Forget the work-life balance! Time balance is what really matters

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – “Work life balance” is a buzzword that circulates in many companies. Not only for employees, but also for employers. Elke Stultjens does not believe in it. The reason? Every day is different. In order to stay in balance, it is especially important to find a time balance and to manage tasks well.

“If you look up the definition of a work-life balance , you learn that it’s about the balance between work and private time. When that balance is in balance, an employee works better and is more productive. Very honest? I don’t think that’s right,” says Elke Stultjens. She is the manager of BestBuro, an SME from Hasselt that teaches companies to work more efficiently with Microsoft 365 using a unique method.

“A working day can be completely different than expected. Suppose you receive a phone call from school in the morning because your child has fallen and needs to go to the doctor. Or a colleague is ill and you have to take over urgent matters. At such moments it is extremely difficult to find a balance. What helps? Time balance. That is a balance that you create yourself on the basis of well-considered task management.”  

Time is the most precious commodity

Every minute that has passed will never be returned to you. How you use your time is partly in your own hands. “Suppose you have complete autonomy to organise your time yourself. You can then think ‘oh easy, then I plan my time and I have balance’. But that won’t work. You never know which internal or external factors influence your working day. What is possible? Planning and managing your tasks”, Elke Stultjens continues.

Thoughtful task management

Task management is a kind of mirror of your day, week, month or year with all the items that you still have to do or (ever) want to do. Compare it to a bucket list. “If you look at planning software – such as Microsoft Planner, Trello or – you immediately notice that they often work with ‘buckets’ ”, Elke Stultjens continues.

“The first step in task management is therefore always to list all tasks. And – very important – note a deadline. In this way you can set priorities and you immediately know whether you can still postpone a task – for example after a phone call from school. A good task policy is really a must to get a balance in your time.”

Clear communication

To manage your tasks well, flexibility is also necessary. “The schedule is not fixed. It makes sense that you should be able to slide. It is important that you always inform the people you work with in good time. Another asset of well thought-out task management? If you are absent due to illness, colleagues can see at a glance which work needs to be distributed and what the deadlines are.”


You can’t manage your time, but you can manage your tasks. “I believe 100% in task management and that ensures the right balance in my time. Is a certain task not working because it is too big? Then sound the alarm in time with yourself, your colleague or your manager.”

“In the past you could see from the piles of papers on a desk how much work was – literally – piling up, today the workload is hidden in mailboxes. That is why it is so important that managers offer transparency, for example, with a digital task board. In this way, a colleague can immediately take over the most important tasks in the event of force majeure. Wouldn’t that give you peace of mind?”