• Anita Chastain, MBA

28 Work-Life Balance Quotes to Inspire You to Work Less and Live More

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

Work is a slice of your life. It's not the entire pizza. - Jacquelyne Mitchard

Have you ever stopped to think about how much time you spend working, thinking about work, going to work, and going back home again? It turns out, for many people, it's a lot of time.

Take a look at these numbers:

  • On a workday, 50% of your waking hours are spent at work. This percentage assumes you work an eight-hour day and sleep eight hours a night. If you work a ten-hour day, you will spend 63% of your waking hours that day at work.

  • If you have a short commute to work, 36% of your day will be spent working and getting to and from work. This assumes a short, 20-minute one-way commute to work. According to the Census Bureau, the average one-way commute time in the U.S. is 26.1 minutes, so you could spend more than 36% of your day working and commuting.

  • If you work full-time for 50 years, you will spend 75% of your adult life working. If you start working at 18 and work full-time until you are 68, assuming you live to be 85, you will have spent 75% of your adult life working.

Over time, the long hours we devote to our careers often hurt more than they help us. Filling your life with long days of work over a really long period of time leads to burnout, and burnout makes you resentful.

What makes you resentful also makes you unhappy over the long term.

Most people will never feel truly satisfied if work is the only thing they have in their life. So, what do you do? I believe the answer is to prioritize balance in your life. You make family, health, and friends a bigger part of your life.

Prioritizing life outside of work requires three things:

  1. Rethinking what healthy boundaries are for you,

  2. Opting for different choices in how you spend and manage your time; and

  3. Spending time doing the things you've decided to prioritize in your life.

To inspire you, here is a list of work-life balance quotes that emphasize setting personal boundaries and making decisions that help us do a better job of putting the most important things in life first.

What is Balance in Life?

Balance may look different to different people, but ultimately, balance is about making a personal commitment to prioritize the right things in your life and sticking with those priorities.

That commitment often boils down to making a promise to yourself that you will never get so busy in one area of life that other areas of your life fall apart.

When you have balance in your life, one part of your life doesn't take from another part. You don't feel torn, for example, between work and your personal life.

Here's how Joshua Osenga describes balance:

"Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; it's a sense of harmony. It is essential to maintaining quality in life and work."

A commitment to balance in your life is the first step in making decisions that empower you to live a happy, healthy, and meaningful life.


Related: 54 Positive Quotes to Inspire Your Day


7 Work-Life Balance Quotes About Time

These quotes will inspire you to rethink how you spend the hours and days of your life:

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important. - Stephen Covey

Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices. - Betsy Jacobson

Balance is paying attention to the things that matter the most and the time that they matter most. - Kolette Hall

We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in. - Arianna Huffington

The more often you decline invitations to spend time with friends or family because you are too busy with either work or other activities, the more you should realize that your life is not in balance. - Byron Pulsifer

Invest in your work-life balance. Time with friends and family is as important as time at work. Getting that out of balance is a path toward unhappiness. - Stephen Gillett

Women, in particular, need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list. - Michelle Obama


Related: 15 Things to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed


6 Work-Life Balance Quotes About Work and Career

These quotes will inspire you to rethink the importance of your career in your life, especially when that career is creating problems in other areas of your life:

You can't truly be considered successful in your business if your home life is in shambles. - Zig Ziglar

You can't do a good job if your job is all you do. - Katie Thurmes

You don't have to make yourself miserable to be successful. - Andrew Wilkinson

There are many successful businesses but few successful families... Without healthy relationships with family and friends, a person doesn't truly have personal freedom. His life is out of balance. - Benjamin P. Hardy

You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life. - Heather Schuck

Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy. - Sheryl Sandberg

9 Work-Life Balance Quotes About Life

The quotes will inspire you to reconsider what quality of life is really about:

You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. - Marissa Mayer

We have overstretched our personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from living an authentic life fueled with a sense of purpose and balance. - Kathleen Hall

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. - Dolly Parton

It's all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family. - Philip Green

...Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls - family, health, friends, integrity - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, perhaps even shattered. - Gary Keller

Don't confuse having a career with having a life. - Hillary Clinton

A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night. - Marilyn Monroe

Do less, be more. - Elizabeth Grace Saunders

Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. - Shonda Rhimes


Related: 25 Simple Habits to Bring Happiness into Your Life


6 Work-Life Balance Quotes About Family

These quotes will make you stop and think about the importance of family in your life:

Never forget. Your family should always have priority over your work. - Mary Kay Ash

Family first. Work next. Because there's no replacement for a family lost. - Unknown

Love those close to you: Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationship is. - Ev Williams

If you want to change the world, go home and love your family. - Mother Teresa

When in doubt, choose the kids. There will be plenty of time later to choose work. - Anna Quindlen

The most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home. - Unknown


Work-life balance means making choices - what you do and how much you do those things.

Work-life balance also means setting boundaries so that you don't get so busy making a living that you let the rest of your life fall away.

When you set better boundaries in life, it's easier to figure out how to spend your time. Making those choices is easier because you know yourself well enough to make decisions that are good for your personal life, not just your work life.

Setting better boundaries helps you feel more satisfied with all aspects of your life. And experiencing that satisfaction is an outcome worth working toward.

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