How to Achieve a Work-Life Balance: Richard Branson Tells You How It’s Done

Vikas Jha
Vikas Jha
Aug 11, 2015 · 3 min read
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Born on July 18, 1950, in Surrey, England, Richard Branson struggled in school and dropped out at the age of 16. His first venture was a youth-culture magazine called *Student*. The publication was run by students, for students and sold $8,000 worth of advertising in its first edition. This was the beginning of Branson’s long and successful entrepreneurial journey. Today, his multinational investment group, the Virgin Group, holds more than 200 companies in more than 30 countries.

Having so many companies to helm, one would think that he’s always rushing off to the next meeting. Branson, however, believes in working hard and partying hard. He lives life king size and has become an icon for both the youth and business leaders alike. Here are five tips from the man himself, to give you an insight into how he does it all.

Don’t just do, be.

“One of the best pieces of advice I have learned over 50 years in business is that to balance life and work we all need to add yet another bullet point to our growing to do lists — ‘to be’. Alongside the meetings, appointments and email replies, find time to be inspired, take in the beauty of the world, and laugh with our loved ones. If you slow down, breathe, and be present in the moment you will find balance more easily. Balancing doing and being has been a lifelong lesson for me, one in which I have learned to remember the to-do list, but don’t forget the to-be list.”

Work hard, play hard.

“It’s no secret that I like to play as hard as I work. I’ve always lived the ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy, believing that it’s one of the best ways to achieve balance. Having a busy career, doesn’t mean that you can’t live your life to the fullest. Prioritise time with your loved ones and put it in your work calendar as you would a meeting. Put on your out of office alert — I had mine on around my birthday. Go on, let your hair down.”

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Love what you do & do what you love.

“I’ve never really thought of work and life as separate. My work is my life, and vice versa. If you can find a career you are passionate about, working hard doesn’t have to be a chore. We spend roughly 80 per cent of our lives at work, so it’s important that we find jobs that we love. If you think of work as a chore and dread turning up every day, maybe it’s time that you consider a career change.”

Seek well-being in the workplace.

“If you are looking to change careers or start a new job, seek a company that gives you choice and promotes your wellbeing. At Virgin, we’re actively trying to combat the pressures of modern-day hyper-connectivity with a number of initiatives that support the wellbeing of our people. Our Virgin Management offices encourage flexible working, have an unlimited leave policy, and have recently introduced shared parental leave. These initiatives promote choice; and by empowering our people with choice, they have been able to find a better balance between their work and private lives, and through this balance they have become happier, more engaged and more productive.”

When it all goes wrong, don’t worry.

“We all fall off the tightrope and make mistakes sometimes. The important thing is to learn from it, get back on, and get it right the next time.”

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