Working Full-Time Hours (How to Achieve Work-Life Balance)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 26, 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.

While working in a full-time role, it may be difficult to create time for activities outside of work, such as spending time with your family and friends. You can adopt various strategies that help you perform effectively in the workplace and have enough energy and time to function outside of work. Understanding how to maintain a good work-life balance in a full-time role is essential for your long-term success and can help you live a fulfilled life. In this article, we explain what working full time is and explore how to achieve work-life balance while working in a full-time role.

What does working full time mean?

The meaning of working full time can vary depending on your position and industry. In most cases, full-time employees typically work between 35 to 50 hours per week. Although this range may be flexible, the standard for full-time employment is working 40 hours a week. In addition, full-time employees typically have access to other benefits, such as paid vacation, sick days, health insurance, wellness benefits, and a pension.

Related: Full-Time Hours: Definition and Benefits

How to create a good work-life balance when working full time

As a full-time employee, it's important for you to seek ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance to help you improve your job satisfaction and lead a happy life. Here are some strategies you can adopt to help you build a good work-life balance:

1. Start small

Starting small is an effective strategy that can help you and your colleagues or friends adjust to new work patterns. For example, you can set one work-related boundary and follow it for a few days or weeks before setting another one. You can also consider setting one weekly social commitment and including others subsequently. Starting small helps you build your motivation and encourages you to adopt similar activities progressively, which increases your chances of success.

Related: Work-Life Integration: Definition and Steps to Manage It

2. Determine your priorities

Before creating a strategy for your work-life balance, it's important to assess your career and identify what you want to achieve professionally. For example, if you want financial stability, it may require you to commit more to work and provide you with less free time. Conversely, you may want a job that offers you more time for yourself and the freedom to spend time with your family and friends or pursue other hobbies.

After identifying your career goals, it's easier to make deliberate efforts toward achieving them or finding jobs that align with them. When finding jobs related to your career goals, it's essential to consider applying to roles you love. Doing the activities you're passionate about makes it easier for you to find the motivation to finish your tasks quickly, which frees you up to do other activities.

Related: 20 Best Jobs for Great Work-Life Balance

3. Customize your work environment and routine

Adjusting your working environment or routine can improve your productivity, depending on the position and individual. You can consider moving away from the regular work schedule and finding a flexible schedule that's suitable for you. You can also work remotely or change your physical work environment. It's advisable to experiment with different routines and schedules to find the situation that allows you to balance your professional and personal life.

Related: Eight Useful Tips for Parents Going Back to Work after Baby

4. Take regular breaks

It may be helpful to take regular breaks when working in a demanding or fast-paced environment. These breaks may help you focus your thoughts. For example, you can take 30 minutes in the middle of the day to meditate or go for a walk to help you relax and get some exercise. Spending time away from your computer screen can help you remain motivated and productive compared to working continuously throughout the day.

5. Use your time intentionally

Learning to manage your time effectively is a critical aspect of maintaining a work-life balance as a full-time employee. You may experience distractions that prevent you from completing your tasks early, consequently affecting your free time. You can consider creating a structure for your work and assigning time blocks to complete each task. Using time blocks may help you improve your productivity and create opportunities to perform other activities during your free time.

If you have problems with procrastination, you may separate your long-term tasks into short-term goals you can complete in under a month. You can also identify your most productive periods and focus on completing important tasks within them. Setting timers can help you concentrate on your tasks and avoid distractions.

Related: Benefits of Effective Time Management (With Actionable Tips)

6. Establish healthy boundaries

Creating boundaries at work can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance by allowing you to reserve time for other aspects of your life. Some boundaries you can adopt in your professional life include not taking unfinished tasks home and leaving the office on time every day, even in the middle of a task. You can also try not checking your work e-mails on weekends, days off, or holidays.

Although there may be emergencies or exceptions, it's advisable for you to try to maintain these boundaries. In addition, you may discuss your boundaries with your supervisors and managers to help you gain their support. By achieving this, you can feel more comfortable when implementing them in your professional life.

Related: Balancing Life between Your Career and Personal Happiness

7. Communicate with your employer

Discussing your responsibilities and workload with your employer or manager is essential to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Your manager focuses on ensuring you perform all your duties, so talking about potential issues with them can help you find a sustainable solution and avoid feeling overwhelmed. It's advisable for you to remain professional, honest, and respectful during these conversations. Possible solutions to reducing your workload may include redistributing your tasks, hiring more people, or creating a work schedule that offers you more free time.

8. Revisit your schedule

It may be necessary for you to adjust your schedule to help you achieve a healthy work-life balance in some situations. For instance, if it's necessary for you to work longer hours to complete a specific task, you can reschedule or cancel other obligations for that day to give yourself enough time to rest.

In addition, you may delegate some responsibilities both at home and at work to help you achieve balance. It's critical to identify which working arrangements you're able to restructure. For instance, you can find tasks you can delegate to another employee who has fewer responsibilities. You may also choose to complete some tasks in a group rather than individually to help you save time.

Related: How to Delegate Tasks at Work (With Tips and Definition)

9. Use and enjoy your vacation days

Taking time off work helps improve your physical and mental health. It may also improve your productivity and help you remain motivated. It's advisable to use the paid vacation days that the company offers to help you find perspective and maintain a healthy work-life balance. You can consider finding a colleague or friend to act as an accountability partner or join you in your activities. Picking a coworker with a similar level of performance can help you motivate each other.

Related: A Helpful Guide to Having a Great Work-Life Balance

10. Practise work-life balance stress management techniques

Even when you're deliberate about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, you may experience anxiety or stress from work. It's advisable to find healthy stress relief methods that work for you. Some activities you can practise outside of work include:

  • Meditation: You can incorporate 15-minute deep breathing exercises into your morning routine or perform guided meditation before bed. Incorporating meditation sessions into your daily routine can help you relax and prepare for your daily tasks.

  • Regular exercise: Exercising can help you take your mind off work, relieve stress, and improve sleep. You can find physical activities that you enjoy and incorporate them into your weekly schedule.

  • Hobbies: Creating time each week for your hobbies can help you focus on building a life outside of your work. You can also try new hobbies, such as painting, crocheting, hiking, or baking, to help you stay active outside of work.

  • Family time: An important aspect of building a healthy work-life balance is establishing healthy relationships. Consider designating specific days and times to spend with your family and loved ones.

Related: A List of 19 Techniques for Stress Management at Work

11. Limit time-wasting activities

While it's healthy to take regular breaks and perform some recreational activities, it's essential to prioritize important tasks and focus on getting them done while you're at work. If you have issues prioritizing your tasks, you can identify high-impact tasks that require low input and attend to them first while relegating low-impact activities. The aim of prioritizing your tasks is to help you get the most value from your work hours and free time outside of work.

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