Recognising Work-Life Balance

Health & Wellbeing

Australians are living longer but this doesn’t mean we’re happier. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently asked Australians to rate their work life balance and found we came in below the international average. Although we have a reputation for being a laidback country, it seems we’re not practising what we preach.

Recognising when our work and life isn’t balanced

As a busy entrepreneur, business owner, coach and mentor, Peta has learnt work-life balance the hard way while running two pole dancing studios. Over the years, she’s managed to find her balance by recognising the warning signs when something is amiss.

To spot the signs, you must first recognise your work-life balance is askew. When you’ve acknowledged these signs, you can then make conscious steps to improve your work-life balance.

Some of the warning signs include:

Spending long hours at your workplace after your team has gone home

Working every weekend without having down time

Having your family complain they never see you

Being distracted by emails and your phone when you’re not at work

Missing important life events, like your child’s school sports day

Not being able to switch off or step away from your business

Positive state of mind

To achieve a healthy work-life balance, you need to have the right frame of mind. Being busy at work all the time shouldn’t be seen as a badge of honour. Working long hours shouldn’t be something that’s admired.

Once you realise that making time for your personal life is important, you will be on the road to having a positive frame of mind when it comes to getting the balance right.

Achieving the perfect work-life balance doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time and effort. Don’t expect immediate results but acknowledge change will take time.

Treat the problem

Don’t push out the elements of your life you love to avoid cutting back on work ‘obligations’.

You might believe your workout isn’t as important as a work meeting – but if it’s keeps you healthy and destressed then it is as important as work, if not more so.

To address work-life balance issues, Peta says you need firstly tackle the cause. If you’re simply cutting out the parts of your life you enjoy instead of realising it’s the work tasks that need to be minimised, you are dealing with the symptoms of your work-life unbalance, rather than tackling the core problems.

Stop feeling ‘selfish’

Self-care is different from being selfish. If you feel that when you take time for yourself, you’re being ‘selfish’, you might need to change your attitude. We all need to look after ourselves so we don’t become rundown and overwhelmed. Taking care of yourself puts you in a better position to lead your team and stay organised.

Recognising you’re not being selfish but simply giving yourself self-care is one positive step on the path to improving your work-life balance.

Getting your work and life balanced again

Once you’ve recognised your work and life is unbalanced, you’ve already fought half the battle. The next challenge is to get the balance right again.

To do this, you need to find a way to manage your workload and personal life – and for each of us this will be different because we all have alternative limits and unique personal needs. For example, if you have young children you might prioritise family time more significantly than if you are single and without children.

Getting the work-life balance right

When you start to improve your work-life balance, you’ll see positive signs that’ll help show you’re on the right track. These can include:

Feeling on top of your workload without sacrificing time family time

Feeling motivated, energised and prepared to tackle tough decisions

Waking up in the mornings feeling refreshed and ready to embrace the day, rather than exhausted and wanting to stay in bed

Getting the work-life balance right takes time and effort, but with small steps, we can improve our lives for the better.

Peta Howlett


Peta Howlett Entrepreneur, Founder of Studio Exclusive Pole and Fitness Studios, National Level Fitness Judge, Qualified Personal Trainer, Peta Howlett lives and breathes her passion for building community, improving mind and body fitness, to create empowered confident women. She is an experienced businesswoman and specialist in fitness for the mind and body. As a national level fitness judge and qualified personal trainer, Peta combines her extensive experience and specialized knowledge wit

Comments (1)
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Finding balance is important, but one of the main problems is perception. Balance doesn't mean you'll split each day equally among work and family or between work and down time. It means finding an overall balance. Some days may be work heavy and others may be more about your interests or just relaxing. The important part is the rhythm. One day may even be work heavy in morning and all your interests at night. However, it may fluctuate in small bursts throughout a single day. The key is to understand balance in the long term and to recognize when you have teetered one way or the other too far.