14 Effective Strategies and Tips for Work-Life Balance
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 27, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
When individuals have a positive work-life balance, it means they feel like they spend a sufficient amount of time working and doing activities outside of work that they enjoy. Achieving this balance often makes them feel fulfilled professionally and personally. If you think you spend too much time working and lack sufficient time to relax and do activities you enjoy, discovering strategies to create a better work-life balance is beneficial. In this article, we share 14 helpful strategies and tips for work-life balance.
14 strategies and tips for work-life balance
Here are 14 strategies and tips for work-life balance:
1. Consider your situation
You might better understand your work-life balance by journaling or discussing it with a friend or family member. If you determine that your work-life balance is unhealthy, you can then try to identify the cause. For example, you might spend too many hours at work or have to perform work tasks while you're at home. Once you determine the cause of your work-life imbalance, you can think of effective strategies to correct it.
2. Put yourself first
Many individuals put the needs of family members, friends, and colleagues before their own. While you can still support others, it's crucial that you first consider your needs, such as getting sufficient exercise or sleep. When you put yourself first, you're in a better mental and physical state to support others.
3. It's okay to say "no"
Learning that it's okay to say "no" is crucial to setting boundaries with others and creating a better work-life balance. It can seem intimidating to tell a colleague that you're unable to assist them with a task or a friend that you lack time to meet for lunch. Regardless of who you're saying "no" to, if they respect you, they likely understand that you have a busy schedule. If you're polite and explain that you have much to do, many individuals might empathize with your situation and even offer their support.
4. Prioritize your health
Many professionals who lack a positive work-life balance sacrifice getting enough exercise or sleep to ensure they can finish their work and see family or friends. It's also possible for these individuals to develop unhealthy eating habits. It's essential that you prioritize your health so that you're healthy and have the energy to complete your daily professional and personal responsibilities. For example, you might aim to get eight hours of sleep each night or go to the gym a few times a week to build strength.
5. Let go of perfectionism
Attempting to become less of a perfectionist can help you realize that you're achieving more at work or in your personal life than you think. Sometimes, perfectionists who split their time between multiple responsibilities feel like they need to complete tasks to the best of their abilities. Accepting that it's okay to do enough work to complete a job and then move on to the next one is valuable. You may discover you have more time and are still achieving your goals.
6. Take breaks
Taking routine breaks from your work activities and personal responsibilities can help improve concentration, reduce stress, keep you engaged, and allow you to enjoy the experience more. For example, you might take a 15-minute break between completing different tasks to allow yourself to relax before you begin your next one with a refined focus. When you pause between responsibilities, you may feel less stressed and feel as if you have a better work-life balance.
7. Make the most of your lunch break
Use your lunch break to relax and enjoy a healthy meal. You might practise breathing exercises or listen to a podcast. You can enjoy lunch with a colleague if you prefer to use your break to socialize. Regardless of how you spend your lunch break, remember to enjoy it and take some time in your day when you don't focus on your work tasks.
8. Establish boundaries
Establishing boundaries at work can ensure you have time to enjoy meaningful aspects of your personal life. For example, some boundaries you might set include not taking work home with you, leaving at a specific time each day, and not checking work e-mails on the weekend. If you find your manager is a contributing factor to your negative work-life balance, you can plan to meet with them one-on-one to discuss your feelings and propose some boundaries.
9. Understand the importance of building relationships
Building strong relationships is valuable as it can help establish a support system and provide you with friends with whom you can enjoy your free time. Building meaningful relationships that positively affect your life takes time and effort. When you understand the importance of nurturing these strong relationships, you're more likely to prioritize time with your friends and family, just like you may do with work. This change in mindset can help you adjust your life so that you have a more positive work-life balance.
10. Discover a hobby
When you take the time to find a hobby that you enjoy, you can benefit from allocating time for it in your schedule. For example, you might join a basketball league in your community that meets for weekly practices and games or take a painting class a few nights a week. If you're unsure what opportunities are available, you might conduct an online search that includes your community and the hobby. You might also consider starting a hobby that you can complete at home by yourself, such as puzzles, cooking, or reading.
11. Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed
If you feel overwhelmed at work and it causes you to stay late or take your work home, you can ask a colleague for help. For example, you might ask a colleague if they can complete the rest of a task for you so you can leave on time. When asking, you can tell them that you're happy to help when they're in a similar position.
If you find that you continuously stay late at work to complete your tasks, you can consider speaking with your supervisor to ask for help. For instance, you might politely explain that you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and that you want a healthier work-life balance. They may provide you with an assistant or reassign some of your work to another colleague.
12. Multitask when possible
Multitasking is when you perform various tasks simultaneously, allowing you to improve your work-life balance because you can accomplish more in less time. For example, if you're a teacher who wants to leave work on time, you might choose to grade homework while eating breakfast. Although you might take your work home, it allows you to go and complete your tasks in a comfortable environment. Some other ways you might multitask include taking a conference call while walking or completing a task while listening to music.
13. Know that flexibility is beneficial
Being flexible with your time means understanding that a healthy work-life balance isn't equal to the time allocated to both work and your personal life. Some weeks, you may be busier at work, and you might stay late for a few days to complete your tasks. Conversely, there may be weeks when your personal life requires more time, so you may leave work early to pick up a child or take a parent to an important doctor's appointment. Being flexible with your schedule and your expectations for your time can help you avoid becoming stressed and enjoy a better work-life balance.
14. Track your progress and re-evaluate what is working
When you implement various strategies and tips to improve your work-life balance, tracking how the changes affect your schedule is essential. You can achieve this understanding by journaling or logging your working hours. For example, you might create a spreadsheet where you track the hours you spend at work each day and the ones you spend at home. After a couple of weeks, you can re-evaluate if you have sufficient free time. If you find your strategies work, you can continue them. Otherwise might try a different one.
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