When people talk about work-life balance, they mostly focus on the work part of it - you don't want your work to take over your life. But I've come to realize that the balance is the truly important part - it's not just not letting work take over your life, it's also not letting your life interfere with your work. I'm fortunate to work for a company that cares about work-life balance, and because of that, I haven't hesitated to do all the life things - whether that's an optometrist visit for new glasses, a new workout class, or just time with friends. And while I love having the opportunity to focus more on enjoying life, there have been times when I felt like I did a bad job finding the balance.
A few weeks ago, I had a week where I felt super productive, but a little tired. I kept pushing, adding things that I wanted/needed to do to my personal schedule, but I found myself basically existing on coffee at work (I'm pretty much always drinking coffee at work, but mostly it's because I love coffee, not because I'm super tired). I still kept going, and eventually I ended up adjusting my personal plans to allow for more sleep. While this situation ended up okay, I could easily see myself focusing on my personal schedule and goals to the point where I was too exhausted to focus properly at work (honestly, I think I had that in late 2018 when I was training for the Walt Disney World Marathon). It's important to focus on accomplishing your personal goals, but make sure that you take the time you need to rest, relax, and be ready for work.
Another situation where I felt that I struggled to find balance happened just last week, when I took on too many personal commitments and allowed that to interfere with my commitment to work. Over the course of the week, I took on more personal commitments, and by the time Friday came around, I knew that I had too much to do and not enough in which to do it before or after work. I decided to work from home on Friday so that I could work on things around the apartment while working. Ultimately, I was able to get everything done, but I kept letting my personal tasks distract me and I know I wasn't as committed to my work as I would have been had I been in the office. This wasn't a big deal because it was the first time it happened, but when you continually overschedule your personal life, it can have a significant impact on your productivity at work.
As much as I hate losing productivity at work, work is not my entire life, so I don't mind being less productive once in a while. What I do mind is when that loss of productivity is prolonged (because I don't like feeling like I'm not contributing) or when it starts to bleed into my life. Sometimes having a rough work at week can make me grouchy or irritable when I get home from work, and that too contributes to my loss of work-life balance.
I believe that it's very important to focus on work-life balance. You can't let work interfere with your ability to live your life in the way that makes you happy. But remember that it's a balance - too much of one can have a big impact on the other. Finding the right balance between dedication to your work and commitment to your life can be hard, but every so often you'll have one of those weeks where you feel like you struck the perfect balance, and that's when you know that the hard work is worth it.