Feel like you’re off-balance when it comes to your professional and personal life? You’re not alone! So many busy, ambitious women feel this way, and it’s important that you do something about it before you get burnt out.
Here are 19 effective ways to restore your work-life balance so it’s not all work and no play while you smash your goals and enjoy your life!
1. Set and keep clear boundaries
Establishing clear boundaries between your work and personal life is key to healthy work-life balance. For example, define specific work hours and avoid doing any work-related tasks during your personal time. It’s a slippery slope when it comes to letting your boundaries down, even “just this once”, so once you set a boundary, make sure you keep it!
2. Set realistic goals (and timeframes)
Set achievable and realistic goals for both your work and personal life to avoid unnecessary stress and pressure. While having big, ambitious goals are great, if you’re going to burn yourself out along the way, is it really worth it? We often overestimate how much we can accomplish in a year, and underestimate how much we can accomplish in three. So take a good look at your goals and ensure you’re giving yourself enough time to achieve them.
Need some help with setting goals? Check out my blog: How to set goals you'll actually achieve.
3. Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
You can’t do it all, and if you want to maintain a healthy work-life balance, you shouldn’t try! Prioritising is an important ingredient to maintaining balance, so make sure you identify and prioritise tasks based on their importance and deadlines. Focus on high-priority tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed, and before you do something, ask yourself why you’re doing it, and whether it really needs to be done.
4. Learn to say no thanks
If you want to maintain balance, it’s important not to overfill your plate. Learning to say no is important because when we say yes to everything, we’re really saying no to our balance. Recognise your limits and be willing to decline additional tasks or commitments when necessary to maintain balance.
5. Establish a routine
To prevent getting overwhelmed, create a daily or weekly routine that includes dedicated time for work, personal activities, and relaxing. Consistency helps to foster a sense of balance, ensuring you don’t spend all your time on work with no time for play.
6. Change your mindset and belief systems around work-life balance
If you believe that you’re always too busy, overwhelmed, time poor and have no work-life balance, that’s going to be your reality. The first shift required in order to have a healthy work-life balance is to believe that it’s actually possible for you, and that you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice anything to do it.
What thoughts do you have around work-life balance? What stories are you telling yourself about it? Self-awareness is the first step for making positive change, so get aware about your belief systems and mindsets around work-life balance. Then, actively change your self-talk and beliefs to be in-line with the outcomes you want to achieve.
For example, the belief I’ve developed that enables me to maintain balance in my life and do things that bring me joy, while running two businesses and working full time (plus high-performing in my role), is that “I am efficient and can get more done than the average person” and “having work-life balance while reaching my goals is effortless for me.”
7. Create a dedicated workspace
If you work from home, it’s important to keep your personal life and work separate. Having your work computer set up on your dining table is not a good idea. Ensure you have an office or dedicated desk and area where you can set up your workspace, and create a clear separation between work and personal life.
8. Schedule (and take) breaks
Short breaks can improve your focus and productivity, so schedule breaks throughout the day to recharge. Pop a recurring break time reminder into your work calendar for consistency.
9. Establish "no work" times
Designate specific times when work-related activities are off-limits, such as evenings, weekends, or specific days for personal time. This will prevent work from creeping its way into your personal life.
10. Limit screen time
I bet you actually have a lot more disposable time than you think you do, but it’s getting eaten up by your phone or TV. Set boundaries for technology use, especially outside of work hours, and limit yourself to a specific window of time for Tik Tok or Insta, and your favourite shows. Then, give yourself the rest of the time to focus on other things that help you to maintain balance and self-care, like exercise, walking in nature, or to dedicate to a hobby to relax.
11. Delegate tasks and share the load
Delegate responsibilities at work and at home when possible to help take some of the pressure off. This helps distribute the workload and reduce stress. But if that’s not possible, remind yourself that sometimes the vacuuming isn’t going to be able to get done, the washing pile is going to expand, and the dishes are going to pile up, and that’s ok. Cut yourself a bit of slack – sometimes we have bigger priorities than doing the house work, but we’ll get around to it when we’re ready.
12. Have a daily “power hour”
A power hour is when you designate an entire hour to a specific task you want to get done, that requires uninterrupted attention. Schedule your power hour at a time of day when you’re the most productive, and block it out in your calendar, with clear intentions of what you’re going to use it for each time. You’ll be surprised by how much you can get done in an hour uninterrupted!
13. Find hobbies you enjoy
Life shouldn’t be all work and no play. Often, if we’re ambitious and career focused, we have our eye on the prize and work tirelessly to get there due to impatience, and this can lead to burnout or waking up one day wondering why we have no friends or hobbies.
Take the time to pursue activities and join groups that interest you so you can have hobbies to break up the work and bring more joy to your life. If you have hobbies but no time to do them, BLOCK OUT THE TIME and ensure you’re prioritising time for fun in your life! Sign up for that jewellery making class, go along to that Women’s Mastermind, and try out the things you’ve been meaning to forever – there’s no better time than now! And if you don’t like it, cross it off your list of things to try and move onto the next thing.
14. Plan regular holidays and activities
Schedule regular holidays or breaks to recharge and disconnect from work. This helps prevent burnout and promotes overall wellbeing. Plan activities and events in advance so they’re blocked out in your calendar and have fun things to look forward to, whether it’s a show, a new movie that’s coming out, a festival or winter weekend away with friends, pre-planning holidays and activities means you won’t let the year run away with you without doing anything memorable!
Plan things with friends, family, your significant other, but also solo with yourself – remember that you don’t need to have support people in order to go on holiday by yourself, or try something new.
15. Establish a “self-care” routine
Prioritise self-care activities, including exercise, meditation, hobbies, and sufficient sleep. Taking care of your wellbeing is crucial for balance. Whether it’s having a relaxing bubble bath once a week, going to a swanky yoga class, or having a cup of herbal tea and doing journaling or reading before bed each night, or having a meditation practice, integrating self-care into your busy schedule will help to restore balance and joy.
16. Plan quality time
Do you ever try planning catching up with friends, and it takes 14 business days to find a time to suit everyone? Plan your catch ups in advance and ensure they’re regular, so you don’t end up seeing your mates once a year! Schedule and prioritise quality time with family and friends so that you don’t end up filling up your busy schedule with work stuff. If you make it a recurring, regular thing, even better!
17. Get to know your limits
To maintain a healthy work-life balance, you need to get to know yourself and your limitations. Recognise the signs that you’re going off balance, so that when it happens in future you know when to pull back. A strategy for working this out is keeping a journal each day with some notes about how you’re feeling and what’s on your plate. You’ll soon start to understand when you’re getting off balance and how much you can take on at any one time before you’re reaching your hard limits!
18. Evaluate and adjust
Regularly assess your work-life balance and make adjustments as needed. Be flexible in adapting to changing circumstances, and be kind to yourself. You’re going to find yourself in situations where you’ve taken on too much. Don’t be afraid to change your plans and put yourself first. If you do find you’ve gone off balance, take the time to reflect on what caused it so you can learn from it and move forward.
19. Seek support and talk it out
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek support from colleagues, friends, or family. Discussing challenges can provide valuable insights and solutions, and sometimes we just need to have a little vent in order to feel better!
Now you have the tips, go get that balance!
Having a great work-life balance isn’t rocket science. By following these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to restoring balance and keeping it.
If you need help on your journey, book a free consult with me – I’m a certified life coach and accredited cognitive behavioural therapy practitioner who specialises in helping ambitious peeps like you to design their lives and achieve their biggest goals. I know I can help you get the accelerated growth and progress you otherwise probably wouldn’t think is possible!
Thanks for reading! If you want more, check out my other blogs, follow me on Facebook: @Janellekeesue, TikTok: @janelle.keesue, Instagram: @janellekeesue. You can also book a free session with me here!
About the author, Janelle Kee-Sue
Janelle Kee-Sue is a Certified Life and Mindset Coach, accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Practitioner, Self-Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner, and is completing a Diploma in Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy and NLP with the New Zealand School of Professional Hypnotherapy.
Based in Wellington, New Zealand, she specialises in helping people to change their thinking so they can change their lives; to reprogram their negative thought patterns, banish limiting beliefs for good, learn techniques for being less stressed and anxious, more emotionally regulated, positive and resilient, so they can achieve any goal, and lead happier, more fulfilling lives. In her spare time, you’ll find her at the gym, working on her novel, or hanging with her floofy Samoyed Zeus and her husband Ricky. Learn more.