How to Stop Burning the Candle at Both Ends and Invest in the Work-Life Balance

We all want to live life to the fullest, and the good news is, we can! All it takes is just a few easy steps, and of course, knowing when to use the magic word…no.

Especially in early life and career, we are taught to seize every opportunity and say ‘yes!’ to everything. Which, admittedly, is a good thing – at least initially. 

By saying ‘yes!’ to everything we open doors, networks, and moments of personal and professional growth that may not have been possible otherwise. Additionally, (and most importantly) saying ‘yes!’ is a great way of establishing our boundaries.

We each have differing levels of capacity. Some of us may be able to work late into the night and burn the midnight oil consistently, and yet still be able to wake up early, exercise, be productive at work, and do the same all over again.

Some of us, however, might be able to exclusively operate on 8 hours of sleep, and lack the mental and/or physical battery after a full day of work to extend ourselves late into the evening. Both circumstances – and all those in between – are completely normal, and vehemently individual.

We have to push our boundaries to recognise our limits. This is how we learn not only when to say no, but when we need to say no.

An important thing to know when navigating the work-life balance is when you work best

If you are one of those (lucky) ones that can function on barely any sleep and be productive all day long, congratulations, you are under the chronotype (a persons’ inclination for when they prefer to be asleep and awake) of dolphin, and you make up 10% of the population; typically creative and scatter brain, these individuals need to prioritise winding down before going to bed to avoid being kept awake by their thoughts.

15% of the population are lions: they are morning people and tend to be most productive between the hours of 6am and 11am. 

If this is you, you may notice yourself needing a nap to stave off the afternoon crash!

The other 15% of the population are wolves. 

These people function best at night, between the hours of 8pm and 2am. 

They tend to need more than the average amount of sleep – which is totally fine and normal! Just because you are more productive at night does not mean you are any less productive.

Most of the population (55%) are bears, and their energy follows the sun. They can be productive all day and typically do not struggle to get enough sleep. The 9-5 workday is music to their ears!

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So, now you know your chronotype, how does that help you to thrive in both work and life?

Great question! While it may be difficult for you to tailor your individual sleep proclivities to mandated working hours, having an awareness of when you are most energetic (and lethargic) is a great tool for you to know when to tackle those harder tasks, and be your most productive.

Knowing your personality type

Another great method to help you realise when to blow out that candle, is knowing your personality type. There are 16 different ones! – each are individual and contribute different strengths and weaknesses to work, and life.

For me personally, I am a Campaigner (ENFP-T), which means my strengths are curiosity, perceptivity, and enthusiasm, for example, and my weaknesses are people-pleasing, unfocused, and disorganised. 

How has this helped me increase performance in my social and vocational occupations? 

Well, I know that I am fuelled by passionate and meaningful work, and I need to monitor my boundaries when agreeing to take on new projects; I will often say yes without thinking and leave myself overwhelmed. 

Knowing your personality type can help you exercise more control and engage more consciously with yourself and partnerships.


Achieving the work-life balance seems like an impossible task, and it does take work and constant monitoring. But, with these easy steps, you can start saying no to things that don’t fulfil you, and be the leader of your own, unique journey.

ProspHER can support you in evolving your story and progressing professionally with passion, purpose and power – find out how here.

This article was researched and written by Bronte Littlewood, Freelance writer at ProspHER.

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