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Four Ways to Maintain a Good Work-Life Balance


Read time: 7m

Naturally, we desire to be successful in our jobs, but this can often be at the expense of our personal lives and commitments. Therefore, establishing a proper work-life balance is a necessity to stay happy and healthy in all aspects of your life.

A healthy work-life balance does not need to be a 50/50 split between the two. You should set these parameters yourself, understanding what makes you feel fulfilled and content in both areas of life so you don’t stretch yourself beyond your means.

So, let’s delve into a few ways in which you can establish, and maintain, a good work-life balance.

Set your work hours, and stick to them

When you’ve got a lot on at work, it’s all too easy to work through your break times. This is especially true for home workers; in an office you’re more likely to leave when others do or take your lunch break along with everyone else. When you’re working from home though, it can be much harder to pull yourself away from your computer. Even in the evening when you’ve finished for the day, if you’ve got a full work setup at home you may find yourself popping back in to respond to an email or finish off a task.

Realistically, sometimes it is necessary to work out of hours. You may have a report that needs finishing with a tight deadline, a client meeting that goes on longer than expected, or even just lots of small tasks to tick off. While not ideal, we have to accept that sometimes these things just happen. However, if it’s happening more often than not and you find yourself consistently working outside of hours, it’s likely to have a negative impact on your mental health and needs to be addressed.

You can do this by setting out your hours, making sure your colleagues are aware of your work schedule, and most importantly, sticking to it. Put your start and finish times in your calendar – and if your company facilitates flexible working, it doesn’t have to be the same every day.

Some days you might prefer to work later and then do a shorter shift the following day, or you might like the routine of starting and finishing at the same time each day. Whatever your preference, setting out your working schedule – including lunch/break times – and sticking to it can really help to make sure you don’t end up staring at your work screen long after you should have left.

Have a dedicated room or space for work

This one is really for home workers, but if you do work from home it’s important to ensure that the work home boundaries don’t become blurred. Make sure that you have a dedicated space set up as your workspace – ideally this will be its own room, but if this isn’t feasible then at least have a certain spot at the table or a desk in a corner that is your workspace. If at all possible, make sure this isn’t your bedroom – experts generally agree that having a work computer set up in your bedroom can have a negative impact on your sleep.


Likewise, if you work from a laptop, try not to have it in the areas that you use for rest or relaxation. If you like to spend your evenings on the sofa watching TV, don’t leave your laptop in the living room – the temptation to check in on work can be difficult to resist, and even if you don’t log on and look you’ll be thinking about work, which makes it difficult to switch off. This goes for the bedroom too! Ideally, leave your laptop in your workspace, or even fold it away into its case and store it somewhere out of sight overnight.

Switch notifications off when not at work

Whether you work remotely or in the office, there’s no getting away from your mobile phone at the end of the day. In fact most people use their phones as a mechanism for relaxing – scrolling through social media, playing games or watching videos to wind down.

Having apps like Gmail or Slack on your phone for work can be really useful, especially if your job involves being out and about. It does mean though that it’s all too easy to check in on work out of hours – especially if you get a notification through that someone has emailed or messaged you.

Even if you just read a message with the intention of responding to it tomorrow, you pull your brain away from your nice relaxed evening and back into work mode. It can also be difficult to put it to one side until the following day, meaning you end up responding or actioning requests in your personal time.

To deal with this, shut your notifications down as much as you can once you leave work. Disable push notifications in your settings, update your status to “away”, put yourself in do not disturb mode – anything you can do to minimise the risk of a notification grabbing your attention.

Let your colleagues know that you’re doing this, and you could try giving out your phone number so if they need to contact you in an emergency, they can just give you a call. This should help to put your mind at ease and stop you from checking on your inbox, just in case something critical comes up.

Break up the work day

Maintaining a positive work life balance doesn’t just have to be about keeping your evenings free. You can look for ways to break up the work day, to make it more manageable and less intense.

Make sure you take a proper lunch break, and do something with it! Sitting at your desk to eat  is not good for you. If possible, get away from your work space – go out for a walk or head to the shops. Even if you’re working from home and you just go into a different room for an hour, just do something to break up the work day.


Do something you enjoy with the time, go out with colleagues for a nice meal or watch an episode of that TV show you’re in the middle of. Giving yourself a proper break to switch off from work will really help with maintaining your work life balance.

You should also try to take short, regular breaks throughout the day. Just getting up and moving away from the screen for five minutes, whether it’s to grab a coffee or fold a load of laundry – anything that gives you a mental break. This will help with your productivity, and give your eyes a rest from the screen – a five minute break every hour is recommended.

Final thoughts…

Essentially, it’s about detaching yourself from work when you’re taking the time out for yourself. Understandably, work sometimes does take over and should be prioritised at times, but never over your own happiness.

As long as you follow the above, you’ll be well on your way to minimising overtime, staying stress-free and coping with your workload. And of course, you’ll be able to enjoy time away from the desk for personal commitments, friends and family and leisure.

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