Seven Questions to Ask to Restore Work-Life Balance

Maintaining consistent employee work-life balance can be a daily challenge for many.  Here are seven questions to ask if your work-life balance is getting out of order:

  1. Who really needs this and when? When considering which tasks to tackle, objectively evaluate the audience and the timing. Take on the high priority tasks that will have the largest impact first.
  2. What will happen if this waits till tomorrow? What are the consequences of delaying a task till tomorrow or the next day?  Often, we are our own worst enemies in maintaining work-life balance. Many tasks can wait – and our sense of urgency is self-driven.
  3. What will I miss if I do this? At work, it is easy to thing about the negative impacts of not pressing on another hour. Consider instead what you will miss at home by doing so. Who will you miss being with by staying at work?
  4. How can I think about this task differently?  A fresh perspective can help us identify faster and more efficient ways to do our work. Pausing to think about how to do a task differently can maximize our impact in less work time.
  5. Why can’t I say no? This question can apply to a specific task, or to a broader tendency to take on tasks that exceed our capacity.  Saying no — to a project or a person — is often a first step to restoring work-life balance.
  6. Who could help?  Organizations are made up of lots of people – people who might be able to help. What you dread, someone else might enjoy – the reverse is also true.  Build relationships with colleagues to build capacity across the organization.
  7. What message am I sending? Are you a supervisor who sends emails late into the night, and expects a rapid response?  Do you tout the benefits of employee work-life balance, while also working 12 hours a day? Remember, actions speak louder than words. Go home.

Asking these questions regularly can help you find both short-term and long-term pathways to greater work-life balance.  Sometimes, we just need to walk away – these questions will help you do so responsibly, and with grace.