5 Steps to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Separate office life from home life with these helpful tips.

One of the steps to improve work-life balance is to master your time management skills.

You might love what you do, but inbox overload, extended meetings, and late-night correspondence can overwhelm even the most dedicated professionals. And as more teams work remotely, it can feel as though your office life is continually invading your home life more than usual (or the other way around!). Here are to steps to improve your work-life balance, whether you’re at the office or working from home:

  1. Master your time management skills
  2. Prioritize for productivity
  3. Rethink how you work from home
  4. Set boundaries
  5. Unplug and unwind

Keep reading for more tips and tricks to take back your time, establish priorities, and avoid burnout.

Master your time management skills

It takes practice to learn how to manage your day effectively. But once you get the hang of time management skills, you’ll find that you’re more productive and can achieve a better work-life balance.

Prioritize for productivity

As discussed in a previous blog post on smart productivity principles, there are dozens of “tried-and-true” methods to prioritize your tasks better. And the more organized your tasks, the more you’ll get done in less time, which makes it easier to improve your work-life balance. Here are a few more task strategies to consider:

  • The Eisenhower Matrix has you rank your activities as urgent or not urgent, and important or not important
  • The “Eat the Frog” theory suggests you should devote most of your time to your most important tasks (i.e., the ones you’re probably likely to put off)
  • The Pomodoro Technique involves working for 25 minutes, then taking a five-minute break

Try them all and figure out what works best for you and your work style.

Rethink how you work from home

Working remotely can have its health benefits right now, but it always comes with challenges, especially when it comes to establishing work-life balance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have found themselves working from home for the first time—an adjustment that’s not always easy.

Here are a few helpful hints for working away from the office to keep your work life separate from home life:

  • Replicate your office environment
  • Stick to your routine
  • Establish a workspace free from distractions

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially when we’re available 24/7, thanks to technology. But spending too much time focused on work can harm your health and job performance.

Whether you’re in the office or working remotely, here are some tips for setting healthy boundaries and drawing a distinction between work time and personal time:

  • Make a conscious effort to log off and walk away at the end of each workday
  • Avoid the temptation to check email at bedtime
  • Limit your communication channels (for example, say “no” to texting or Facebook)
  • Communicate your expectations and model appropriate boundaries for others

Unplug and unwind

One of the best steps to improve your work-life balance is avoiding burnout by taking a vacation—a real vacation with no email or phone calls. While a getaway amid COVID-19 has its limits, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy some time away from the (home) office while following CDC safety protocols. For instance, rent a vacation home in a relaxing locale, head out on the open road in an RV, or take a trip to parks and hiking trails where social distancing practices are in place. Be sure to check and abide by the local safety mandates in the area where you’re heading. You can also consider a staycation where you can rediscover hobbies you might have set aside, spend time in nature (even if it’s your backyard), or give yourself permission to chill and simply “be.”

Another step to improve work-life balance is to also reserve free time in between holidays and vacations. Try booking 15–30 minutes on your calendar every day to take a walk, eat a healthy snack away from your desk, meditate, or even take a nap.

These are just some of the steps to improve your work-life balance. For more articles on making the most of your office life, head to our blog.

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