September 2023 – Employment Advice Column: ACHIEVING YOUR OWN WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Dear Joanna

I am working so hard in my new position as a customer service representative. It’s only part time but regardless, it’s all consuming. All I think about is work. As a result, I stopped attending the social programming at Reena’s Channels community participation program and engaging in my hobbies. I am exhausted and discussed this with my Reena job coach. She recommended that I learn how to balance my work and life for my health and well-being. How can I do this? Please let me know.  

Signed: Exhausted Employee

Dear EE,

The best information that I found online on creating a work-life balance is from this 2023 blog Improving your work-life balance can potentially improve your overall well-being, including your physical, emotional, and mental health cites the blogger. Work-life balance looks different for everyone. It’s a constant negotiation about how—and where—you spend your time. Here are 5 ways to improve your work-life balance according to the blog. It’s important to remember that finding an approach that works for you is a process and will take time.  

1. Pause and evaluate. Pause and consider your current work-life situation and schedule; ask yourself how you feel. Some questions you might reflect on include: Am I spending enough quality time doing what I really want? Am I committing enough time and energy to people or things that are meaningful to me? Gain a better understanding of your work load – your duties, your responsibilities and tasks. Ask yourself – do I need help or more training with specific duties/tasks? What are they? Can I speak to my boss about this? Are there tasks that I do very well? Are there tasks that can wait? Have a chat with your boss and/or your job coach to figure this out.

2. Assess your priorities. Once you have a better sense of what you’d like to adjust, you’ll want to begin identifying what you want to prioritize. Some questions you might ask yourself include: What really matters to me and am I doing enough of it? What are some alternative actions I can take to ensure I am devoting enough time and energy to my goals and relationships?

3. Time management. Now that you know what your priorities are—whether that’s spending more time at work to aim for a promotion or cutting back on after-hours emails by establishing boundaries—it’s important to figure out how to better manage your time. Review how you currently spend your time and look for ways to adjust your schedule where possible. You can “chunk” your time as a way to focus on one area at a time, or use a matrix system to establish your priorities when new tasks pop up unexpectedly.

 4. Establish boundaries. This is a crucial skill and part of time management. And, communicating those boundaries will be equally important. If you can no longer respond to emails promptly after hours because you’re with your family, your team will need to know. Work boundaries fall into one of three categories—physical, emotional, or time. Start by setting small boundaries and expand from there.

5. Reflect, refine, repeat. Whatever actions you decide are needed to create a good work-life balance, though, you should be conscious of the fact that you will likely need to continue to refine it over time. Big life changes can take time, so reflecting on your approach and refining it periodically will likely be integral parts of the process. 

Signed: Joanna

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Joanna Samuels, M.Ed., CMF, CTDP, RRP,  is the Employment Resource & Summer Employment Transitions program Supervisor at Also, Joanna is a certified Life Skills Coach, and Personality Dimensions Facilitator who offers job development, job coaching and workshop facilitation with persons with disabilities and barriers. She also helps employers with diversity recruitment and creating an inclusive and innovative workforce.