There’s a lot of talk these days about work-life balance.
However, work-life balance has become little more than a buzz word (or buzz-phrase).
Work-life balance sounds good to preach, but is hardly ever practiced.
For greatest productivity, health, and happiness, work-life balance must be aggressively pursued. It can’t just be something mentioned or discussed.
When we aren’t living in balance, we stand to experience numerous negative consequences, in almost every area of life.
Another buzz word you hear a lot these days is “burnout.” Yet, unfortunately, this term is dramatically more realized than work-life balance. In fact, burnout is a common consequence of a lack of life balance. And it’s flat-out bad for you. Thus, beating burnout must be a priority!
Here are 3 ways burnout has a destructive and negative impact in our lives:
Burnout – or a lack of work-life balance – effects relationships negatively.
When we are out of balance, we become fatigued mentally and physically. Even the seemingly simple act of making basic decisions can fatigue our mind over time. When this happens, downstream decisions either don’t get made (procrastination or avoidance) or get made poorly. (We discussed this in another article on decision fatigue.)
Poor decision-making (or failing to make decisions when necessary) kicks our relationships in the teeth. This is true regarding relationships with our loved ones, friends, and colleagues/clients/customers/bosses.
Furthermore, when we are burnt out due to a lack of balance – especially a lack of work-life balance – we often find we have given so much of ourselves everywhere else, we have little or nothing left to give to our relationships. Obviously, this is a recipe for disaster. Relationships that aren’t nurtured often wither and die. This makes balancing work and family crucial.
Not living in balance is detrimental to your productivity, both in your personal and professional life.
Often, we think if we work more, we will have more free time. We believe if we just knock out this one extra thing today, we will have more time to do X,Y,Z tomorrow. But there are two problems with us thinking that we can improve productivity simply by doing more. And especially, by thinking we improve productivity by doing more in less time.
First, tomorrow something always comes along to fill that space. Consequently, our “finish line” is consistently shifting. Thus, we begin to feel like a hamster in a wheel. In other words, we spend a lot of effort chasing an endpoint that is always moving. This is the epitome of frustration and… well, how productive are you when you’re frustrated?
Additionally, the “multi-tasking myth” is another way a lack of work-life balance leads to burnout and hurts productivity. The multi-tasking myth is the belief multi-tasking lets us get more done, in a shorter period.
However, multi-tasking is – in reality – one of the worst productivity killers ever. Interestingly, researchers have shown those who see themselves as great multi-taskers, are actually less productive than others. (Watch for our upcoming post on the Multi-Tasking Myth.)
Poor work-life balance can be harmful to health
Yet, inarguably, the worst effects of burnout can be seen in our health. Our body takes the tool of doing too much – and not resting enough – over time. Very often, it will give us warning signs that we are not in balance. This might be getting sick a little more often. Or increasing headaches. Or poor sleep. Or weight gain (or loss).
If we don’t pay attention to those warning signs, our body might get more forceful in the messages it sends. We could find that our health begins to not only suffer, but fail. Sadly, this burnout may manifest itself in major illnesses or conditions.
Our bodies are simply not designed to support prolonged periods of overwork and stress. We need balance—almost as much as we need food and water.
We were not put on this earth to simply please others (employers, colleagues, clients/customers, etc.). We have a greater purpose and our happiness and personal fulfillment is a big part of that purpose.
Those things can only be achieved when our life is in balance. Thus, to avoid all these negative consequences of unbalanced living, we must aggressively pursue balance.
We must learn to say no and get better at setting boundaries. Furthermore, making sure others don’t constantly cross those boundaries. And we must do all of these things As if our life depends on it. Because that may very well be – and likely is – more true than we often realize.