My top five tips for work-life balance

By Richard Branson

Achieving work-life balance is like walking a tightrope. Lean too far one way and you’ll lose your stability and topple. Overseeing a global company for numerous decades I’ve witnessed this happen time and time again, but thankfully I have learned a number of tips along the way on how to find equilibrium. Here are my top five tips for work-life balance.

Don’t just do, be

One of the best pieces of advice I have learned over 50 years in business is that to balance life and work we all need to add yet another bullet point to our growing to do lists – ‘to be’. Alongside the meetings, appointments and email replies, find time to be inspired, take in the beauty of the world, and laugh with our loved ones. If you slow down, breathe, and be present in the moment you will find balance more easily. Balancing doing and being has been a lifelong lesson for me, one in which I have learned to remember the to-do list, but don’t forget the to-be list.

Work hard, play hard

It’s no secret that I like to play as hard as I work. I’ve always lived the ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy, believing that it’s one of the best ways to achieve balance. Having a busy career, doesn’t mean that you can’t live your life to the fullest. Prioritise time with your loved ones and put it in your work calendar as you would a meeting. Put on your out of office alert – I had mine on around my birthday. Go on, let your hair down.

Love what you do and do what you love

I’ve never really thought of work and life as separate. My work is my life, and vice versa. If you can find a career you are passionate about, working hard doesn’t have to be a chore. We spend roughly 80 per cent of our lives at work, so it’s important that we find jobs that we love. If you think of work as a chore and dread turning up every day, maybe it’s time that you consider a career change.

Seek wellbeing in the workplace

If you are looking to change careers or start a new job, seek a company that gives you choice and promotes your wellbeing. At Virgin, we’re actively trying to combat the pressures of modern-day hyper-connectivity with a number of initiatives that support the wellbeing of our people. Our Virgin Management offices encourage flexible working, have an unlimited leave policy, and have recently introduced shared parental leave. These initiatives promote choice; and by empowering our people with choice, they have been able to find a better balance between their work and private lives, and through this balance they have become happier, more engaged and more productive.

When it all goes wrong, don’t worry

We all fall off the tightrope and make mistakes sometimes. The important thing is to learn from it, get back on, and get it right the next time.

Do you have a tip for achieving work-life balance? I’d like to hear about it in the comments below.