4 Simple Rules To Balancing Work And Happiness

balance work and happiness

When that alarm goes off at 6:00AM… it’s a little grueling sometimes. All you want to do is locate the snooze button to make the overly cheerful disruption cease, so you can catch another half-hour of sweet slumber – but you know you shouldn’t.

No, now you have to get up, get dressed, drink some coffee, and navigate bumper-to-bumper traffic – and that’s before your workday even starts. Why on earth do we do this to ourselves?

The simple fact is that it’s just a necessary part of life.  If we want to keep food on the table, a car in the driveway, and a roof over our heads, then we simply have to show up at the office.  That’s just the way it is. But, at the same time, there is also an even deeper need for happiness, relaxation, motivation, hope, love, excitement, and release. This is integral to our humanity, and these are the beautiful aspects of our existence that make life worth living.

You might think that there’s an inherent conflict between work and happiness, but I’m here to tell you that…

This conflict is an illusion.

Dealing with work and aspiring for happiness has more to do with taking a balanced approach. Too much of one leads to too little of the other.  So, here are four simple, easy, rules for you to follow that will help you achieve this mistakenly elusive balance.


#1: First and foremost, you need to set goals!

I’ll happily admit that often times quotes can be cliched to the point of becoming futile. With that being said, here is the one and only quote I’ll use to illustrate my next point on the value of setting goals, “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” –Earl Nightingale

In a fantastic inspirational piece by Matthew Toren of Entrepreneur.com, they actually found that most successful people in this world are the ones who daydream about where they want to go. And no, this is not whimsical mumbo jumbo.  This is actually being verified by the scientific community. In fact, the subjects of these studies would get a mental ‘image’ in their thoughts, which switches on the subconscious mind to make this desirable image a reality.

Look, you’re not going to get anywhere if you simply work in order to survive, because survival is only the avoidance of, well, death. But if you sprint towards your goals, having envisioned them beforehand, you will look at Monday morning as a new opportunity, rather than the low point of the week. 

And this carries me to my next point: setting goals changes the way you look at work.


#2: Motivation… because it’s just that simple.

Sure, I know what you might be thinking: “This is nonsense; there is no way I’m ever going to like Mondays.”

Granted my ‘Mondays bit’ reminded me of that hilarious line from Office Space (1999).  But, let me be honest with you: I don’t mean that your job headaches will go away, but setting goals is a way to motivate you on working through problems and towards achieving your dreams.

Overall, this is the best way I’ve ever found my motivation for even the hardest of workdays.  When you feel like purposely spiking your morning coffee or calling in “sick”, here is what I want you to do instead:

  1. Take 3 minutes.  (Yes, just 180 seconds.)
  2. Relax, close your eyes, and breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  3. Now think about what you truly want to avoid (e.g. a smaller paycheck, an angry boss, a loss of vacation time, etc.)
  4. Now think about your goals and where you want to see yourself.  I want you to daydream!
  5. Once you feel centered and satisfied, I want you to think about that next first thing you need to do in chasing after the sweet thing you’ve just envisioned.

Seriously, anytime you feel yourself getting overly stressed or burnt out, do this and you will watch the outcome of your workdays become more productive, more positive, and generally … more awesome.

But, your mind and body do need a recharge in order to function.

balance work and happiness 2


#3:  Shut off that TV, go to bed, and wake up earlier!

Our moms were right.  It’s better for us to go to bed early.

There’s a reason why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.  Sleep deprivation weakens both the body and the mind. Keeping your mind strong and focused is one of the most important factors for staying motivated, achieving goals, and ultimately finding self-worth in the great work you do.

To illustrate this, Forbes has two fantastic pieces on the habits of successful people, both of them talking about getting up early. One of them listed 5 things that billionaires and presidents do …before 8am:

  • Exercise
  • Map out your day
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Visualization (I knew I was on to something.)
  • Make your day top-heavy

The other article is worth having a read through, and it discusses the ‘10 Advantages of Waking Up Early‘.  Feel free to quickly check it out, and then come on back.

Your body and mind operate on natural rhythms, which are inseparably linked to your health, wellbeing, productivity, and happiness.  I guarantee, you will notice a very big change in a short amount of time. Since Forbes mentioned that you should ‘make your day top-heavy’, this is another big point I want to cover.


#4: Do the hard stuff first, and then make it get easier.

Ok, so now that you know exactly what you want, you’re motivated, your mind and body are refreshed and recharged with a good night’s sleep –it’s time to plan out your day by this simple fact: the longer you work, the more tired you get. When that Forbes article said to make your day ‘top-heavy’, it meant that you should do the more difficult tasks first thing in the morning.

In fact, according to researchers, you’ll actually be more creative when you’re a bit groggy in the morning.  Our minds are at their best pretty much right after we’ve charged our batteries –which would seem pretty darn obvious, but we do tend to miss the little things, don’t we? But with creativity, also comes productivity, because we’re able to think outside the box, helping us solve those tough problems in the best ways.

If you take care of the tough stuff early on, then your mind can keep up as your workday winds to a close.


So, What Do You Think?

Basically, the antithesis of balancing work and happiness is suffering from good ol’ fashioned burnout.  But, you’re better than that. Most big aspects of life are in a delicate balance, as you learn how to dance in harmony with life’s natural ebbs and flows.  The key is to understand your own mind and body, know where you’re going, and stay motivated to make your dreams a reality.

balance work and happiness 3

Though, there is a good chance I might have missed an awesome tidbit in these ‘four simple rules’, and I am a BIG fan of crowdsourcing.  So, if I might ask a favor. Do you have any of your own unique tips or tricks that have helped you balance happiness and work?  If so, please leave it in the comments below because we’d love to hear about it.

Don’t worry about today.  Have a relaxing evening and a full night’s sleep… because tomorrow, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals.


Roxana Saidi

In June 2011, Roxana became the third founding team member of The Kerry Gaynor Method. Kerry’s mission to rid the world of cigarettes was a very personal one as many of her friends and acquaintances had already quit smoking thanks to Kerry. Roxana regards her role at the company not as a position, but instead as a leader in a movement to eradicate death, suffering and illness due to cigarettes.



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