Work-life balance books can help readers gain perspective on how to achieve that elusive goal for themselves and their companies.
“I don’t have a life outside of work.” This is a common mantra for full-time employees who are more focused on their jobs than their private lives. Working long hours with no personal life is rarely anyone’s original intention, but it ends up being the reality. Balancing both is challenging, as work duties, deadlines, and big projects can take over, leaving little time to spend with family and friends.
Being out of balance isn’t healthy. Working more and playing less can lead to mental and physical problems, not to mention family problems and isolation. These, in turn, can create low morale, decreased productivity, and employee disengagement. It’s a vicious cycle. And it’s a topic many authors have written about.
You can learn how to manage work-life balance without busting your bank account. Many authors write books to help people understand and find a positive work-life balance or create it as part of their company’s culture. Here are some of our favorites.
Working long hours with no personal life is rarely anyone’s original intention, but it ends up being the reality.
“Becoming,” by Michelle Obama
The former first lady – a wife, mother, and executive – is a study in work-life balance. In this memoir, she tells the story of her roots, finding herself, and her time in the White House. Her entertaining, honest, witty account has inspired many readers.
“Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle,” by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
The title says it all as the authors, who are sisters, describe strategies to avoid exhaustion resulting from the stress of maintaining work-life balance. This book is written especially for women and the struggles they face with achieving a better work life balance. It includes tactical tools women can put into action to create positive change.
“Couples That Work,” by Jennifer Petriglieri
In this book the well-known professor and author provides a roadmap to work-life balance by prompting couples to ask themselves important questions like “What do we really want and who are we now?” She identifies three phases in every couple’s work-life journey, and helps figure out how to do the self work to handle the challenges dual career couples face.
“Fair Play,” by Eve Rodsky
Geared toward women and couples, this book offers a game-changing solution for a more equitable way to live. The full title spells out Rodsky’s aspirations: “Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live).”
Complete with a list of starter questions and 100 household tasks, this book shows couples how to get chores done more efficiently, so they have more time to devote to their personal life. If you’re drowning in your to-do list, this book is sure to help.
“Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” by David Allen
The business consultant and work coach explains how productivity is directly related to our ability to relax. It was published almost 15 years ago, but is still one of the most influential pieces of its era. Recently rewritten to encompass the changes in the workplace, this should be at the top of the reading list for anyone wanting to learn more about organization and life balance.
“Life Matters,” by A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca A. Merrill
This book is touted as “a groundbreaking guide to achieving true life balance from the experts at the Covey Institute.” “Life Matters: Creating a Dynamic Balance of Work, Family, Time, and Money” is one of the best books about balancing work and life available. The authors, experts in time management, offer tips as a roadmap to success in work and happiness at home. Their book “First Things First” should also be on your reading list.
“It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work,” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
In this book, the authors introduce the concept of the “calm company” that eschews excessive work hours and aggressive work cultures. They talk about their own experiences at their successful company, which is based on the premise that less waste and fewer distractions are key success drivers, instead of longer hours. Their book “Rework” offers a fresh perspective, too.
“Off Balance,” by Matthew Kelly
This author is a prolific writer, motivational speaker, and business consultant who has written numerous business titles. In “Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction,” Kelly examines how people can find satisfaction in life and work. It was a follow up to “The Dream Manager,” A business parable about how companies can succeed by helping workers fulfill their dreams.
“Pearls of Wisdom: Little Pieces of Advice,” by Barbara Bush
The late first lady’s compilation of wisdom collected throughout her storied life includes lessons about faith, family, and close friends. Thought-provoking and humorous, this book has something for everyone trying to figure out the true measures of balance in their life.
“Win at Work and Succeed at Life,” by Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller
Michael Hyatt is an author and entrepreneur and Megan Hyatt Miller, his daughter, is the president and CEO of his company. Their book explains how you can achieve work-life balance and clarity. The book also features research and case studies.
Add to your resources
Obtaining work-life balance may seem like an impossible task. It’s not out of reach if you are willing to understand what you need to do to achieve it. There are plenty of resources that arm you with actionable insights that can create true change. Take a deep breath and dive in!