What Is Work-Life Balance and Tips to Achieve It

A poor work-life balance can have a serious negative effect on your productivity, efficiency, and ability to focus at work

But it’s not all gloom and doom. There are things you can do to achieve a healthy work-life balance and keep your productivity high. It just requires a bit of dedication and a change in mindset. 

We’ll share the strategies that we’ve found can support you on this journey the most.

What Is Work-Life Balance and Tips to Achieve It
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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Key Takeaways: 

  • Work-life balance can be described as an equilibrium between professional and personal life. Having a poor work-life balance can have negative effects on your work productivity, efficacy, and focus
  • Creating a schedule (and sticking to it) is a good way to improve your work-life balance.
  • Time management is an important part of achieving a good work-life balance. Many proven techniques and strategies for managing time can help you achieve your ideal work-life balance.

What Is Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance can be described as an almost perfect parity between a person’s professional and personal life. 

Having a good work-life balance means distributing your work and personal obligations in such a way that neither of them completely takes over your life. It’s a state of equilibrium that’s easy to imagine but really difficult to pull off consistently due to a variety of factors:

  • Poor time management and/or lack of time-management skills
  • A sudden increase in workload 
  • Longer working hours
  • Health problems
  • Various personal responsibilities (taking care of children or elderly family members, etc…) 

Working to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance can have a lot of positives, including:

  • Increased productivity and efficacy
  • Better focus at work
  • Lower stress levels
  • Lower risk of burnout
  • Better overall well-being

7 Tips to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Tips to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

When it comes to achieving a good work-life balance, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What exactly constitutes a good work-life balance will depend on each individual, and the steps to get there will be different for every person. There are, however, certain things that can be useful across the board. 

We’ve turned them into a list of tips and advice that you can use to improve your work-life balance. 

Let’s review them.

1. Create a Schedule

Scheduling, even if it's making a simple to-do list, can make it easier for you to plan ahead without getting overwhelmed by everything you need to do in the different spheres of your life. It goes without saying that your job is important, but it's equally important to not let it become your entire life, so it’s crucial that you spend some time listing what you’d like to get done in your private life as well. With a daily schedule, you can expect to:

  • Meet daily goals
  • Increase your productivity
  • Limit procrastination

Creating a daily schedule is not that difficult, even if you haven’t done it before. All you have to do is:

  • List all of your tasks for the day (week or month) — Identify all your work and personal tasks and note them down (e.g., on a piece of paper or in digital form).
  • Prioritize tasks based on difficulty or how much time they’ll take to complete — You can try out the Eisenhower matrix, a proven technique for task prioritization. To start off, you should create 4 categories of tasks: Important and Urgent, Important but Not Urgent, Not important but Urgent, and Not Important and Not Urgent. Review your current tasks and put them into one of those categories. Schedule Important and Urgent tasks first, then move on to Important but Not Urgent. After, try to delegate Not important but Urgent tasks. And lastly, you can completely ignore the Not Important and Not Urgent tasks (delete them from your task list).
  • Create your schedule and enjoy the benefits — After compiling a list of your tasks and prioritizing them, all that’s left to do is put them in a schedule. You can use a regular calendar, a simple piece of paper, or a digital planner. The decision is completely up to you.

2. Work on Your Time Management

Good time management is an important part of achieving work-life balance. It can help you spread your time between various activities (work or non-work-related) to achieve better productivity and overall results. 

Organizing your time effectively is one of the best ways to prevent burnout, reduce stress and stop procrastinating. It can also help you organize your leisure time and ensure you’re never feeling overworked. There are many different time management strategies and techniques that you can try to improve the way you manage time. 

Begin by allocating your time wisely among various activities, both work and non-work-related. Try using different time tracking apps to gain insights into time allocation and working patterns. These tools help you keep track of your work in an organized way, providing useful information to improve how you manage time.

weekly timesheet - time tracking

3. Set Boundaries at Work

When employers or managers feel comfortable calling you outside of work hours to talk about work-related stuff, that can be a problem. Instead of using your off time to relax and unwind, you end up feeling permanently stuck in work-think, which can cause or exacerbate burnout.  Work boundaries can be divided into three categories:

  • Physical 
  • Emotional
  • Time 

If you feel like setting boundaries can compromise your job security or get you in trouble with your manager or employer, try to start small. Setting boundaries at work doesn't have to be uncomfortable or confrontational. 

For example, you can say that you won’t be answering any work emails for a particular weekend because you're going away on a trip with your family. Just see where that gets you, what sort of reaction you get, and go from there. If the reaction is positive, you can continue to push the needle toward “I won't be answering any work emails on any weekend unless it’s an emergency.”

4. Set Goals and Prioritize

Setting long and short-term goals is not only a good way to achieve success (either in professional or personal life) but is also a catalyst for attaining a good work-life balance. When you know what your goals are, you can work on achieving them. By doing that, you’ll limit the amount of time you spend working on things that don’t help you reach your goals. It's that simple. But how do you set your goals and prioritize?

One of the most proven methods for goal setting is called the S.M.A.R.T method, and it stands for:

  • S (setting specific goals) — Define what your goals are and make them detailed and easy to understand.
  • M (setting measurable goals) — Figure out which metrics you want to use to measure progress towards reaching your goals.
  • A (setting achievable goals) — Make sure that your goals are within the scope of your abilities and resources, or that you actually can achieve them.
  • R (setting relevant goals) — Ensure that your goals complement your personal and professional values and general life priorities. 

T (setting goals that are time-bound) — Set realistic deadlines for reaching your goals. This will push you to achieve them within a specified time frame, while also helping you stay focused and not lose your motivation.

5. Have Regular Breaks

Having regular breaks can help keep your focus and productivity levels up during work. It can also help you destress, relax, and lower the chances of you feeling overworked or burned out. Some suggest that taking a short break after every 60-70 minutes of work is the way to go. Others, including MIT professor Rober Pozen, suggest that taking a 15-minute break every 90 minutes is best.

6. Ask for Flexible Work Hours

Flexible work hours (or flextime) is a type of job arrangement where employees have more control over their work hours (every day or on certain days of the week). There are different ways this arrangement can work, from employees being able to freely choose their work hours to having a specified range in which they have to put in their 8 hours (e.g., they have to do their work between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm). 

This type of work arrangement can allow parents to spend their mornings helping their kids get ready for school without having to focus as much on getting themselves ready.  

Having a flexible work schedule can allow you to quickly shift priorities between work and personal life in the case of an emergency. Additionally, some studies have shown that flextime can positively affect well-being and can help people achieve and maintain work-life balance.

7. Stay Active

Staying active outside of work by spending time on your physical activity of choice is a great way to reduce stress, can positively impact your health and well-being, and can aid you in achieving work-life balance. 

You can take regular walks, do some stretches at your office desk, or go for a run after work; it’s completely up to you. Just, try to find something that you feel comfortable doing and that you have time for, and then just do it constantly until it becomes a regular part of your routine.

Why Is Work-Life Balance Important?


Overworking can significantly lower a person’s productivity and ability to do quality work. A study from Stanford shows that people’s work output greatly diminishes after working 50 or more hours in a single week. They have also determined that employees who work 70 hours per week aren’t productive for at least 15 of those extra hours.

Preventing Burnout

Poor work-life balance and overworking are two of the main causes that increase the risk of burnout and can lead to burnout. If not managed appropriately and in a timely manner, burnout can cause productivity and work efficacy issues, as well as some health problems. Having a good work-life balance can serve as an insulator against burnout.

Job Satisfaction

When individuals have time for personal activities and relaxation, they are more focused and efficient during working hours, creating a positive cycle of satisfaction that benefits both the employee and the organization.

Better Focus

A balanced work-life approach has a positive effect on people's ability to focus at work. 

Effectively balancing your professional and personal live has the following positive effects: 

  • Reduced Fatigue - can prevent excessive fatigue by allowing individuals to rest and recharge during personal time.
  • Lower Stress Levels - enhance mental clarity and concentration, enabling individuals to approach tasks at work with a calmer and more focused mindset.

Physical and mental health 

Chronic fatigue and stress are just some of the issues that can arise from overworking and poor work-life balance. Taking enough time to pursue personal hobbies and doing things that make you feel good can help you relax and recharge your batteries.