Achieving balance can be a difficult task in any situation, but where achieving balance between one’s personal life and work is concerned, the challenge can indeed be quite pronounced. Many people oftentimes feel as though attaining a balance between these two aspects of life is next to impossible, but the good news is that it can be done. In fact, if you want to achieve your professional goals and be happy at the same time, you will have to find a way to strike a harmonious chord between these two different aspects of your life.

Simply stated, too much work, too much focus on work and too much work stress will shorten your lifespan and negatively impact your health. Sooner or later, work stress will catch up with you, but there is a point that many people ignore where work stress is concerned. Too much stress will impact your decision-making process and your creativity, and this can become a massive roadblock in your career path. Finding this balance between your personal life and your career ambitions is thus critical, but where to begin?

Stop Burning the Candle at Both Ends

If you are on a career path that is clearly pointing you towards short term burnout, you must stop and reassess. The reason is that such a work situation could actually serve to undermine your long term goals and achievements. Phrased another way, you may need to quit your job or even switch careers in order to achieve the right balance between your work life and your personal life. After all, there are consequences to “burning the candle at both ends.” No doubt you probably handle it for awhile, but you won’t be able to endure it forever.

If you are on a career path that doesn’t have a little “light at the end of the tunnel” and reduced stress, your overall long term goals could suffer a great deal. Don’t undermine your long term career goals by pushing too hard for too long! This is the first and most important step when it comes to attaining the right balance between your personal and work life.

Give Yourself a Break

The next step to consider is making it a priority to walk away from work and not think about it for awhile. This means turn off your cell phone, stop checking your emails, just relax and have some fun. Even if you are only able to do this for a few hours a day, it is a must. Remember that if you are happy in your personal life and you feel fulfilled, you will be able to achieve more in your career.

If you feel that all you do is work and are lonely or feel as though you are not spending enough time with your family and/or children, your work performance will suffer and your family relationships will slowly degrade. In other words, striking this balance between your personal and professional life is of critical importance.

In part, resolving this struggle centers upon striving to improve your time management. Sit down and evaluate what you do with your time and when. Next, look for ways to reorganize your life so that you can have more time to not only work towards your professional goals, but also to live. Never sacrifice your happiness for your career. In the end, you would be better off achieving less in your career than sacrificing your happiness.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis is the President/CEO of the Executive Women’s Success Institute ( in Maryland. She is a career strategist, speaker, trainer, consultant and the author of Finding Your Best Inside: How to Persevere and Become the Person You Are Meant to Be and Playing from the Blue Tee: Women in the Federal Government. Reach her by e-mail at