Richard Branson: The need for work-life balance

Virgin Founder, Richard Branson has spent 50 years trying to balance a career with life, love and fun. He has learned a lot along the way and shares his thoughts and experiences on his insightful blog – which he updates every weekday.

As we launch into the new financial year, we asked Richard Branson to gives us some wisdom about how to best achieve work-life balance.

How to achieve work-life balance

Work-life balance is an increasingly hot topic; driving wellbeing in the workplace to the top of company agendas. It’s an area we continuously look into at Virgin – we even held a Virgin Disruptors debate about the topic.

As technology advances at a rapid rate, the world is becoming more and more connected; making many people available by phone or email, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While initiatives like flexible working are helping to reduce the stresses caused by hyper-connectivity, unfortunately burn out is still a very real thing.

One of the best pieces of advice I have learned over 50 years in business is that to combat burn out we all need to add another bullet point to our growing to do lists – ‘to be’.

It’s important to prepare for the demands of the everyday, but it’s equally as crucial to enjoy life. Alongside the meetings, appointments and email replies, find time to be inspired, take in the beauty of the world, and laugh with your loved ones.

Take that trip to Melbourne to uncover the city’s inspiring streetscape, wonderful galleries, and rich history. Visit those long-lost relatives or friends in Sydney that you haven’t seen for a decade. Escape to Queensland to enjoy the warmer weather, and soak your toes in the sand on the water’s edge. Plan that Western Australia adventure you’ve always dreamed about, stopping in at towns and cities along the state’s rugged prehistoric coastline. Slow down, breathe it in, be present in the moment.

Balancing doing and being has been a lifelong journey for me; affecting almost every business and life decision I have made. The journey hasn’t always been easy, and a huge step was certainly moving to Necker Island. Freed from the stresses of the hustle and bustle, I have been able to find inspiration and fresh insight on a daily basis, to the point that I now no longer have to seek a work-life balance. Obviously, owning an island isn’t within everybody’s reach, but we should all find our own ‘island’. A place where we stop doing to begin being.

As I recently blogged, we are human beings not human doings – so let’s start acting like it. Take the time to appreciate the fruits of life. At the end of the day, life is for living; and living is about health and happiness. Remember the to-do list, but don't forget the to-be list. Go on, get out there and enjoy yourself. Just be.

When was the last time you took a moment to be? I’d like to hear about it, tweet me @RichardBranson.

Richard Branson loves to blog, and does so every weekday on Read more, follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, or find out what’s in store for the future of travel.

Words by Richard Branson - Published June 2015
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