Work/life balance


Anyone else struggle with the whole work/life balance thing?

In our Get Started in UX ebook we advocate taking on a personal project or helping out a non-profit in order to build your portfolio, and I take my own advice regularly—but I’ll be the first to admit that it means I end up working crazy hours. I go through phases of being better at maintaining balance, but I’ve still got a lot to learn.

Anyone feel like they’ve got this balance right? Would love to hear your tips on how to perform this juggling act better! :slight_smile:


Yes I struggle with this big time!

On a ‘normal’ day I work as a UX-er 7:30 to 3:30 and then I go home and work on personal projects as well as my personal and guest blogging work. My husband cooks dinner and I work through dinner all the way up to about 8pm and then we go to the gym. After that I go home and go to sleep. Don’t even get me started on the days where I’m still at the office after 6pm!

Weekends are spent; reading, researching and doing online courses and all the housework I failed to do during the week.

I just can’t switch my UX-y brain off. It’s really hard for me to stop.

So, yes I would love some tips too :slight_smile:


Great subject Matt. I feel like I kinda have it mastered, although it does mean long hours. I start work at 5am and finish at 9pm (usually with a glass of wine in my hand – that makes it balanced right?) so that I can fit in being a full time mum for my kids when they’re not at school or asleep, and also indulge my exercise obsession. My boyfriend and I have made a commitment to not working one day in the weekend (unless one of us has a launch or something) and we mostly manage to stick to that.

Because I freelance I have more flexibility than most, but along with 5 year old twins and a major house renovation underway, things are pretty busy.


About 12-18 months ago I was thinking UX every waking moment, if I wasn’t working on projects, I was reading / learning / absorbing. I finished a Gamification MOOC about 6 months ago and since then I have definitely taken the foot off the gas a little, and to be honest I have found it really beneficial. Instead of swimming in new ideas all of the time I feel that I’m able to reflect on lessons already learned, which I am finding is as useful as pushing myself (and probably a lot more healthier)!


I guess it depends on where you are down the road, and how much you take on, in terms of work/life balance. I’m not sure I have it, but I’m a lot more careful about burn out than I used to be.

I’m up at 6.15am in order to get ready and tidy our flat, and dropped at the bus station to take the bus at 7.20am. I have around a 20 min trip to work (or 40 if I miss my normal bus), this allows me to catch up on my UX reading and different feeds. I then work from 8am - 4.30am, and take the bus home again, allowing me more reading time.
I’m a little naughty, I also tend to eat lunch at my desk and catch up on news, or complete some personal project work, unless I’m doing yoga/pilates, so I don’t give myself an actual break.
Getting home around 5.30pm, I make dinner for my partner and I, then we either work on individual projects, go to the gym, boardgames or Karate classes. Due to my introverted tendencies, I tend to get very tired if I’m out and about a lot after work, so I try and have a minimum of 2 nights where I stay at home to recharge.

Like Hawk, I try and have one day in the weekend where I’m not doing work of any kind, usually the Sunday, in order to recharge by Monday. This gives me Saturday to work on projects, interspersed with tennis.

So I think the thing that helps me the most is learning how much I can handle, and saying no to things that I can’t so that I don’t burn out, or become so stressed my productivity suffers. I also think that the physical activity gives a nice change of pace and helps to burn off any frustrations felt throughout the week. Setting a time that you do stop working and are in bed by is also good, because it sets a standard that your health, and being recharged and more focused is higher priority than staying up slogging away.


I’m guilty of this too - I eat at my desk every day