Work-Life Balance Tips From 59 People
Work-life balance is something many — or most — of us strive for. But our 21st-century, “always on” lifestyles have led to a blurring between our professional and private lives. Achieving some sort of harmony between the two often becomes a challenge.
Still, it’s got to be possible, right?
I wanted to know what others thought about this challenge — and more specifically how they’d managed to achieve it. I reached out to my contributor list to ask people for their best work-life balance tips. The response was deafening; it’s something almost everyone has struggled with, and as a result, everyone has their own way of coping with it.
Some of the recurring themes in the responses involved setting boundaries, disconnecting after work hours, and carving out time for family, friends, and socializing. Below you’ll find 59 of the top answers to that eternal question of how to balance work and life.
Work-Life Balance Tips: The Complete List
Take short, monthly excursions
We’ve spent the entire month thinking about sales and new lead generation. That’s why I have a monthly routine in which I spend the first or last weekend of the month recharging to be ready for what the new month has in store for myself and the business. I typically drive to a new location, take a short excursion, hike, or have a weekend getaway with my family. After recharging over a weekend, I feel energized and ready to manage the business.
– Liam Johnson of TheHitchStore
Designate the time you’ll spend on every task and activity
I schedule my day by allotting a specific amount of time for my work tasks and life activities. When I need to work, knowing that I’m only allowing myself a specific amount of time helps my brain focus and get it done. I eliminate distractions and put my phone on Do Not Disturb during this time. This allows me to enjoy my hobbies and family time without thinking about work at all because I know that I did the work properly with full focus.
– Tomer David of Sourcing Monster
Allow yourself downtime
It’s important for your mental health and well-being, and it will also help you be more productive at work. Your downtime can be anything. It could simply be an hour a day or an entire day off once a week. Whatever you choose, allow yourself to have a break and re-energize. You can also take some time off for your family and/or friends. Schedule a dinner or lunch with one of your friends. Ask your mom if she would like to go shopping with you. Or, schedule a family event where you all can go on a fun activity during the day. You need to ensure your work-life balance! Many people sacrifice certain components of their personal lives for work because they feel like they cannot survive without it. But this is not true at all! When I took care of myself more and found time for my relationships, my work life balance became so much better.
– Jen Jones of Your Dog Advisor
Aim for discipline, not rigidity
Working remotely is very flexible, and often people aren’t ready for it. The freedom and flexibility are hard to manage. This is where discipline comes in. You can go to the gym in the morning, but you then need to know that you’re going to accomplish your work goals in the afternoon. You can spend the afternoon doing admin or with the kids, but then know you’re going to split your day into morning and evening. This is important, because if you’re too rigid, you can end up making your days feel complicated and complex. Instead, work on having a flexible mindset so you can adapt each day to what it brings, and trust in yourself to get the job done. Working remotely requires a lot of self-management; this is a learning curve, so don’t be hard on yourself or your employees as they get used to this.
– Lorena Perez – Chief People Officer of Novakid
Prioritize what’s important to you
The most important thing to do when trying to manage your work-life balance is to be honest about what is important to you. If you are honest about what is truly important to you, it will be easier to make decisions that align with your values and priorities. For example, if your family is more important than work, you will need to make sure you are making time for your family and not letting work consume all your time and energy.
– Tom McSherry of Smuggs
Manage your content consumption
Getting into a productive mindset all starts with how you begin your day. If you overload your mind with an influx of information right after waking up, you’re already at a disadvantage. You’ll feel distracted all day and spend more time and energy trying to get your mind back on track. That scattered feeling impacts work and home life — and rarely positively! That said, it also comes down to the kind of content you consume. Starting the day with podcasts and books that put you in a determined and focused state of mind is a better alternative than mindlessly scrolling through social media posts.
– Brian Casel of ZipMessage
Change up your surroundings
Sitting at a desk for hours at a time can prove detrimental to your well-being. The problem is compounded while working remote, as you can’t get up and chat with your peers before tackling complex tasks. It’s hard to unwind mentally when you’re looking at the same screen all day, as the work quickly becomes tiring and monotonous. The solution is to frequently change your surroundings. Taking a quick walk or stepping outside for a cup of coffee can help reduce your stress, give your eyes a break, and mitigate psychological fatigue — all of which prevent your work from overwhelming you.
– Max Wesman of GoodHire
Use scheduling blocks
Yes, it can be really easy to blur the lines when working from home, and even easier to get sucked into working long hours because of these blurred lines. As someone who has had to navigate this for almost a decade, I would highly recommend structuring some boundaries between work and home life. You can do this by giving yourself set hours every day. I personally set up my day with three 20-minute walks a day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one after work). It gives me a brain break and helps structure my day into two four-hour blocks for getting work done and fully focusing on work.
– Beth Bovie of DOE Media
Schedule a beginning and end of your workday
Plan your day with specific times to start and end work. Then start practicing with the goal of keeping to your new schedule just one day a week. Think to yourself, on Monday, I will make myself walk away from work at 5 p.m., and I will ask someone to help me stay accountable. When this becomes a habit, expand your goal to two days a week.
– Katey Trelaor of Executive Function Coaching
Create a routine
Having a daily routine, especially when you work remotely, is a great way to maintain a healthy work-life balance. If you’re able to set your own schedule, let your coworkers know that you’re only able to respond during certain hours of the day. This will allow you to set up work-life boundaries and avoid the ‘always on’ culture that some remote work teams develop. “Always on” isn’t healthy and doesn’t foster productivity in the long run.
– Coty Perry of Your Bass Guy
Maintain your boundaries
The way to create a work-life balance or balance anywhere in your schedule is to start with setting boundaries. Here’s the thing about creating boundaries; that’s the easy part. Maintaining boundaries is where the real magic happens, though. In order to have any type of cohesive flow (balance) in our schedules, we have to decide what we are available for and what we’re not, and then hold ourselves and others to that.
– Heather Jones of Heather Jones Coaching
Define your ideal lifestyle
I believe it is essential to clarify what balance means to you as an entrepreneur. I begin by describing my ideal lifestyle and the things I want to create room for. I have it written down and displayed in my workplace as my notion of balance, which for me is represented by this ideal way of living. I reevaluate my ideal lifestyle while making decisions about my time (both personally and professionally) and respond accordingly.
– Alex Constantinou of The Fitness Circle
Designate a “work-only” area
I recommend designating a spot in your house as your ‘work-only’ area, even if it’s just a corner in a room that is separate from your bedroom. This will help your brain associate that space with work mode and make it easier to get into the right mindset when you sit down to start your day. By having a specific place for work, you can create a mental boundary between your job and the rest of your life. When you’re done working for the day, close the laptop and walk away from the desk — this will help you to psychologically detach from work so that you can enjoy your personal time more fully.
– Will Yang of Instrumentl
Develop healthy ways to manage stress
Stress is a major contributor to poor work-life balance. When you’re stressed, it’s difficult to focus on anything other than the source of your stress. This can lead to burnout at work and conflict in your personal life. It’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress. Some people find relief in exercise, while others prefer meditation or deep breathing exercises. Find what works for you and make time for it every day. You may also want to consider seeing a therapist if you find yourself overwhelmed.
– Demi Yilmaz of Colonist.io
Ask for help
You can get help if you need it; I don’t think you have to be a superhuman. Don’t be shy about asking for assistance, whether at work or at home. If you’re having a hard time keeping up at work, it may help to delegate some of your duties to colleagues or to request less work from your superiors. If you need help around the house, ask a family member or look into hiring a cleaning service. You can also think about getting things like grocery delivery or dry cleaning picked up and delivered to your house. Ideally, you’ll be able to relax a little bit and give more attention to what really matters.
– Zephyr Chan of Living the Good Life
Avoid judging yourself
There are always tasks to be done as a business owner or entrepreneur. And going remote either on travels or back at home often means additional commitments or distractions; that new place you want to explore or the kids you want to spend time with. Don’t judge yourself for that one unproductive day. Give yourself permission to just truly enjoy that downtime. Remember, it is a long game.
– Rax Suen of NomadsUnveiled
We can often spend so much time pouring over how to find the perfect work-life balance without realizing that this is a huge time waster in and of itself. The majority of the time, you will instinctively know whether you’re giving too much of yourself to one or the other, and as soon as you recognize this, you should start to make a shift. Work-life balances are fragile and malleable; one size doesn’t fit all. Play around with it.
– Daniel Jackson of Pet Lover Guy
Say “yes” to social plans
Practice saying Yes more when invited to parties, events, dinners, and other social gatherings. We fail at our social life and thrive at work because we say “No” to everything, even when it’s not a workday. The slogan is always, “I have so much work to catch up on; I can’t make it.” Say “Yes” to work when it’s working hours and “No” to work when it’s not working hours.
– Lydia Mwangi of Barbell Jobs
Keep an eye on your health
Having a healthy diet and eating food items that are rich in protein and nutrients will help you stay active throughout the day. I have noticed that healthy eating helps with improved metabolism, which eventually helps with more productivity. You can achieve more with a healthy body.
– Ayman Zaidi of A-One Corporation
Embrace four-week cycles
I’m a big fan of four-week work cycles. Essentially, each month, you prioritize must-dos, should-dos, and good-to-dos, and then work through your to-do lists in order of importance. At the end of the cycle, reflect on your performance and re-order your priorities. This technique transforms a seemingly endless stream of work into more manageable increments and builds in milestones to keep you on track and organized.
– Michael Alexis of Team Building
Practice your hobbies
Each of us has a pastime, such as reading, writing, painting, photography, dancing, or collecting vintage postage stamps. Giving priority to work and family is just one aspect of a healthy work-life balance. Giving significance to one’s personal passions is another aspect of this. We frequently forget to nurture our own hopes and aspirations in the midst of managing our job and family. An employee is more likely to set aside time for themselves if they have a hobby. According to the preference of an employee, this does really help them quench their hunger for a wonderful existence.
– Aimi Davis of Online Mediums
Switch off after each day
When it comes to work-life balance, the best advice I can give is to ensure you have a specific time of the day when you switch off from work entirely. While this can be difficult to do as a CEO or a manager, it’s vital when maintaining this balance. By snoozing or silencing work notifications on your phone and laptop, you’ll be less likely to check on work progress outside your working hours. This will allow you to have time to yourself, and you can revisit any missed notifications in the morning during your work hours.
– Dave Sayce of Compare My Move
Find a job you enjoy
In my opinion, work should be something you love doing. Finding work you enjoy will help you avoid feeling like you have to drag yourself out of bed every morning. It’s true that finding the perfect job isn’t always feasible, but there are ways to improve your current position. To this end, I think it’s a good idea to make a list of things you’d like to accomplish and then celebrate each one.
– Kenny Kline of BarBend
Start your day early
An early start to the day allows me to better balance my work and life. By getting up a little earlier, I can: complete a workout, take my time through my morning routine, spend a little time on myself, and much more. After I’ve had a few hours to myself to start the day, I can better focus on my work, and I usually feel more awake. I use the next few hours to be very productive in my work, crossing things off my list and eliminating tasks I need to do. An earlier start to the day has made me more useful when I get to my desk each morning, which then frees me up at a reasonable time when it’s time to log off and get back to my personal life. Both aspects of my life — personal and professional — are important and also work hand-in-hand. I think that a few hours in the early morning has helped me balance them both a little better.
– Mia Cloud of Cloud Law Firm
Get enough rest
Pausing between tasks or phases of a project is the best way to gain perspective, sharpen your decision-making skills, and better manage stress. You should take frequent breaks from your cube to stretch, drink water, and snack.
– Tim Parker of Syntax Integration
Take time to relax
Short morning or afternoon walks, stretching, meditating, and other relaxing activities can help with work-life balance as these activities aid in managing stress. Working or managing one’s company can really be stressful. Engaging in more relaxing activities will significantly enhance physical and mental health, which in turn will help people perform better in their jobs.
– Michael May of Wimpole Clinic
Harness your natural working rhythms
The rise of remote work has given way to a rise in flexible working schedules. Given these conditions, one of the best work-life balance management tips is to embrace your natural peak times. If you are more alert in the mornings, rise early and knock out blocks of work before coworkers or clients start contacting you. If you are most creative in the evenings, brainstorm after everyone else has gone to bed. Forcing yourself to conform to others’ ideas of “best working hours” takes excess energy and winds up dragging out your workday. By finding and taking advantage of your own optimal times, you will get more done in less time and carve out space for non-work.
– Carly Hill of Virtual Halloween Party
Set clear boundaries
Having boundaries that others respect is essential to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You can’t let your work life intrude on your downtime and personal life or family time. It’s really important to set boundaries, so your boss or clients understand that it’s unacceptable for you to be taking work with you everywhere. You have to make it clear you aren’t always going to be available and need to have a distinction between home and work. If they try to push back against those boundaries and are contacting you at all times of the day (and night) or not giving you that space, then you may have to either get very firm or even consider ending your relationship.
– Sally Gibson of Someone Sent You a Greeting
Identify your strengths and limits
Knowing what you’re good at will help you become more intentional about what tasks to prioritize and what projects to take on. This will enable you to allocate your time and effort where you can be more productive and feel more fulfilled, resulting in improved mental resilience against the stress of work. This will also empower you to delegate assignments to others who are better suited for them, making you a great team player. Not to mention, the awareness of your own strengths and limitations will allow you to overcome your own internal critic and keep you from becoming your own enemy.
– Sam Nabil of Naya Clinics
Pick up a book
Nothing takes me out of my work more than reading a book or magazine. Reading is one of the last forms of entertainment you can do in your home that pulls you away from a screen and encourages you to do something other than work. Even social media on a smartphone can feel a bit like work — it creates anxiety and steals away your time. A book can completely disconnect you from your work and will provide you with a much-needed escape through the wonderful world of words, stories, and a physical thing in your hands.
– David Curtis of Blue Pig Media
Learn how to turn down work
Knowing when to say “no” can help you avoid taking on more work than you’ve time for, regardless of how long you’ve been in a company or how recently you established your startup. You can review your existing client list to identify which ones put you under more stress and sap your energy if you’re having trouble finishing your workload. Inform these consumers with respect that you are unable to accept their order at this time. As a business owner, keep in mind that maintaining a healthy work-life balance requires you to learn to say “no” when you don’t have the time to take on more responsibilities.
– Paul Somerville of Electric Scooter Guide
Learn to leave work at work
Learn to get away from work when working hours are over. This means you won’t let work get in the way of other activities that are equally important. When work hours or the time you allocated to work is over, resist the urge to let it interfere with the things like rest, alone time, or time with loved ones, among other things.
– Akshay of Onlinecourseing
Maintain a healthy diet
If you want to have the stamina to get through the day, eating well-balanced meals and snacks is the way to go. Don’t make eating lunch at your desk a habit. In my opinion, you should take a break from your desk and go outside for some fresh air and a sandwich. As a result of your break, you’ll probably be able to focus more intently on your work when you return for the afternoon.
– Frederic Linfjärd of Planday
Treat your home office like a real office
It is important to have a separate space that you are able to still “go to work” and stick with your routine. I set an alarm to wake up; I go downstairs to my office space to work. It is also crucial to end the day and leave the workspace like you would at the end of your normal day to go home.
– Samantha Crunkilton of Cheetah
Prioritize fun time
A day can only have so many hours. So make an effort to block off time in your calendar for enjoyment. Setting aside time for non-work activities can motivate you to finish your shift on time. Spend time with your family and family. Take a holiday or a day off to unwind. To strike a balance between your work and personal lives, you must take time off from your job.
– Bradley Bonnen of iFlooded Restoration
Sit down on Monday or Sunday evening and make a plan for the next week. List all the tasks and activities that you are going to do. Then prioritize them. It will set the week on the right foot and ward off any stress, as you will be certain about your position at any moment.
– Faizan Fahim of ServerGuy
Schedule activities during the workweek
Don’t wait for the weekend to have a social life. Instead, try to plan something between the work days to blow off some steam. It could be a meeting with your friend or a soccer game to refresh your mind and body. That way, you will work more efficiently and also look forward to your planned activity during the week.
– Sanjay Gill of Gaming Brick
Take power naps
A power nap is a short, restful sleep that can help refresh and rejuvenate you. It is important not to sleep for too long, though, as you may feel groggy afterward. 20-30 minutes is the perfect amount of time for a power nap.
– Fred Baker of Travelness
Protect your personal time
A healthy work-life balance hinges on the setting of boundaries. Taking on excess work for the sake of others can be overwhelming, and may prove harmful to your long-term productivity. Left unchecked, such a burden could disrupt even the most carefully cultivated work-life balance by eating away at your hard-earned downtime. Knowing how and when to say no is the best way to set and stick to healthy boundaries. It ensures that people respect your time — family, colleagues, or otherwise — and creates firm separations between your work and personal life.
– Andrew Gonzales of BusinessLoans.com
Realize work-life balance is a journey, not a destination
All aspects of life are constantly changing. Different areas of your life may need more attention at different times. This is okay. Take the time to define what the most important areas of your life are. Then take steps to make sure sure you are giving these areas attention. The end goal isn’t a perfectly balanced life, but a harmonious life.
– Sarah Loy of Gallacher Cochran Agency
If you have a job that keeps you from moving around much or you spend most of your free time on the couch, you probably sit too much. Too much time spent sitting or lying down each day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases and psychological distress. Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, and anxiety are all reduced when you take frequent, short walks and stand up for longer periods throughout the day.
– Holly Cooper of Lucas Products & Services
Invest in your relationships
Poor relationships increase a person’s risk of dying prematurely by 50%. This is nearly as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes each day. On the other hand, strong connections and social support may help people live healthier and longer lives.
– Davin S Joseph of myenamelpins.com
Remember that your job is not your life
Maybe you love your job and your team, but at the end of the day, it’s just a job. And there are way more important things in life. Your daughter is never going to take her first steps again, say her first words again, or do any of the other milestones we use to mark the road of parenthood. Your work is always going to be there, but there isn’t always another kid to raise, a wife or a husband to love, or good friends to hang out with. And realizing that is the most important part of managing your work-life balance.
– Velin Dragoev of Keen Fighter
Build 30-second to one-minute micro-breaks into your day. These short breaks have been shown to improve concentration, reduce stress, increase engagement, and improve satisfaction. This is especially true when working from home, but also applicable at the office.
– Isaiah Henry of Seabreeze Management Company
I firmly believe that trying to accomplish too much in one day will only lead to failure. If you can’t keep up with your to-do list, rethink your schedule. Consider the big picture and determine how much you can reasonably expect to achieve in a given time frame (hours, days, weeks, months, etc.). Then begin instituting restrictions. Grouping tasks of a similar nature into larger batches is one strategy. If you have several phone calls to make, for instance, schedule them all at once rather than making them throughout the day. This will help you use your time more efficiently and prevent 40% efficiency losses from task switching.
– Mike Owens of Web Hosting Advices
Schedule time for family and friends
We are all used to doing things with family and friends on the weekend, but scheduling time during the week can reinvigorate you and make you look forward to the week. It’s the perfect time to plan dinner with friends or sign up for a recurring activity like an art class or club. And bonus points if you can create a regular adult play date where you go bowling, watch movies, sing karaoke, or do something else fun.
– Heather Ritchie of Writer’s Life for You
Making errors is an inevitable part of being human; we are all susceptible to doing so. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you mess up. Treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you’d show to a friend. Self-compassion is a powerful stress-buster and mood-booster.
– Marie Ysais of Ysais Digital Marketing
Set aside an hour each day for yourself
It’s remarkable what we can actually fit into our schedules, especially when we make a conscious effort to do so. I frequently hear people say, “I don’t have time.” What if you started thinking differently and started setting aside an hour each day for yourself? Spend an hour improving yourself, like reading for one hour and acquiring new knowledge. The fact is, if something is important to us, we can find the time. We could become more innovative and have more energy and attention if we set aside this hour each day.
– Robin Antill of Leisure Buildings
Set and enforce boundaries
The best thing you can do to manage a work-life balance is to set boundaries and be firm with them. This means knowing when to say no to work-related tasks or requests and making time for yourself and your personal life. We are often afraid of disappointing others or saying no to opportunities, but it is important to remember that your well-being comes first.
– Nathan Richardson of Bariatric Journal
Figure out what you want
If you want a healthy work-life balance and to be happy in both your professional and personal lives, you should, in my opinion, set some professional goals. But these aspirations will vary from person to person; some may hope to advance their careers, others may be more concerned with financial gains, and still, others may simply want to find a job they enjoy doing while still having time for family. What’s crucial is figuring out what works best for you and then making it happen.
– Sandra Rios of Buzz Agency
Set your work hours — and stick to them
It is absolutely essential to have a start and stop time each workday. If you don’t, you can end up overworking yourself when new projects arise, which can cause you to burn out and lose motivation quickly. A major don’t is answering work emails outside of the working hours that you set — you need time after work to de-stress, spend time with family and friends, and practice your hobbies to maintain a healthy life balance.
– Nathan Liao of CMA Exam Academy
Get enough sleep
I believe that chronic sleep deprivation can have long-term consequences for our health. Despite the common belief that eight hours of sleep per night is necessary for a healthy brain, the truth is that everyone has different sleep requirements. Between six and 10 hours per day is possible; figure out how much time you need and stick to it as much as possible.
– Tia Campbell of Practice Reasoning Tests
Respect your spouse’s working hours
My husband and I have offices across the hall from each other. In the morning, we each tell the other what our day looks like. We knock if we need to interrupt and ask if it’s a bad time. We’ll text about some things, like we would if we weren’t in the same house. We coordinate lunchtime as well. In short, we treat each other like coworkers during the day, and it works for us. In the evening, we proceed as if we’ve just gotten off work.
– Lauren Keen Aumond of Adulting Is Easy
Stop checking emails on your phone
Taking away your ability to check your work emails at home can be an actionable and helpful tip if you are trying to have a better work-life balance. Even if you work remotely, only check emails while on your computer. Lock it up after each day to reduce the temptation to read through emails when at home. If you take the email app off your phone, you can focus on being present in your personal life, and it takes away a lot of the stress that comes with having easy access to work emails/messages. Not having that pressure to constantly check your work messages can really help balance out your work life and home life and to keep them appropriately separate.
– Shaun Connell of Credit Building Tips
Take a lunch break
Working through lunch hour will only benefit your work, not your health. Plus, you’re not getting paid! You can go for a walk, join a yoga session, or simply schedule a lunch date with a friend. It is a nice way to break up the day.
– Louise Marilyn of Louise Marilyn
Stop working weekends
I was always caught between two opposing emotions when it came to working on the weekends: I enjoyed the sensation of being ahead on Monday morning if I worked, but I despised the idea of giving up any of my precious weekend time. So, when I watched movies on Sunday nights, I began completing some of the more mindless work on my to-do list. Even though I had a full weekend, I felt more prepared when Monday morning rolled around.
– Emir Bacic of Pricelisto
Adjust your hours
If you’re putting in excessive hours and feeling overwhelmed by your workload, you should discuss it with your supervisor. It can be difficult to speak up or to ask for assistance at times. If we don’t, however, our boss might not recognize the additional effort you’ve been putting in. Describe the problem and suggest potential solutions like shifting or eliminating some of your responsibilities.
– Steve Elliott of Restoration1
Take time for yourself
To get the best work-life balance it can be really tempting to fill up your “out of work” time with endless events and social occasions to make the most of it. You can end up burning yourself out without taking those moments specifically for unwinding. Taking time to yourself is extremely important in the balancing act because it actually allows time for just you. Try to find something in that time that helps you relax, like reading, watching TV, or even meditating. Something that allows your brain to switch off and allow it to be more energetic for your work life and for your social life.
– Chad Price of Chad Price
Try to love what you do
One of the best ways to manage work-life balance is to try and find a way to love what you do. If you can find a way to be passionate about your work, it won’t feel like such a chore to go to work every day. Additionally, if you love what you do, you’ll be more likely to put in the extra effort to ensure that your work is high quality. Finally, finding a way to love your work will help you to feel more fulfilled both professionally and personally.
– Will Cannon of Uplead
Work smart, not long
Learn to get more done in less time. Follow the Pomodoro Technique and work in short, focused bursts lasting 25 minutes, separated by five-minute breaks. This will boost your productivity, allowing you to complete all your tasks during regular working hours. Now you can take the rest of the day off to spend time with friends and family or pursue hobbies.
– Leanna Serras of FragranceX
See Also: 27 Best Work-Life Balance Jobs