6 Tips To Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Man Wrapping Up At Work

Chances are you have heard of the term work-life balance, but you may not know what it is or how to achieve it. At its core, work-life balance is a term used to describe an equilibrium between the time we spend working and the time we spend enjoying leisure activities. Although it’s not necessarily always an even split, some sort of trade-off between working and relaxing is necessary for every single adult in the world.

For many of us, the idea of balancing our personal and professional lives sounds enticing, yet we lack the skills and discipline to truly make it happen. However, finding that a happy medium is critical for our health. If you struggle with work-life balance, then it’s time to understand its importance and learn some skills that will help you attain a better equilibrium.

Why Work-Life Balance Matters

Believe it or not, we spend nearly one-third of our lives working. What’s more, overworking kills around 750,000 people per year. For many of us, we feel like we must choose work over pleasure to make ends meet and get ahead in life. Yet, based on this data, experts say that we really need to do a better job of achieving work-life balance.

Woman Stressed With No Work Life Balance
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Work-life balance is important for your health and happiness. When we properly balance our professional and personal lives, we encounter less health problems. Also, we are more able to reach our maximum potential at work, which lets us achieve our career goals. And, probably most importantly, work-life balance avoids burnout.

6 Tips To Improve Work-Life Balance

If you struggle to find a healthy balance between your career and home life, here are 6 tips that may help you improve your work-life balance.

1. Keep Your Career Goals Attainable

Many of us become so focused on our careers that we lose sight of the big picture. However, if we continue to take on more and more work for the sake of “getting ahead,” we become susceptible to burnout and unhealthy levels of stress. For this reason, most experts recommend you keep your career goals realistic and attainable instead of trying to push yourself beyond your limits.

As you plan your goals, you can also break them down into bite-size pieces so you can pace yourself and accomplish smaller milestones along the way. Then, you can either use a old-fashioned journal or a web-based project management app to keep up with your goals and milestones. Also, this principle doesn’t just apply to long-term goals — this includes your weekly to-do list as well.

Person Writing Out To Do List With Goals
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By keeping your goals attainable and breaking them down into smaller steps along the way, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and avoid pushing yourself too far.

2. Take Regular Breaks

You may think you will accomplish more during the work day if you work though your lunch break and avoid leaving your desk as much as possible. However, studies show that people who utilize short, 15-minute breaks throughout the work day and walk away from their desk for lunch are actually more efficient workers. What’s more, taking regular breaks throughout the work day boosts your overall job satisfaction, not to mention helps you balance work and your personal well-being.

These breaks become even more important now that more people than ever work remotely. Without these critical breaks, you set yourself up to never fully detach from your work, which is what ultimately puts work-life balance out of whack.

3. Leave Work At Work

We’ve all experienced days where, no matter how hard we try, we don’t check everything off of our to-do list before it’s time to clock out. When this happens, you may feel obligated to carry your work home with you so you can finish those remaining tasks. However, once you set a precedent that it’s okay to work after hours, you’ll soon find yourself working yourself to death.

Phone With Work Email Installed Poor Work Life Balance
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Furthermore, smartphones make it easy to carry our work with us everywhere. However, when you install your company email and other work-related apps on your phone, you never truly unplug from the job. This is not only unhealthy, but it can interfere with your ability to relax and connect with your household.

So, as much as possible, leave work at work.

4. Prioritize Your Health

Work-life balance is important for your physical, emotional, and mental health. So, if you take steps towards prioritizing these things, you will ultimately move in the direction of a better balance between your personal and professional life.

Some things you can do to prioritize your health and well-being include:

  • Making time for movement or exercise each day
  • Carving out time for important relationships with others
  • Following a consistent sleep schedule
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Eating a balanced diet

When you make time for your health, everything else works out better.

5. Make Time For The Family

Work-life balance isn’t just about making sure you don’t overwork yourself – it’s also about making sure you carve out time for those most important to you. For many people, this means setting aside time for your family, whether that is a romantic partner, children, or parents and siblings.

A Family Spending Time Together
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Quality family time can be great for your mental health. The connections you forge with family members also make it easier to deal with difficult times and frustrating moments at work. This will ensure that you are prepared to deal with stressful days at work, and it will help you maintain health and happiness.

6. Learn to Say No

Most people who struggle with work-life balance do so because they have a hard time saying no to their supervisor or coworkers when asked to take on extra work. Unfortunately, finding a balance becomes even more difficult when you don’t say no.

Saying no is a skill that takes time to master because it requires you to use assertive communication skills, which many of us lack. To start, look for small ways to say no to people you feel comfortable with. Then, as you find it easier, start saying no to things as it makes sense, even if it feels difficult at first.

Work Life Balance Saying No
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If you still have a hard time saying no, you can use these helpful tips. First, if you have a well-established daily routine of outlining all of your tasks for the day, it’s much easier to say no to extra work because you can clearly see that you don’t have the time or mental capacity to take it on. Also, if you can assign each task a priority level, it makes saying no to less important items that much easier.

Finding a Balance Between Work and Play is Possible

You may never find a “perfect” balance between your personal and professional life. However, you can absolutely find at least some middle ground if you’re willing to put in the work. Doing this will help you take care of yourself, which is something we all need to do. If you are willing to take steps towards bettering yourself, your career will ultimately benefit, as will your personal life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the components of work-life balance?

Work-life balance involves effective time management, burnout prevention, establishing boundaries, and stress management.

Is work-life balance only for people who are married or have children?

Absolutely not! Everyone benefits from work-life balance, even single individuals who live alone.

What are the health complications that occur when you don't have healthy work-life balance?

People who overwork are more likely to experience chronic pain, obesity, and mental health conditions like depression. Over time, people who do not balance work and their personal lives can experience cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, and more.

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Megan Glosson

Megan Glosson is a passionate writer based in Nashville, TN. She enjoys writing about topics related to health, wellness, and everyday life, especially when the topic has a personal connection to her own life. Megan is currently published on over a dozen websites, including YourTango, Feel & Thrive, Moms.com, and The Mighty. Megan also serves as a content editor for Unwritten, a digital publication focused on millennial lifestyles.