I think it’s important that we first look at what we expect work-life balance to look like.

In its idealized form, it’s when we get to spend an equal amount of time between our personal and professional pursuits. The 40 hours a week we spend at the office is offset by the 40 hours we spend with spouses, children, passion projects, or even ourselves. It’s the idyllic scenario where we punch out at 5 p.m., make it home by 5:15 p.m. and don’t spend another moment thinking about work.

But that’s not real work-life balance. Instead, what often happens is that each aspect bleeds into the other. We arrive at work thinking of our loved ones, only to return home to them, distracted by thoughts of missed deadlines and unsent emails. It’s important to recognize what work-life balance isn’t so you can better understand what it looks like for you.