Yup Guys, there you have it! I cannot talk enough about this one.

Work-Life-Balance! But how is it really and what does it take?

Just downshift and pull the emergency brake. I speak from experience. There was a time when I spent 50 – 60 hours in the office and didn’t notice how I was increasingly harming myself. Forgotten lunch breaks. Coming home late in the evening. Let sports be canceled. Not meeting many friends anymore. I’ve been through all this. Fortunately, I pulled the emergency brake in time. I quit my job and started my master studies. For many people, this came out of nowhere. For me, this was the logical way out of the hamster wheel, which turned faster and faster. Downshifting means to step down professionally and to choose a balanced work-life-balance instead of a career. It is a courageous step, even unthinkable for many employees, and usually means the end of the big career. At the same time, however, downshifting is often the last chance to avert burnout syndrome or a similar stress-related mental or physical illness. Choosing to downshift also means saying goodbye to the high levels of stress, hustle and bustle, and time pressure that exist in many companies.

The numbers of mental or physical illnesses caused by stress at work, conflicts in the team or otherwise in the job are constantly increasing at a rapid pace. Professional happiness is linked to many different factors. One of these, of course, is weekly working hours. And this is exactly where downshifting comes in. But how much work is “too much work”? With regard to downshifting, this means that the “optimum” working time for you always correlates with your private situation. Here it is difficult to give an exact figure. Nevertheless, there does seem to be a workload that experts consider to be “perfect”. This is the six-hour workday as recently introduced as a pilot project in some Swedish companies. The model is based on the assumption that workers can work more concentrated in just six hours and thus as productive as in eight hours, with numerous advantages:

-better work-life balance

-Less absenteeism due to illness and absenteeism

-protection of the mental and physical health of workers

-Increased motivation and thus also productivity

-improved performance due to longer relaxation times

-greater identification with the employer and thus better employee retention

The results of the pilot project not only confirmed these advantages but in some cases even exceeded them. According to the participating companies, productivity during the six-hour working day not only remained the same but even increased compared to the eight-hour working day. In Germany, however, it has so far remained the exception rather than the rule.

You don’t want to make a career? Work is not your top priority? You can’t necessarily hope for the understanding of your fellow human beings, especially your colleagues, with this attitude to life. After all, we still live in the culture of classical German virtues. This is how an exemplary German worker has to behave. We cannot complain about this, as we owe our economic power and general prosperity to this attitude to life. However, we also owe to this culture the increasing numbers of mental and physical illnesses. Self-exploitation has become one of its cornerstones. Downshifting as an emergency brake comes just in time. However, it is far from being accepted by society, and you must be aware of this if you decide to go down this road. It is well known that swimming against the tide is more difficult than swimming with it.

When asked what is more important to them, money or lifetime, most people would probably answer with the latter. However, they are not only held back by social pressure but often they have also already entered the vicious circle of consumption and financial prosperity that is customary in this country. Those who have a high income usually invest it in a large apartment or an expensive car with high consequential costs. And those who have a lot have a lot to lose. So we continue to work in order to maintain or even increase the standard of living, which in turn brings with it a higher financial obligation and here the circle closes. Really happy, however, only rarely does that happen. Consumption always leads to even more consumption and people forget to be satisfied. However, many people only realize this when it is (almost) too late. The longer they wait, the more difficult the jump becomes. In order to stick to this metaphor, it may be time to simply hold your nose, close your eyes and take the plunge into cold water.


Thank you for your support! I don’t know what to say?! I’ve never really counted on many readers and it’s mainly just to express myself and share my thoughts, but each of you motivates me to write the next article despite my normal work week and private life. This has been Article number 20!