The Best of Forge 2019

3 Ideas to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Our best advice on stepping back, saying no, and securing time off when you need it

Cari Nazeer
Published in
2 min readJan 2, 2020

OOne of the cruelest parts of returning to the daily grind after the winter holidays have passed — armed with a fresh planner, a list of resolutions, and a new, eager optimism — is remembering that the calendar is really the only thing that’s different. New year, new you, but same job. Same boss who regularly schedules meetings at 5:30 on a Friday. Same cubicle right next to Rhonda, who loves to pepper her small talk with invasive personal questions.

Short of finding a new gig, there’s not much you can do to change your manager or your co-workers. What you can do, though, is redefine the role your job plays in your life. And once you’ve figured out what you want that to look like, you can negotiate to make it happen. Here are a few of Forge’s best reads on achieving work-life balance.

How to Ask for a Mental Health Day at Work by Deanna Pai

It’s inevitable: At some point this year, you’re going to need a break from work. Please take it. You don’t need to go into details, and you don’t need to feel bad about it. Here’s how to request time off to give your mind the care it requires.

A Real Response to ‘How Do You Achieve Work-Life Balance?’ by Julie Zhuo

Julie Zhuo, a vice president at Facebook, offers up an essential, honest reminder for anyone wondering how their friend/co-worker/neighbor seems to juggle career and family so effortlessly: They probably have lots of help. And even then, have-it-all-together appearances are often deceiving. Instead of trying to figure out how other people do it, use your values to define balance for yourself — and know that it will look different for you than it does for anyone else.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Committing to Anything by Eloisa Amezcua

Okay, you can’t exactly decline your manager’s invitation to a one-on-one when it lands in your inbox. But you have more freedom when it comes to work-adjacent semi-obligations: the networking parties, the panels, the lectures and drinks and other events that seem like they might advance your career, even if you aren’t entirely sure how. Use this checklist to figure out if that next thing is worth your time. If it isn’t, say no with confidence.



Cari Nazeer
Writer for

Former lead editor, Forge @ Medium