time to process and rest. In working long hours, we can lose perspective. We need to actively walk away and engage in other activities for ideas— and even new solutions—to strike us. Playing a game with a child or walking with a neighbor may allow new insights— your work mind is not turned off when you are attending to life. So, trust your mind to find and make connections that can lead to new paths on a project.
It is important to get away from the office— or the telework desk— to recharge and reframe. Take a walk, play a game, find a snack, find perspective. Get away from work to get a fresh view of it!