Top 12 Tips to Achieve a Good Work-Life Balance

12 min read
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Feb 23, 2024
Top 12 Tips to Achieve a Good Work-Life Balance

How to have a good work-life balance

Do you think your only activity is work? You're not by yourself. According to a number of data, over 60% of American workers believe that their work-life balance is not in equilibrium. But with so much work being done at home, how can you manage your work and personal lives? In order to be more productive, how do you manage your workload?
Is attending a yoga session once a week enough? Most importantly, how can you determine what works in a world when the lines between work and home are becoming increasingly hazy?
It can seem natural to feel overburdened and overworked because so many people struggle to strike a balance between their professional and personal lives. It need not be, though.
Here, we'll define both healthy and harmful work-life patterns and discuss strategies that managers and individuals can use to better balance the two.

What does work-life balance mean?

A healthy work-life balance is achieved by maintaining a harmonious balance between your personal and professional lives. It means setting aside time and resources on purpose to attend to your personal and professional commitments, all the while prioritizing your health and taking care of yourself.
According to this line of reasoning, in a perfect world, we might spend time doing activities that fulfill us as individuals after work. This could be partaking in a pastime or socializing with loved ones.
The following are some traits of a good work-life balance:
  • Setting boundaries: This entails setting up distinct boundaries between work and personal life by deciding on set working hours and keeping job-related activities apart from leisure pursuits.
  • Time management: Organizing and prioritizing work effectively, making sure that you leave adequate time for both business obligations and personal activities, such hobbies, family time, or goal-pursuing
  • Stress management: Putting stress management techniques into practice, such as mindfulness training, frequent exercise, taking breaks, and unplugging from work-related activities when necessary
  • Flexibility: The capacity to modify your timetable to suit unanticipated events or personal requirements without endangering your obligations at work

Why is work-life balance so important?

People require variety in their meals and lifestyles to maintain long-term health and energy levels. People need to take breaks and partake in a range of activities in order to maintain a work-life balance.
We frequently make the mistake of thinking that we can work continuously or that an eight-hour workday corresponds to eight hours of output. But for many people, that is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish.
Furthermore, overworking has detrimental effects on both companies and employees.
People who are workaholics or who find it difficult to take care of themselves are more likely to experience exhaustion, burnout, and health problems linked to stress. Employees that have a poor work-life balance may also put in longer hours but produce less.

What is an unhealthy work-life balance?

Conversely, an unhealthful work-life equilibrium arises when work surpasses personal life and becomes excessive, resulting in detrimental effects on an individual's overall welfare.
The following are some indicators of a dysfunctional work-life balance:
  • Constant overwork: Working long hours every day, even on weekends and holidays, without taking enough time off for personal interests or rest
  • Neglected personal life: Giving up hobbies, free time, and personal connections because of overwhelming work responsibilities
  • Burnout: Feeling worn out on a physical, mental, and emotional level as a result of ongoing stress and pressure from work
  • Lack of self-care: Putting off self-care practices like getting enough sleep, exercising, and relaxing, which leads to a decline in one's physical and emotional well-being
  • Strained relationships: Having obligations at work making it harder to keep up good relationships with friends, family, and loved ones

Remember

Reaching a healthy work-life balance might differ from person to person based on personal preferences and circumstances. Finding a balance that supports your general well-being and works for you is crucial.

Signs of an unbalanced work-life dynamic

Missing work out can have a considerably less effect on your life than poor work-life balance. According to one study, those who work more than 55 hours a week had an increased risk of stroke.
Anxiety and depression are linked to a higher risk when working the same number of hours. Furthermore, a different study discovered a correlation between a loss in physical health and working longer hours, even after controlling for pretty typical sleep patterns. 
Work-life balance affects every aspect of your life by definition. However, it usually manifests itself differently in each individual. The following eight traits are linked to having poor balance:
  • Even when you're not working, your thoughts about work never cease. Burnout is more likely to occur in people who struggle to set boundaries between their personal and professional lives.
  • Your relationships are starting to suffer, both at work and outside of it. It's possible that you become angry easily with coworkers and aloof from loved ones.
  • You sense something is wrong. You experience mysterious aches and pains. You might not have much energy or struggle to concentrate at work.
  • Everything seems unimportant or uninteresting while you're not at work. You simply don't want to do anything until it's absolutely necessary. You distance yourself from your pals even further by declining invites on a regular basis.
  • You outsource a lot of money to get help with personal tasks. Your mail, laundry, and dishes accumulate, biding their time until you "have time" to take care of them.
  • Taking time off when you're sick, under stress, or need to attend to personal matters is difficult for you. You have no plans to take a vacation and can't recall when you last went on one.
  • It is unimaginable to spend the rest of your life doing what you do. It's hard to envision living your life the way you do for very long, even if you work for a firm or in a field you once enjoyed.
  • You have a constant sense that you ought to be doing something else, regardless of what you're doing. This absence of guidance and presence over time frequently results in an existential crisis.

How to improve work-life balance

The fact is that no medication works for everyone. You might also need to experiment to find the time scale that makes the most sense for you. Finding balance on a single day could be difficult, but it might be simpler to do over the course of a week or longer.
How to improve work-life balance
How to improve work-life balance
Your capacity to pay attention to both your results and your inner compass will be the primary determinant of the balance that works best for you.
You may reset your work-home balance and reevaluate your expectations with some awareness and ingenuity.
Here are 12 suggestions for maintaining a healthy work-life balance:

1. Plan ahead

Make a plan in advance to fit in work with social, recreational, or physical pursuits. If you have several virtual meetings lined up, think about holding them while out for a walk.
If the surrounding noise permits, you might even take a call outdoors or ask a friend to collaborate with you while working.

2. Embrace the way your brain works

Utilize productivity tricks such as the Pomodoro timer to work in little, concentrated sessions. To make the most of your time, shut out any other distractions.

3. Set blocks of time for different tasks

Set aside time to attend meetings, check and react to messages, and perform intellectually taxing tasks. Arranging these chores around your own periods of highest productivity helps.

4. End work at a certain time

The adage "work expands to fill the time allotted" is true, and working from home makes it much more likely for work to bleed into personal time.
Decide when the day's work should end, and then make sure it happens by securing your office, shutting off any connected gadgets, or making plans for the evening.

5. Enlist technology to help you unplug

Block distracting websites with an app during the day, and after work, block job-related websites. Try to limit your work to a single device or maintain a single device free of work so that you can unplug entirely.

6. Take a lunch break or have lunch with coworkers

You can still interact with coworkers or go out for your lunch break even if you work from home. It'll be a welcome change of pace and a good reminder to eat something, of course.

7. Take time off

Being at home all the time makes it easy to try to recover from ailments that would have kept you at home instead of at work. Sick days, personal days, holidays, and times of grief are all examples of time off that is crucial for sustaining your wellbeing.

8. Practice mindfulness

Unbalance is difficult to ignore when one is mindful. By engaging in mindfulness practices such as breath awareness or meditation, you can enhance your awareness of your emotions and bodily sensations.
You can learn to recognize when you might be repressing a need in order to get things done by paying attention to these feelings. When you start to feel sick to your stomach, it's difficult to go back to that spreadsheet. 

9. Find a hobby or pastime you enjoy and pursue it outside of work

It will be simpler to turn off work notifications and end your day at a set time if you have something fun planned for after work. Our hobbies provide us more vigor and energy. Playing creatively helps us return to work as our new selves. 

10. Work that makes you long for balance should be reconsidered

You might need to consider how you can alter the work you perform or the method you do it if it seems wholly unrelated to the pursuits that pique your curiosity, excitement, energy, and feeling of purpose.
Although employment cannot and should not fulfill every individual's need for meaning, purpose, social interaction, and challenge, it should still offer moments of fulfillment, achievement, and connection.

11. Communicate with your manager

A common factor contributing to poor work-life balance is the worry that we're not accomplishing enough. By talking with your superiors, you may establish priorities for the way you spend your time. It may be time to discuss hiring more help or simplifying some chores if there is indeed too much to do.

12. Work with a coach or therapist

Working with a professional can be quite beneficial if you feel overwhelmed, stuck, or unsure about how to start disconnecting. The correct questions can be asked by a coach or counselor, who can also assist you in determining which adjustments will have the most effects and how to begin.
One piece of advise: begin modestly. You could be hoping for a better work-life balance, but since your work habits have developed over time, they probably won't change quickly. For instance, trying to limit your screen time to a set number of hours will undoubtedly make you more frustrated if your objective is to decrease it.
If you set a lower goal for yourself, like taking one five-minute tech-free break each day, you're more likely to maintain your new habit.

Managers may help their staff members achieve a work-life balance in 7 ways

It might be challenging to make the required changes to establish a healthy work-life balance. Creating the means for your staff to implement these changes is one way that you, as a manager and compassionate leader, can support them and yourself.
Seven strategies for managers to assist staff in creating a healthy work-life balance are as follows:

1. Remind your team to unplug

Urge the members of your team who are going on vacation to leave their business phones and laptops at home. Even though you might not think it needs to be said, they will value your clear consent.

2. Give employees space to connect

Plan birthday celebrations, reading clubs, online happy hours, and other social gathering places. So that they can see that you eat, too, mark your lunch break on your calendar.

3. Educate employees on their benefits

Remind your staff that paid time off and sick days are a part of their remuneration, and remember to use them yourself! As far as taking time off goes, deeds speak louder than words.

4. Check in with direct reports

Make time to inquire about the wellbeing of your staff members when you check in. To understand what isn't being stated, you might need to read between the lines. Overload may be indicated by missed deadlines or a lack of responsiveness.

5. Set an example for your team

We already know they're on Zoom, so introduce them to your kids there, hold meetings while strolling, or schedule them far enough apart to give them some space.

6. Be aware of company culture and norms

Aim to avoid normalizing a culture of "instant messaging." Make it apparent that communications delivered outside of regular business hours don't need to be responded to right away, and refrain from taking a response for interaction.

7. Respect working hours

Meetings should not be scheduled before or after work hours. In cross-time zone work, this might be challenging. Encourage your staff to finish work at a certain time every day, and make sure you follow up with anyone you see is regularly working after hours.

Achieving a work-life balance when working from home

It would seem that striking a work-life balance would be simpler when one works remotely. But working remotely has its own set of difficulties. Multitasking, diversions, and trouble adhering to rigid schedules are common when working remotely, which is detrimental to both productivity and maintaining a clear separation between work and personal life.
About 20% of American workers did remote work prior to the coronavirus outbreak. That percentage shot up to about 70% almost overnight. Houses evolved into venues for education, employment, dining, recreation, and even exercise.
There are a few clear benefits. Rush hour is a thing of the past, packing your own lunch for work is easier than ever, and doing a load of laundry before your next meeting simply takes a minute.
However, your brain finds it more difficult to discriminate between work and play when you multitask in the same area. We don't have the customary signals from coworkers when it's time to wrap up.
When your workspace is a small space like a dining room table or a corner of your bedroom, it might be difficult to put work aside once you're done and simple to keep checking your email. Even if commuting gives us more time, a lot of individuals miss the space and time it takes to go from home to work and back again.
We already struggle with work-life balance at a time of social estrangement. While many of our favorite outlets and leisure activities have not changed, our work has for the most part adjusted to the pandemic. It becomes even simpler to become sucked into work as a result.
We might anticipate that the meeting with the marketing team will offer some of the much-desired stimulation and social engagement that we would typically get from going out with friends, to the gym, or to a concert.

Establish and preserve a healthy work-life balance

The first step in fixing the relationship that exists between work and home life is realizing that it is out of balance. Even if it could take some time, little daily or weekly routines can have a big impact over time. Coaching can be helpful if you need assistance creating a plan to enhance your work-life balance.

FAQ on How to Have a Good Work-Life Balance

What is work-life balance?

A healthy balance between your personal and professional lives, where you dedicate time and resources to both while prioritizing health and self-care.

Why is it important?

Variety is crucial for long-term health and energy. Work-life balance prevents burnout, stress, and health issues.

What are signs of an unbalanced work-life dynamic?

Constant work thoughts, neglecting personal life, burnout, lack of self-care, strained relationships.

How can I improve my work-life balance?

Experiment with what works for you. Plan your schedule, use productivity tools, set boundaries, unplug after work.

What if I work from home?

Set clear work hours, create a dedicated workspace, avoid multitasking, take breaks, and utilize technology to unplug.

How can managers help employees achieve balance?

Encourage vacation use, plan social events, educate on benefits, check in with employees, set an example, respect work hours.
Actionable Tips:
  • Plan your day ahead of time, including personal activities.
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique for focused work sessions.
  • Set specific times for checking emails and messages.
  • End work at a set time and stick to it.
  • Take advantage of your lunch break and paid time off.
  • Find a hobby you enjoy and pursue it outside of work.
  • Talk to your manager about your workload if necessary.
  • Consider seeking professional help if you're struggling.
Remember:
  • Finding balance takes time and effort.
  • Start small and gradually make changes.
  • Be kind to yourself and celebrate your progress.