Work life Balance; Why You Should Have It

A few years ago I was amused to see this post on my Facebook wall. It was a picture of a chic, artsy café. Inside a handwritten sign said: We DON’T have Wi-Fi. Talk to each other!!!

At that time it seemed every restaurant and public space was scrambling to install Wi-Fi on their premises and here was this one neighborhood café bucking the trend. The owners must have known what they were doing. How many times have you walked into your local restaurant or coffeehouse and felt the eerie silence of people just hunched over their laptops instead of talking to each other?

The mobility of our devices means we can virtually work anywhere within the range of a cellphone tower—but is that necessarily a good thing?

Many large corporations now like Google regularly invite meditation teachers into their work spaces to give employees instructions in meditation. You don’t have to be a Silicon magnate to realize that taking time to unwind brings untold benefits.

Without going into New Agey territory (well not too much at least), let’s discuss the benefits of having a good work-life balance as an eCommerce owner.

Getting enough sleep

OK, you don’t need to have been hiking in Nepal to know that getting a good 8 hours of sleep each night makes you feel better and more productive the next day. There’s no substitute (even catnaps) for an unbroken block of sleep. If you lack sleep, the body tends to compensate for its lack of rest by eating more calories. E-commerce business owners are especially prone to working more than one time zone, and thus missing out on valuable shut eye their body needs. Be disciplined with yourself. If you need to conference call your team members in another part of the world, do so in a time that is least disruptive to both you and them.

Eating well, and not in front of a TV screen or monitor

I’m particularly guilty of doing this. I work on a large desk so it’s always easy for me to leave a sandwich or a bag of chips (maybe a slice of cake too) on my desk and then work away at it over a period of time. It may seem to save time initially, but it actually takes away from your own body’s awareness of satiety—an important regulator in hunger sensation. Over time, disconnecting your body’s genuine hunger sensations by constantly stuffing yourself will lead to weight gain versus sitting down at an actual table and taking an hour to finish your meal and see what portions you put on your plate.

Get a dog

Pet ownership and in particular dog ownership forces daily exercise on their human owner. Many nutritionists and doctors of overweight patients have begun saying this to them. Instead of the easily-ignored advice of “start exercising”, telling someone to get a dog has more lasting impact on a person’s daily exercise. Dogs need daily walks, rain or shine. Especially if your dog does his business outdoors, having the prospect of a smelly house deters even the laziest of owners from procrastinating their daily walk with the dog.

Appreciate your loved ones by giving them your time

I remember reading an article about Mark Zuckerberg’s soon to be wife specifying in their prenup that they would have a date night every week, and that he would give her 45 minutes of uninterrupted, device-free time each day. She’s a smart lady. Having a marriage to one of the most visible CEOs in the world seems to require that kind of paperwork, doesn’t it? Well even if we’re not all Mark Zuckerbergs I’m sure we all have at least one person in our lives who’d like to have more uninterrupted time with us. Start by having small catch-ups each week. Even the busiest person can find 20 minutes of time to call mom or dad on a Sunday morning.

When all is said and done, everyone can agree that work isn’t everything that determines the quality of one’s life. Nobody ever said on their deathbed, “Gee I wish I’d spent more time at the office”. Creating and defending your work-free zones in life from intrusions are a form of investment in your long term emotional and physical wellness.

About the author

catherine vanvonno

Catherine Vanvonno holds a doctorate degree in Applied Statistics, Research Design and Program Evaluation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and is married with four children.|