All the new gadgets, gismos and information channels threaten to dumbfound us as well as making us superficially smart.

The ongoing technological revolution is bringing huge benefits to our work and home life. But it is also taking toll of our minds, hearts and bodies. The sheer weight and volume of data make us dumb as well as smart, so we may find that our work-life balance reaches a tipping point.

How can we meet this challenge? Here are some tips.

Mental and physical health

Looking after your health and well-being could be the smartest thing you can do to achieve work-life balance, especially on the basis of the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) figures. According to MHF research on working long hours, 27% of employees feel depressed, 34% feel anxious, and 58% feel irritable.

"Our research shows that most people have some experience of a mental health problem, and the latest large-scale survey in England suggested that one in six people experience the symptoms of a mental health problem in any given week."

For the sake of balance, it is important to have hobbies. Remember the old proverb "All work and no play make Jack / Jill a dull boy / girl"? It may be a cliché but there is truth in it.

You are advised to imagine what you will get up to when you retire. Often people who work hard all their lives without any hobbies don't know how to live when they retire, and so they die. Besides, new machines and AI  (Artificial Intelligence) will change the way we work.


At work, and in the home or social life, relationships are all-important. They need to be cultivated and cared for through clear and open communication. This means listening as well as talking. We talk at more than1, 000 words per minute, but listen at only 125 wpm, remembering just 50% of what we have heard immediately afterwards. These discussion skills need improvement in all areas of our life, if we are smart.

Emotional intelligence (EQ)

Daniel Goleman's book on this topic in the 1990s brought EQ into the public conscious. He proclaimed that EQ can be learned and you will become much smarter if you are aware, self-controlled, empathetic (take account of others' feelings), socially skilled in relationships, and motivated (with the drive to succeed for the sake of it.


It is often the case that we need help to achieve what we want and need. So we need support and connection. "We are wired for connection" is the finding of Brené Brown. She is the legendary self-styled ‘researcher / storyteller' whose TED talk on vulnerability and openness has been watched by 35 million people. She insists we have to learn to be open and vulnerable to achieve connection. That makes us feel worthwhile and provides balance in our lives.


New gadgets are both a blessing and a curse. Now people are always in contact, and work 24/7, often by choice. Technology should help make your life easier, not control it.

Do you keep your mobile phone on all the time, even at night? Pings and bleeps can be disturbing for everyone in your home. And it is now established that having the light from tablets and mobiles shining in our eyes just before we go to sleep inhibits our rest patterns, and interferes with the all-important dreaming. See this year's best selling book "Why we sleep" by Dr Matthew Walker,

Leave off or switch off the technology at certain times so that you can focus on your work, family or friends. And take care how you use email, which can cause misunderstanding and offence - it is often better to have a meeting or make a call to sort out a problem

In short, to become smart and achieve balance, you need to take good care of yourself and all your connections - follow the advice of the biblical saying, ‘Physician heal thyself'.

Nick Keith is the author of "Feel it as a Man: a fool's guide to relationships" where the fool is Shakespearean, acting as a commentator and teller of his own individual truths. The book is published by Panoma Press, available online at Amazon and in all good bookshops.