Everyone has a different tipping point when it comes to work-life balance: some need challenging jobs to feel fulfilled, and thrive on long hours; others couldn't cope without six weeks holiday and manage to use up sick days effectively too.

To find your personal balancing point, it's helpful to gain a better understanding of your own personality - the patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviours that make you who you are.

Many of the most popular tools for analysing personality are based on the work by Carl Jung, who suggested that at a very early stage in our development, we start showing a preference for behaving in certain ways - liking the world to be very ordered and precise, for example - and as we grow, these preferences get more exaggerated.

So although we may not be aware of it, we nurture our dominant characteristics, while shutting their alter egos away in some dark recess of our psyches. Or to put it another way, if getting work done in nice easy steps ahead of schedule is what turns you on, then you are probably horrified by the idea of the last-minute, caffeine-fuelled "essay crisis". Which may actually be an effective way of working sometimes.

Probably the most famous offshoot of Jung's work is the grandly named Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is hugely popular in the business communities on both sides of the Atlantic. It uses a combination of multiple-choice questionnaire and detailed discussion to plot which way people lean on a number of scales - extroversion versus introversion, for example, or thinking versus feeling. One of the most important, in terms of your attitude to work-life balance, is the intuition versus sensing choice - in short, do you see work and play as things that happen simultaneously (do you make a game out of sorting out the laundry, perhaps?) or do you do one and then the other. The answer will tell you a lot about whether you are in the right job, work-life balance-wise.

Jung, and most of his followers, did not believe that personality is fixed and immutable, and neither do I. Our personalities change over time, and our preferences become stronger or weaker depending on the job we are in and our relationships with other people.

So registering as a particular personality type once when we are in our 20s isn't an excuse for continuing in a rut or a job we've come to loathe years later. But understanding your personality can help you identify you are in a rut - and it's possible to do something about it.

Steve Crabb is the editor of People Management.