Work Life & Brain Balance

One of the core issues in work life balance concerns fulfilment, and whether the patterns and pressures of our working life allow us to lead a fulfilling life. The aspect of fulfilment is often thought about in terms of what people want outside of their working life – quality in their family life and leisure time for example.

Exploring the issue in the light of understandings about brain dominance can give a different perspective. Inherent in the design of the brain are left centred logical and rational capabilities, and right centred creative abilities. This is the same for all, regardless of whether life has taken you in the direction of being a manager, mathematician or artist. 

Some professions emphasise certain brain capabilities at the expense of others and this has been one of the findings of brain dominance studies. This implies that the direction someone’s life takes can leave certain inherent capabilities or potentials unfulfilled.

This can lead, often in middle youth or middle age, to person feeling dissatisfied or having the urge to take up an interest or pursuit they put aside years before for the sake of their family life or career. I know a number of people – IT professionals, executives and teachers who had a passion about music when young and gave it up to pursue more economically viable ambitions. In some of these people the urge to take up playing a musical instrument returned later in life and their active creative outlet in music now helps them maintain a sound work-life balance.

Creative pursuits such as music have a double benefit. They are excellent stress relievers and they enable you to use different parts of the brain than your profession may call for. It is interesting that certain pursuits – playing an instrument is one example and juggling another – inherently use both left and right brain capabilities.

The question I invite you to consider this month is - What parts of your brain does your working life not use, and what pursuits or activities can help you achieve a better personal and brain balance?

To contact Nick Woodeson, please email him at

For more information on the the human brain visit the MyBrain International web site.