Tips For A Better Work-Life Balance

The other day I was watching True Life on MTV (I know, I know, what a great source of information for a personal finance blog!) and they showed a man who was ALWAYS on his phone or on his laptop. He did not have a good work-life balance at all. His addiction was so bad…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: November 4, 2019

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Check out these tips for better work-life balance. This is a great list!The other day I was watching True Life on MTV (I know, I know, what a great source of information for a personal finance blog!) and they showed a man who was ALWAYS on his phone or on his laptop. He did not have a good work-life balance at all.

His addiction was so bad that him and his girlfriend went to therapy because he was addicted to work and staying online.

He said he worked 100 hours each week. Whether they were eating, driving, having fun or finding out that they were going to have a child, he was constantly doing work online.

I guess since self-employment is still relatively new to me, I find myself online or on my phone all the time too.

And, just last night, W told me that I’m a workaholic.

That isn’t new though. I’ve always kind of known that I’m addicted to work.

I wish I could say that I have a good work-life balance, but I probably do not. I don’t set time aside for work, which means that I bring my laptop with my everywhere and work while I do something else a lot of the time.

It is a good thing that I enjoy what I do, and that it doesn’t always feel like a job, but I do need to set boundaries and work on having a better work-life balance. I need to be able to fit time in for other things in life that do not consist of me being on my laptop and on the internet!

 

Have a set schedule to have a better work-life balance.

Whether you work at an office or you work for yourself at home, having a set schedule is very important. If you work from home, then it can be especially hard to leave work “in your office.” I often find myself working all morning and all night long.

If it means that the only way you can function is if you turn off your phone and leave it at home or in a completely separate room so that you don’t think about it, then you need to start doing that. I try to not bring my phone with me when I go out anymore. It stays at home so that I can truly enjoy myself!

Related: How To Be More Productive: 17 Tips To Help You Live A Better Life

 

Prioritize your work in order to have a better work-life balance.

I like to prioritize my tasks sometimes from the easiest to the hardest or the hardest to the easiest. The good part about doing easy tasks is that you can knock the little things out first and take items off your to do list. It always feels nice to cross things off your to do list, right?

I also make sure to do tasks for my clients first.  If something is important, I ALWAYS do that first. If something can wait a few hours or a few days, then I will put it at the end of my to do list.

 

Sometimes you have to say no so that you can have a better work-life balance.

If you always say “yes” to everything and you have no time for yourself or your own tasks, then you might want to learn how to say no. Having fewer items on your list of things to do will of course free up some time.

You’re probably thinking “But I HAVE to do that.”

No, you probably don’t. You should determine what the value of the task is to you. Could you possibly find someone else to do the task instead? Is the task worth your time?

 

Outsource jobs that you can hire others to do.

If you find yourself low on time, then you might want to consider hiring someone to help you out. There are virtual assistants, personal assistants and everything else out there. You can designate certain tasks that don’t exactly need YOU in order to function.

 

Have a to-do list.

I always have a to do list. Without it, I would spend too much time wondering if I had something to do. I also make good use of the calendar on my phone.

 

Set time aside to relax and to have fun.

You can do many things to make sure you have time to have fun. Maybe make each day after 6 p.m. a no-work night. You can do this by turning off everything completely and spending time with your friends and/or family.

 

How do you manage both work and life?

 


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Honestly, it just might not be possible for some people. I have a friend who can NOT relax or create any sort of balance. He’s literally always on the go.

    I think that one must accept prior to entering the world of entrepreneurship that there isn’t always going to be a good work-life balance. You always want to work. Schedules are to-do lists are great, but you can’t just put these down when an idea hits.

    1. I agree. It can be really hard to just stop working when you are working for yourself.

  2. Teffany @ Critical Financial

    During my first year of working as a Virtual Assistant I was so excited that I even accepted a sideline job during weekends that required 16 hours every Saturday and Sunday. I just stopped it when my daughter told me that I didn’t have time for her anymore, it really breaks my heart after hearing those words. And now I’m living a work life balance and I’m very happy about it.

    1. Aww that would break my heart too! Glad you are living a better work life balance.

  3. Well I can tell you I am getting worse at this, not better. I always have my phone and am working from my phone. I will reply to emails at all hours. At night when I wake up to go to the rr I will check my phone and answer emails or send emails that come to mind.
    I need to let stuff go sometimes, but I’m at the point where I feel like I can’t. Maybe if I were less driven professionally I could but I want to succeed so badly that I feel like I can’t quit.

    1. Yes, I ALWAYS wake up in the middle of the night and check my phone as well ๐Ÿ™

  4. I’m with Allison- I want to succeed so badly that I feel like I can’t quit! It did help a little when I moved my laptop off the kitchen table and into the office in the basement- at least then I stopped working while eating dinner/watching tv/etc. Now I have more designated times to work.

    1. Yes, I’m the same. The fear of failure definitely makes me work hard!

  5. Having a set schedule is big for me….between being able to work from home for my day job, AND my online/blogging activities I could easily let it consume every waking second. I need to leave the laptop safely tucked away in my home office and allow myself to take time for myself.

    1. Yes, a schedule is so important!

  6. I really need to outsource some things or hire a virtual assistant. There are plenty of things I spend a lot of time on that I really shouldn’t.

    1. Hire one! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Brian

    At my job I am literally only allowed to work 40 hours a week. So the second I hit 40 hours I am done. I don’t take my job home with me and that is great. Sometimes it is great to be a contract worker.

    1. That is nice Brian!

  8. For me, a stressful schedule means that I’m sitting in front of the computer more than I’d like to be. When I need to de-stress I set a rule that I’m not going to be on the computer after X time at night, usually 7pm. That way I’m “with” my family and getting to sleep on time, both of which are extremely stress-relieving for me.

    I don’t know what I would be like if I were running my own business though. That could be tough for me!

    1. Yes, it is tough!

  9. Maybe try setting a time (i.e. 4-6 pm) where you physically turn off the computer and cell phone and detox from digital connection.

    I’ve been doing this on Saturday mornings as that used to be the time I would waste the most “browsing” the internet.

    Digital detoxing can be tough at first but you will start to appreciate the time away.

    The Warrior
    NetWorthWarrior.com

    1. Yes, detoxing from the internet is important!

  10. I work hard and play hard ๐Ÿ˜€

    Seriously now, I do have a schedule and try to be productive. Then I just close my laptop/internet connection and enjoy my family life and get out. It’s important to find your balance and work as much as you need and not a minute more.

    1. Yes, a good balance is needed.

  11. I tried to set a schedule the first full month of working at home but it just didn’t work that well. I think I was trying to force myself to work at times when I just wasn’t productive. Now I am trying to take advantage of those peaks of productivity instead of forcing myself to work when I know it’s not going to happen.

    1. Yes, that’s a good way to work. I try to do something similar.

  12. I’m so guilty of being a workaholic. My wife likes to give me a hard time that my laptop is my mistress, lol. That said, these are great tips and having a some sort of a set schedule has really been helpful to me in shutting down when I need to. Hiring a VA certainly hasn’t hurt at all either. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. HAha W gives me a hard time also!

  13. I always have a running to-do list. Some things I can easily manage to finish in a day or two, others linger on for months…like my darn e-book. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I prioritize as much as possible making sure to get what I absolutely need to get done out of the way. That way, I still have a little time for myself (like 20-minutes of The Shred or watching a movie) and my family and friends. Yet, it’s still hard to balance everything on a daily basis.

    1. I always have a running to do list also. I get stressed just looking at it sometimes!

  14. Love this post Michelle. So much of it rings true to me. Being self-employed as well, the key for me is having a set schedule. I force myself to clock-in and clock-out every day. Otherwise I find myself working at night or on weekends when I should be spending time with my family.

    1. Yes, a schedule is so important!

  15. Haha I know! I was defending him a lot of the time so it was funny.

  16. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living

    My brother is addicted to doing tasks at his work not because he loves working, but because he really wants to be partner. But in working so much, he’s actually giving himself vision problems from the stress. I ask him why he doesn’t work less and he says he wouldn’t make partner if he didn’t. No salary is worth health problems in my view, regardless of that nearly 7 figure salary but right now I can’t convince him otherwise.

    1. Ugh I understand why he’s working so much. If you really want something like that, it definitely requires a lot of work.

  17. I can imagine it’s hard to find a great work-life balance when what you do for work is something you’re also really passionate about! I think that’s probably a good problem to have, though ๐Ÿ™‚ Work you love becomes addicting!

    1. Yes, it’s a good problem ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Adam

    My wife and I have an arrangement where I spend an hour or two with her after work and then I’ll work till 10 or 11 PM and then I go to bed with her. She knows I’m working to build a business and we each came together to create a workable yet flexible schedule that keeps us both happy. She gets her time, I get my time, and we have together time. Win-win all the way around.

    1. Sounds like a great plan! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. These are all great tips, but I think the biggest one is being able to say no. I think there are times when you should jump at every opportunity that heads your way, but once you have enough momentum that the opportunities are endless it’s time to start turning things down. Last Friday when I was leaving work I was going to bring home my laptop, an SQL book to study, and some documents to review. I stopped myself and left it all at work. Sometimes it’s the small victories like that that make the biggest impact on a good work/life balance.

  20. I think prioritizing can help anyone in any type of work situation. At my last job, it was extremely important to prioritize, because we could get busy with so many little tasks. Being able to say, “this can wait” was invaluable. It enabled us to move on and get the important things done, and time was dedicated to what really mattered.

    1. Yes, it’s always a great way to get things done.

  21. JRodriguez | CNAFinance.com

    Hey Michelle, as far as how I manage my work life balance, well, I kind of just let it manage itself. It’s pretty difficult because I love what I do, so I don’t really consider it work. I think that’s the key is finding something that you can enjoy even after it becomes a job and start pursuing that. It works well for me. Thanks for the great read!

  22. Micro

    I have some issues with this when it comes to my blog. I only time I have to work on it is outside of work and it is really easy to lose track of time while working on it. That’s why I really try to make an effort to barely touch it on the weekends. I figure I need to put time aside to socialize and do other things. I can’t spend all my time working.

    1. Yes, I can easily get lost and spend hours and hours on my blog.

  23. Yay I’m so glad that video work is crazy right now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I think this is a great reminder to try to find a good balance. I have realized that I will never have balance all of the time (sometimes I am a better worker, sometimes a better wife and sometimes a better mom), but if I can “make up” for the imbalances over time then on average I will have balance.

    1. An average balance is always great ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    I have always had a struggle finding a balance. Hopefully I can get better at this in 2014!

  26. The work/life balance is a daily battle for me! I think the holidays and are great time to just relax but then I’m always wondering what else I could be working on or writing!