Work–life balance

Listen to a radio interview about maintaining a good work–life balance to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.


Presenter: Good morning, everyone. On today's show, we've got Chris Svensson with us, the author of No more nine to five, the new best-selling book about work–life balance in the current working world. Good morning, Chris. Thanks for coming.

Chris: Thanks for having me, Anna.

Presenter: So, Chris, tell us about your book and how the concept of a work–life balance has been changing?

Chris: Well, in the more traditional workplaces, people's working lives and their private lives are, or were, clearly divided. People often work from nine in the morning until five or six in the evening. People sometimes stay late in the office and work in the evenings. This is called working overtime.

Presenter: OK, and what else?

Chris: Well, in these environments it isn't common for people to work at the weekend or while they're on holiday. They can clearly separate their working lives and their private lives. And the evenings, weekends and holidays are free to focus on non-work areas of life, such as hobbies, interests, sports, spending time with the family and friends, and so on. It's important and healthy not to spend all your time just working, right?

Presenter: Right! So what has changed? How are things different now?

Chris: Well, for a start, most people can now access their work emails from their mobile phones. So they are more likely to quickly reply to an important mail in the evening or at the weekend. The same goes for laptops. It's easier to access your work in the evenings from home or even from your hotel when you're on holiday.

Presenter: That doesn't sound like much of a work–life balance. It sounds like all work.

Chris: Exactly, but this new mobility brings a lot of advantages with it. More people are now able to work flexibly, so if they need to leave the office early one afternoon to be with their family, they can catch up on work that evening from home or somewhere else.

Presenter: That sounds good. So, what you're saying is that although traditional divisions between work and life are fading, many employees now have more freedom to do their work from different locations and at different times.

Chris: Yes, that's it.

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Worksheet92.63 KB

Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)

I try to don't have dead time. I work, exercise and when I am free I do something like studying, being with my family and friends. I try to make a balance in my life.

I'm student at University of Medicine. You know, I must study hard about medicine. Social life is important for me. For instance; playing tennis, walking, cycling, dancing and being with friends and family. I try to finde all of things. They are supporting to me for studying. I am good at scheduling. I think, I have to that. :)

I get up early. Actually the time is 5 or 6 a.m. First thing when getting up is the pray to Allah and read Qur'an. Then I have a breakfast and start doing my routine work.

I always work. I find the work even at weekends. I work from 8 am to 3 pm four days a week, but this is only one of my jobs. The rest of the time I work as a tutor, create my courses, search new clients, so I surely say, I'm a busy woman. I don't have work-life balance. Work is the priority for me. Work is my life).

With the pandemic, del world has changed. The world has addapted to use a new technologies, to me this is good because for some people it helped to be more productive, has a balance, spare time with their families. But for the people who works with technolgies ir more exigent to keep all the devices working.

I work from half past 7 a.m until 5 p.m during the week, so I have free time in the evenings for practising sports and going to the gym. On weekends I sometimes go to shopping or to the cinema to a mall with some relatives or friends.

Well, I try to maintain a positive wok-life balance in which I could be able to get my day job done on time and get home after that without the need of keep worrying about my tasks or what it would need to be done the next day, it's important to me not to fade the limits of work and personal life because we all need some time to rest, study, meet with friends or do whatever we want in our spare time, the concept of work is to do a mental or physical activity effort in exchange for money and I wouldn't be able to do that all the day because I need the freedom to do other things. Despite sometimes I reckon I do some overtime to get some work done on time and to get more money, I prefer not to do that very often. In my line of work I consider the mobility an advantage because I don't spend time traveling to an office so I would have more free time before and after work.

Thanks for the lesson.
Great site!

I manage my work-life balance by doing charts and using calendars to have better management of my time and distribute well my things to do in my work and personal life.

Time management is my key in balancing my work-life. I make sure that after work, I spend time with my family.

I manage my work-life balance by traditional type. My working lives and my private lives are clearly divided. Because of the Corona pandemic, so I am working from Home. I usually work from half past nine in the morning until half past six in the evening in the days of week. I prefer traditional type to modern type because I can focus on my work at the fixed time and don't need to worry about it in weekends or holidays. I think that's really balanced.

althought i work from home as freelencer developer using my computer , i still using traditional way because it separate my private private live than work , i always start working from ten o'clock to afternoon then i take on hour for lunch and tacke a nap ,then i go back to work again until six o'clock, at this that time i stop my work until tomorro. i don't like modern way because it keep me thinking in work full day , also it didn't keep my day organised.

I have no private life so questions of work life balance never arises. I'm not married and focus on one thing only my growth.

I`m happy of that I saw in my life even of 30 years both ways Traditional and Modern workplace. Traditional in Bulgaria and Modern in UK and in both of them have + and - But with modern I have more money and that`s mean less time for hobbies, but if I make good plan, I can do excellent combination. In traditional workplace, everything is ok... but Modern provide more flexibility... Now I`m new mummy and plans I can do when baby sleeping :D but still if I prioritise tasks, I have time for everything :)
I don't any work right now, but when I do, I could manage my time between work, family and hobbies. It was my routine that moment. Now, when I'm unemployed, I keep an routine that starts reading, then cooking and finally studying english just before loof my daughter after at the afternnons.
Actually I don't have a job. However, I have University classes, and I study English on my own. I have a strict schedule and actually I'm not really good at following it because sometimes time flows, and I get stressful, so my schedule is something like this: 1) I wake at 6:30 or 7:00 am to read the material of my classes (I read the material in English because I use an app to translate it from Spanish into English) 3) At 8:00 am my classes start, sometimes they are from 8 to 11:00 am or from 8 to 12:00 pm 4) I try to do the homework during the class time 5) When my classes finish I eat my breakfast. Well, this is not common. I usually eat my breakfast during the classes. 6) Then I get ready to practice my English until lunch time 7) When I finish my lunch I get back to study English again until dinner time 8) Finally, when I finish my dinner I talk to my parents about their day, and also I relax a little bit 9) After done that at night, I study English for a little bit longer 10) Finally, I go to sleep
Yes, it's a good idea to make a plan before action. "An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing". :)
My work life and private life is very flexible. I think most of the people in this world have modern work life where flexibility exist. I manage very my work life very efficiently. I go to watch movies or do swimming. And spend precious time with family. In this time my country official announced lockdown due to very dangerous variant of covid. I'm doing Work from home. I have much spend time with family and friends.
I try to manage the work-life balance doing a schedule weekly where I plan the things that I have to do and I have a work time and respect it
sometimes its difficult .to manage your time between working and your private life .especially if you want to go out with your friends or your family
I think it's more relaxed when you can split up the work. So you have no stress and you can still live your family life. In addition, you don't have to be stressful to get to work quickly; you can relax and do your work on the couch. I think the Corona pandemic is exactly the same for many people as in the Situation described above. They have to organize their life or even work from home. I think that a lot of people can do a good job of balancing their professional and private lives.
I believe that so far the working flexibility is practised little in my country, , because the employers have a very close mentality, both in public bodies and in the companies. I hope that the smart working - made necessary by Covid - can convince them of the advantages of this new work-life balance.
Work life balance is very important in everyone's life period . I have managed my work with suitable fix hours. I do not work on the weekend . During this time I spend my time with my family . I enjoy indoor sports, walking ,shopping and watching movies on television with my loving family.
I think everything depends on how someone wants to spend his to her time. Traditional and Modern work places have their own pros and cons. Work life balance depends on the priorities you set for yourself. It also involves your physical and mental abilities. If someone is too lazy and cannot handle multi tasking it will be difficult to bring Work-life balance.
I try to mix my work and free time, however sometimes i just take time to relax, because the work routine becames very stressful.
I'm happy because I'm the boss in my work and in these environments, I can manage my work-life balance. I usually work a couple of hours per day, often in the evenings, at the weekends and holidays, so my work is flexible. These give me the ability to do different stuff per day without work.
As I am a student sometimes it’s difficult. I try to manage my Study- life balance but sometimes it isn’t as easy as I would like. Nowadays it’s quite better cause I have class through my computer and I have more time in my schedule.
I like to work very much, I love my profession, but I like to practice sports too, so I try always to have a work-life balance, I prefer to work in the morning and work out in the evenings, but I like to change my routine sometimes, in this way, some weeks I work out early in the morning and go to work later and work until before 4:00 or 3:00 pm.
I depend on the traditional way in my work-life balance. We work for fixed hours from 7 am to 3 pm or from 3 pm to 11 pm or from 11 pm to 7 am. We have only one day off duty. This is only our weekend. We can use it to play sports, cook, sleep or go shopping. We cannot be flexible in our work hours. We can not use the recent way as to work from home. We are nurses. So our work life and private life are completely separated.
It's really interesting to hear you say something about work in your country. In my country, Vietnam, with traditional works they work likely the essay. Nowadays, with high technology they can work flexible more than before only for people work in the office. However, government workers have two days off, but employees depend on their company. We usually celebrate small party on the weekend for cooking, playing games, singing karaoke together. I think work balance is extremely important for everybody, we should keep in balance. Even though, we have to work hard for expensive life. If we don't do that we can't live longer.
The best line this morning.. I noticed that the last year 2020 went by very quickly. I hope that expectations change.
It’s more easy now to manage my work-life balance since I work in smart working. I can practice home fitness in the morning before I start my work. I can do my daily tasks with flexibility. For example, when I have to go for a medical examination, I take agreements with my manager and I can catch up my work in other hours. The risk is to work more than your working time, because you don’t check the clock, above all when you are very involved in your job. It’s also important to give clear limits to your boss when he/she takes advantage of your availability, in this case it’s necessary to defend the right to disconnection
I usually manage work life balance by spending 7 hours on work from 8 to 3 pm . Then I usually play cricket or football to fresh my mind and to stay healthy .
I try not to mix work and private life. If something annoying happens during my time at work, I try to fix it at that moment in order to not to think about it later in my private life. Out of work, I like to be focused on enjoying with my friends and my couple, leaving work matters behind. Cheers from Madrid.
This work mode isn`t such comfortable as the interwee tells. It`s awful, because your boss can abuse a possibility to work during your holidays and weekends, and all your life will be pointed around your job and responsibilities.
Firstly I must say to establish work-life balance is not very easily theme. Particularly in the traditional work places, if you desire to fix your work hours, it will be misunderstood. I mean, when your working hours is over , however you may still look at chef's face to leave. How can I manage? I think you can adjust your working hour if you have a good relationship with boss and there is a trust between you and your boss. You must induce your chef to your arriving to the house doesn't mean that you will lost with your job. You can follow your important documents and your interviews.
Now I'm not working but when I was, I used to spend all day working less sundays and holidays, when I got home I just ate and went straight to bed netflix music and sleep.
During COVID-19, it's a challenge to strike the balance between personal life and work at a home.... :|
I don't have job for now, so I’m trying to spare all day focus in studies, but sometimes I don’t feel really focus and that put me angry, I prefer modern workplaces but sometimes that kind of works at the end require more time because is based on results and not just go to the office and work doing the same every days.
I don't have a job, so I don't know how people regulate their time, I think that some have planned schedules for each type of life. When I do my activities, I focus until I finish them so I can have free time.
Personally, I have just studied so I dedicate a lot of time to this as it is one of the responsibilities I maintain.
I hope I would follow in Traditional workplaces because I prefer running at weekends and in the day I have fixed working hours. Modern workplaces can be used by others I hope flexible working hours would be fine for students because they can manage their time, or even at weekends or while the holiday you could work.
I manage my work-life balance by spending about 12 hours for work and sleep about 12 hours per day. A good work-life balance, isn't it? ;)
It can be said that in these times it is very difficult since we are in a peculiar situation but we have to take what we have and find what to do to enjoy our time to relax.
Firstly I must say to establish work-life balance is not very easily theme. Particularly in the traditional work places, if you desire to fix your work hours, it will be misunderstood. I mean, when your working hours is over , however you may still look at chef's face to leave. How can I manage? I think you can adjust your working hour if you have a good relationship with boss and there is a trust between you and your boss. You must induce your chef to your arriving to the house doesn't mean that you will lost with your job. You can follow your important documents and your interviews.
I'am of the opinion that flexibility is an advantage and that technology improvements have greatly improved our life in that sense. However, this way of managing work-life balance is not always viable; it clearly depends on the company regulations and the area and nature of the job in question. For example, an IT employee or an accountant may work from home seamlessly while for a laboratory technician, this is far away from being a possible option.