Stressed and spread thin, juggling your professional and personal responsibilities, you probably have a work-life balance problem. If that sounds like you, come join our unbreakable community, where we put work in its place, and design the lives we want.
While the concept can feel abstract and elusive, have faith that achieving it is possible. We’ll share some tips to help you keep all of your important balls in the air — reliably and comfortably.
If you’re looking for more work-life balance, start your search for a new role on ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter is free for job seekers and you can apply for jobs with a single click!
What Is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is the harmonious co-existence of your various roles, like professional, spouse, parent, child, or friend. You achieve it by design as you must intentionally choose what to prioritize at any given moment.
Your brand of work-life balance will be distinct from everyone else's because it's based on your specific situation and priorities. Plus, it will shift when your circumstances and goals change. For example, your balance will look much different when you have small children at home than when you’re an empty nester.
Benefits Of Work-Life Balance
There are many benefits to creating work-life balance for yourself, such as:
- Improved physical and mental wellbeing.
- Enhanced relationships with your significant other, children, family, friends, and co-workers.
- Increased productivity in the office even when working fewer hours (because you’ll be happier, healthier, and better-focused while you’re there).
You’ll also feel a renewed optimism that you can adequately show up for all aspects of your life and make meaningful progress towards your personal and career-oriented goals.
Related: Work-Life Balance Statistics
9 Tips For Creating Work-Life Balance
Take Inventory of Your Time
If you want to create a work-life balance, you first need to assess how you’re currently spending your time. So, write down everything you do for at least a week. Then, determine what can get cut from your schedule or delegated. Finally, identify what you want to (or should) do more of each day. Now, you have a target you can try to hit.
The Eisenhower Matrix, or Eisenhower Box, is a simple decision-making tool developed and championed by former president and military general Dwight D. Eisenhower. It helps you take inventory of and classify the activities you engage in or have to complete. That way, you get a clear picture of what’s moving the needle towards your goals — and what’s wasting your time.
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Pro Tip: Complete this activity annually (or when your circumstances change) to ensure your actions always align with your priorities.
Say Yes and No Strategically
Everything in your life has an opportunity cost. So, when you say “yes” to doing something, you’ll have less time to devote to other matters. For example, if you agree to stay late at work, you could earn extra pay. But you might have to miss the family game night. So, you’ll have to determine if the tradeoff is worth it.
Pro Tip: The priorities you identified when you took an inventory of your time can help you decide.
If you’re not well, you won’t be able to effectively handle any aspect of your life, let alone balance all of them. So, you must prioritize self-care to be (and stay) at your best. Self-care includes but isn’t limited to eating well, exercising regularly, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and getting adequate rest.
Pro Tip: Getting adequate rest doesn’t just mean sleeping enough each night. It also means stepping away from your desk every couple hours for a break and taking regular vacations.
Seek an Alternate Work Arrangement
Some jobs make creating work-life balance seem nearly impossible. If you have one of those roles, you may want to seek an alternate work arrangement. That could mean asking to work remotely or on a flexible schedule. Or, it could mean finding a different employer or starting a new career path.
Pro Tip: If you need to change professional gears to create a work-life balance, you may need to invest in yourself to boost your career. You might also want to overhaul your resume by consulting with one of our top picks for the best resume writing service.
For ideas of other work arrangements, check out our guide to the jobs with the best work-life balance.
Define Your Work Schedule
No matter your professional role, you must define your work schedule. Spell out your availability clearly and maintain that boundary with your co-workers and loved ones. That way, you can be totally present in the office and at home.
Pro Tip: Set an out-of-office email responder that automatically informs the recipient when you’ll reply to their message. No more checking emails on nights, weekends, holidays, or vacations!
Put Your Life on Your Calendar
You add work meetings to your calendar to ensure you attend, right? Well, you can apply that same practice to the rest of your life, too. Try booking date nights, family time, workouts, hobbies, errands, and other personal events on your calendar, so you never miss something important.
Work-life balance doesn’t rigidly compartmentalize your time into defined buckets. Some days, your focus will be more on your work and others, more on personal matters. It’s okay. That's the nature of life, so you need to be flexible.
Ask for Help
If you feel like you’re drowning (and we all do at some point!), don’t be afraid to ask for help. For example, enlist your loved ones to lend a hand at home. Or seek guidance from your co-workers or supervisor in the office.
Give Yourself Some Grace
You’re not a machine. You’re a human who needs time off. So, remember: you’re allowed to create a work-life balance for yourself. In fact, it should be a top priority in your life.
The Bottom Line
Creating a work-life balance is essential because doing so will help you enjoy every element of your journey on Earth to the fullest. Hopefully, you now feel like achieving that balance is within your reach.
If you decide that you need a new job to hit that goal, head over to ZipRecruiter to search and apply for your next opportunity!