Why Separating Work and Personal Life is Important

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Maintaining a healthy boundary between your professional and personal life is such a challenging task these days. In this digital era, where we can access almost everything online and where communication is just a click away, those two worlds colliding is inevitable.  

Some people say that work-life balance is not at all possible, that it’s just a myth. Who could blame them? When we are at home, it is so easy for our managers or colleagues to get in touch with us, talking about trivial matters or emergencies concerning work. Likewise, when we are at the office and something happened at home, it’s so easy for us to be out of focus which relatively affects our productivity.

Integrators and Segmentors

Setting boundaries between work and personal life doesn’t mean you’re lazy, nor does it define you as an employee. People who don’t bring work outside the office are less likely to experience stress. They are called segmentors. When dealing with problems at home, they switch it off at work and focus on the job at hand. Similarly, when facing issues in the office, they don’t bring it at home. Nancy Rothbard, a Wharton professor and a leading expert on how people manage the boundary between work and life, stated that segmentors consider mixing work and personal life inappropriate or distracting. She also added that people who are extreme segmentors doesn’t have pictures of their family in their office nor bring their family to company parties. 

On the other hand, integrators don’t mind to let work blend with their personal lives. They talk about work at the dinner table or invite colleagues over for a party. Most of the people I know, including myself, are likely integrators. It doesn’t mean we don’t get annoyed when somebody from work calls us on a weekend, though. It’s more likely sucking it up, anyway, it doesn’t happen all the time. Aside from that, being friends with your workmates outside work is fun. Hanging out with them after work, eating dinner, and talking about various stuff, among other things. And when things at work get crazy, there are people who take your mind away from the chaos. There is a downside for that, though. Your productivity might suffer since your focus will be divided if not shifted from work.

Benefits of separating work from personal life

Answering to the demands of your work is not bad as long as you don’t forget to live your life. Work hard, play hard, they say. If you are still doubtful of the importance of living a balanced work and life, find out its benefits below.

1. Less burnout

You may be working your dream job right now, but it doesn’t mean you need to spend 12- 16 hours of your day doing it. If you keep working on that phase, more likely you will be under too much stress that will eventually lead to burnout if taken for granted. (See Burnout: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes for addition info).  the number of hours you work daily is not and will never be the basis of your performance.

Understand that your body can only do so much. Remember, we, employees, are expendable.  

2. Not missing out on memorable moments

Working too much doesn’t just affect our health, it also affects the relationship we have with our families and friends. When you spend most of your hours in the office, you tend to forget how time passes you by. There’s another world out there that’s revolving even without you.

This is even a bigger issue for working parents who are working hard to give their children a better life. However, wealth and material things are nothing compared to the presence of parents in a kid’s life. You think you have given it all, but you might wake up one day realizing you missed a lot of important moments with them, those that you can never bring back.

Work is important, but spending time with your loved ones is everything. Make sure that when you get old and look back at your life, you won’t remember yourself stuck in the office working, but with your family and friends laughing and just enjoying life as it is.

3. Improved health and well-being

It is important to work hard, but then there is a fine line between working hard and working yourself to death. You might not feel the effect of working long hours every day at the moment. But, if you keep on working longer hours every day, it will eventually take a toll on your body.  

What is success if you are sick? Learn to take a break and relax. The company won’t fall in your absence for a few days. Make sure to put your health first, or pay the price later if you won’t. 

4. Increased productivity

Spending long hours working does not mean you’ll be more productive. It doesn’t. The fact is you’ll just tire yourself, your focus will become blurry, you will want to do something else rather than continue to work, and you will be easily distracted.

Thus, separating your work from personal life is very important. Do not bring work when at home. Stop making it an extension of your office. Instead, spend that time doing the things you love, bond with your family, or hang out with friends. Take that time to recharge.