We all know an imminent deadline can often be the cause of a few extra hours in the office past 5 pm, but a recent article in The Guardian discussing #ElonMusk’s jaw-dropping work schedule, which involves working such long hours he forgot to celebrate his own birthday, prompted me to consider just how work can often consume us until we reach breaking point and why it is so important to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

[caption id="attachment_2242" align="alignright" width="282"] A healthy work-life balance is very important[/caption]

We’ve written before about how Elon Musk has been a driving force in the evolution of infrastructure, but look into the innovator’s story still further and you’ll see he has his fingers in many pies – most notably, as chief executive of Tesla. However, it seems that his work ethic to keep the launch of the firm’s latest model on track has sparked debate over the concept of ‘workaholism’ and whether this approach is indeed productive.

Thankfully, we don’t all have to work 120-hour weeks and miss our own birthday, however, it’s not uncommon for people in high-pressure roles to bring their work home with them - but at what sacrifice?

As managing director of Clare PR agency for 30 years, I have for the past few years, been an advocate of a healthy work/life balance. In my early career, I would work all the hours under the sun to get jobs done, but I was not necessarily working at my maximum energy levels. Over the years, I’ve realised that I can get as much done - in fact, in some cases, more - in fewer hours, if I plan my day properly.

Now and again clients’ needs do call for a longer day, especially when there is a pressing deadline, but I feel that a regular recurrence of this routine would be cause for concern and raise serious questions. Is my business adequately staffed? Am I working as efficiently as possible? Do I consistently work on a tight schedule?

[caption id="attachment_2248" align="alignleft" width="364"]working Clare and friends out walking[/caption]

Not only can this work ethic be physically draining, mentally the results can be disastrous and undoubtedly would be reflected in the work produced for our clients. Leaving the office literally and psychologically gives us all a chance to refuel and be re-energised. Indeed, some of my best ideas are devised when I’m relaxed walking my dog, Maisie.

For someone as passionate as me, it’s impossible to switch off completely (especially when Clare PR’s HQ is situated in an adjoining building to our home) but I’ve come to realise that enforcing boundaries is critical and time spent with loved ones is so valuable to me and my business, and ultimately my clients will reap the benefits.

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