3 Reasons Work-Life Balance Is Important

While we all try to adapt to the new working arrangements of the pandemic, many of us have found ourselves working longer – and harder. Our 9 to 5 workdays have become 8 to 7, sometimes, even longer.  

As Singaporeans, many of us feel shame when prioritizing our personal time over work. I used to work in a job that constantly ate into my personal time. Even though the daily working hours on paper would be 9 to 6, I would have to start work early to prepare my tasks for the day and I would receive work calls and messages all the way into the night.  

Just starting off in the industry, I felt a need to show my company that I was willing to give a 100% effort. I would work the long hours to prove that I was responsible and that I was a good hire. Soon, I noticed that I was falling into a cycle of just working and sleeping. I stopped attending social events, stopped exercising and stopped making time for myself.  

While I initially felt that this new routine was the proper solution to giving myself an adequate rest before work, I slowly started to get burnt out. I lost motivation and inspiration to continue giving my best because I felt my life became an endless cycle of just working and sleeping.  

I knew that this was not sustainable for me in the long run and I decided to make some changes. I stopped replying emails and messages that weren’t urgent before and after working hours. I slowly began to incorporate activities that allowed me to have personal time back again.  

These changes initially made me feel uncomfortable. I felt like I would seem incompetent to my colleagues or that I did not care enough about my job. But I realized that allocating time for myself made me even more productive at work! I had a new drive and motivation for my job, I no longer felt like I was in an endless rat race.  

In this sense, establishing a work-life helped me stabilize my mental health and helped me draw new boundaries for both work and personal time. These changes made me feel more fulfilled and satisfied with my job and my life!  

If you’re in a similar position that I was in, here’s three reasons that’ll show the importance of a work-life balance.

1. A Work-Life Balance Helps You Become More Productive

Like me, a lot of you might feel like drawing boundaries between work and personal life hints that you are less competent in the workforce. But this isn’t true, you can be even more productive and successful when you maintain a work-life balance!  

A good balance allows you to be more present and have more mental clarity. Being constantly overwhelmed by thoughts of work can make your mind cluttered. This could make your performance less efficient and accurate.  

When I was unable to maintain a good work-life balance, I was overwhelmed and overworking my mind. The constant thought of due tasks at the back of my mind made me cluttered and less productive at work. Things only started to change when I set boundaries. Allocating myself a certain number of hours to fully dedicate my time to work and personal time respectively, helped me be more present in the moment. It made me calmer at work and allowed me to concentrate better.  

2. A Work-Life Balance Allows for Creativity

Setting aside time to give yourself the freedom to do anything non-work related allows you to stimulate creativity and find meaning to life beyond just career achievements. This time could allow you to work on yourself or even find a side hustle.  

I have a friend who has interest in the arts. Though her day job is in the corporate world, she used to spend her personal time exploring this interest. Eventually, with enough practice her side hustle turned into her own online business that sold arts and crafts items – allowing herself to have a side income apart from her day job.  

Her story goes to show the endless possibilities of having a proper work-life balance, it allows you to find time for yourself to explore the hobbies you are interested in. Maybe you could make a side living out of your hobbies too!  

3. A Work-Life Balance Keeps Your Mental Health in Check

Maintaining a good work-life balance would mean that you will be less stressed. You will start to choose things that are priorities and say no to things that aren’t. You will eventually feel like you are gaining control over your life again.  

When I had prioritized work over my own well-being, I found myself spiraling into spurts of anxiety and depression. I felt like the amount of work that I had was overwhelming. I knew that I could not keep up with the demands of my job.  

While it was scary saying no to taking on additional responsibilities and tasks I could not manage, I realized it was something that I had to do for my own mental health. You eventually have to come to the realization that one person can only do so much. 

Finding freedom to explore my personal life beyond working, gave me opportunities to build lasting friendships, pick up old hobbies that I lost touch with and gave myself time for self-care. These changes made me happier and made me have a new found appreciation for my life.  

Maintaining a work-life balance may not be as simple as stopping work at a certain time. Some of us have huge responsibilities that require us to work overtime more often. In such cases, I recommend you having a talk with your bosses about your workload and coming to an adequate solution that will allow you a work-life balance. 

In a case that you’re self-employed or your priority is work over personal time, I suggest that you still incorporate time for yourself for non-work-related activities. A balanced life will benefit you and prevent burn-out in the long run.  

Check out our career guidance page for more useful lifestyle and career tips!   

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