Tips on how to achieve a better work-life balance

Trying to manage a family and your professional life has its challenges. These tips can help you reclaim time for a healthier balance at home.

Mother holding a child while working on computer.

How to manage life-and-work balance challenges

Managing the demands of your career while being fully present at home requires a delicate balancing act. Developing habits that encourage the kind of work-life balance you seek can help you create a schedule that suits you, your career, and your family. The following tips can help you work toward a healthy work-life balance:

1. Streamline your routine.

A work calendar that's cluttered with to-dos can leave you feeling stretched thin. If your family's schedule is equally packed with sports, music lessons, and other activities, it can become even more difficult to find time for one another. Look at how you spend your days, and when possible cut out or reduce the number of activities that are sapping your time and energy.

2. Ditch multitasking.

Tackling multiple work-related tasks at the same time can make you feel as if you're getting more done, but it can backfire. In fact, multitasking can have a detrimental effect on productivity. When we jump from task to task, we aren't really getting more done. We’re forcing our brains to constantly switch gears. The result is that we work harder to do things at a lower level of quality and exhaust our mental reserves.1Being able to spend the time that’s being lost with your family is a great motivator to adopt a laser-focused approach, so you work more efficiently.

3. Build downtime into your schedule.

If trying to do it all keeps you from getting enough rest, your work performance could suffer. A lack of rest can also leave you with less energy for your family. Consider turning in earlier a couple of nights a week if you're waking up tired. If that's not doable, block out time over the weekend to rest and recharge.

Family laughing together sitting on couch.

4. Take a break from the office.

If working from home full-time isn't an option, talk to your employer about the possibility of telecommuting part of the week. Even one day a week spent working at home could make you feel less stressed when you head back to your regular workspace.

5. Set boundaries.

If you leave work at 5 p.m. but you're still answering emails at 9 or 10, you may need to improve your work-life balance. Establishing a firm cutoff time for answering emails or taking work-related calls can reduce the pressure, so you can focus on what matters most at the end of the day, being there for your family.

6. Create a budget.

Creating a budget puts you back in control of your finances and your time. Your budget should reflect what you earn each month and what you spend. The goal is to have money left over that you can add to an emergency savings cushion so you can worry less about your finances and focus more on enjoying family time and doing the things you love.

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1 Ian Haynes, “The Cost of Multitasking: How Much Productivity Is Lost Through Task Switching?” Wrike, October 9, 2020.