Intern Life

Balancing Your Work and Life: Sometimes You Have to Set Limits

The holidays are a special time of year for a lot of people. It is a time of year when many families get together and celebrate. It is also a time of year where many people reflect back on the year that just passed and create lists for the year to come. Many articles also surface around this time of year and discuss strategies to create resolution lists for the upcoming year.

This is not one of those articles.

Our lives are full of lists. Grocery lists that organize what we buy at the supermarket. Bucket lists that we cross out with each achievement. Lists of the best places to visit, the world’s richest people, and even lists of multilevel  marketing schemes exists in a website dedicated to lists1. With a plethora of lists and things to see and do, our lives can become unbalanced. While lists created using SMART goals2 or SWOT analysis3 can be helpful in enabling you to achieve your career goals, sometimes you have to take a step back and look at your work-life balance.

The question is: What is work-life balance and what can I do about it?

Work-life balance involves balancing your work life with your life outside of work4, such as leisure and family time. 16 percent of employees in the United States report that they have a hard time balancing their lives between work and their families5. Additionally, while technology can increase our productivity at work, it can adversely affect our life at home6.

To illustrate this, let us imagine for the moment that you are a newly hired intern at a company. You and your boss were working on a power point presentation for the meeting on Monday morning and you managed to finish the presentation right before the weekend. You go home to your family. On Sunday afternoon, you are about to leave to dinner when your boss sends you a text message with the power point presentation as an attachment. Your boss wants you to add some multimedia to “spruce up” the power point. Do you cancel plans with your family to work on the presentation?

This holiday season, while you are spending time with your family, friends, or loved ones, take a moment to enjoy their presence. As you prepare your list for the New Year, take a step back and reflect. Perhaps, instead of thinking about lists and assessing your career goals, put that pen and paper down. That can wait for another day. Go back to your friends, family and loved ones. Work-life balance is about taking the time to enjoy life. Otherwise, you may wake up twenty years later with a nice car and house, but no cherished memories to fill your life with substance.


­1. Currie, J., & Eveline, J. (2011). E-technology and work/life balance for academics with young children. Higher Education, 62(4), 533-550.

2. Franco, G. (2014). How to use S.M.A.R.T. goals to achieve success. Retrieved from


­3. Franco, G. (2015). Using SWOT analysis to build your career. Retrieved from

4. Gora, G. (2015). 10 shocking facts about multilevel marketing schemes. Retrieved from

5. Guest, D. E. (2002). Perspectives on the study of work-life balance. Social Science Information, 41(2), 255-279.

6. Alterman, T; Luckhaupt, SE; Dahlhamer, JM; Ward, BW; Calvert, GM (June 2013). Job insecurity, work-family imbalance, and hostile work environment: Prevalence data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey. Am J Ind Med 56 (6): 660–669. doi:10.1002/ajim.22123

Author: Gilbert Franco

Image Credit: Muhammed Shamil

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Gilbert Franco

Gilbert Franco works and volunteers his time as an independent HR and business consultant. He is a clinical supervisor at the McAlister institute where he supervises master's level interns and trainees. He is also the author of Chronicles of Essencia: My Lost Wing and has completed his dissertation on "Productivity standards, marriage and family therapist job satisfaction and turnover intent." For further questions, email Gilbert at