If you ask almost any professional (especially an entrepreneur) what they are hoping to improve in their life moving forward, odds are that many of them would say that they want to improve their work life balance. The meaning of work life balance is to try to create an ideal life where your time is favorably split between work and other aspects of your life. It seems like a simple thing in theory, but why do we all still struggle to find it?

Thankfully, there are some work life balance solutions available that you can implement in your life and get better results. Read on to learn more about why work life balance is so important and to get some work life balance strategies!

Why Work Life Balance is so Important

As mentioned earlier, work life balance is the idea of partitioning your work life and your personal life in a way that is favorable to you — usually somewhere in the 50/50 range. But why is it so important to maintain?

The most important aspect of maintaining proper work life balance is that it will lead to fewer health problems. One study found that people who work 3 hours longer than required had a 60% higher risk of heart diseases than those who do not participate in overtime. More work usually equates to more stress, which impacts the body in a negative way. While it can be a good thing to go above and beyond for your work, it should never come at the cost of your physical well-being.

A proper work life balance can also reduce burnout. When you actually take the time to take a break from work, you give yourself time to separate from the stressors of work that cause burnout. This will keep you more motivated at work, which will make you a more productive employee in the long term. 

Another great aspect of a healthy work life balance is that it allows you more time to be present. When you have a healthy separation between work and your personal life, you don’t spend time worrying about missing out on one or the other. When you’re in your work environment, you are able to focus entirely on work, and when you are living your personal life, you are able to focus entirely on that. This leads to more enjoyable experiences and a more productive and happy life.

5 Ideas to Improve Work Life Balance

Now that we understand the importance and benefits of a healthy work life balance, we can dive into some work life balance tips and techniques that you can implement immediately to make a better impact on your life.

1. Set boundaries (and stick to them)

The first and foremost thing you should do to establish a better work life balance is to set boundaries for yourself and your employer and stick to them. Make it well known amongst your co-workers, employer and/or clients that you will spend your work hours working hard and that you will spend your time off the clock devoted to yourself, your friends and your family. Be sure that it’s clear that you will not be responsible for any work issues until you clock back in for the day. The sooner you can establish these boundaries, the better off you’ll be and the more the people around you will respect them.

However, it’s crucial that you stick to your guns. In the world of work, people are often looking to set boundaries for you and will do what they can to squeeze the most out of you as an employee or entrepreneur. Every time you give into extra demands such as overtime or answering an email when you’re off the clock, you’re letting that person know that your boundaries are negotiable. Stay true to your work life and stay true to your personal life — it’s very rare that any of your work problems can’t wait until the next morning.

2. Take vacations

Don’t be afraid to take a break when you need it! We grow up taking vacations, but when we enter the workforce ourselves, it can be hard to find the time to take a vacation. There’s always something going on in our lives that makes us feel like now isn’t the right time for a vacation — but if you don’t deliberately make the time for a vacation, it won’t ever happen. You have to take the initiative.

You shouldn’t feel the need to sacrifice time away from your extracurricular activities like vacations or trips for work. Make appropriate plans and stick to them. As long as you have all of your work done ahead of time or have a plan of delegation in motion for when you’re gone, then you have no reason to stress out about time spent missing work.

3. Discuss flexibility

At the beginning of your career, it can be easy to say yes to every request in an attempt to impress your boss. However, if this goes on for too long, it can turn into you jumping through hoops in order to appease them. If your current work schedule is not working for you, then it’s time to discuss flexibility with your boss.

For example, if you have morning obligations or nightly commitments, take the time to discuss your working hours with your supervisor or boss. If they are understanding enough (and they should be!) they should be able to give you some flexibility so that you can manage your personal obligations as well as your professional obligations. 

If your child has soccer practice at 3:30pm but you work until 5:00pm, talk to your boss about either starting your work day earlier or making up the hours at night. Don’t let your work keep you from things that are important to you and your personal life. If your employer is a reasonable person, they should allow you to build a schedule and routine that works for both of you.

4. Set goals

If you want a healthy work life balance, you’ll need to learn to practice discipline. Set goals and priorities for your work and personal life and stick to them. This will help you to focus on work when needed and to shut it off and focus on yourself when the time comes.

However, this only happens if you are able to successfully commit to both work and play. When you’re at work, make sure that you’re actually working and not scrolling mindlessly through your phone. When you aren’t working, don’t check your phone for emails under the table. Having this clear separation between work and personal life and sticking to them will make you a much happier, healthier and productive person overall.

5. Review your workload

Every few months, take some time to review your workload. Make sure that you are able to manage your time without over exerting yourself due to your workload. If you have too much or too little time on your hands when you’re at work, talk to your boss, manager or supervisor and ask for help adjusting your schedule.

Don’t be afraid to delegate! Many people (especially those who aren’t in a managerial position) are afraid to delegate work or to ask for help with something. But, if you work in a healthy team environment, then that’s what the team is there for! Go through your tasks and see if there’s anything that could be passed off on somebody else. Even a little bit can go a long way towards a healthy work life balance.

Find Help and Automate Where You Can

If you’re looking for work life balance solutions, it’s important that you are doing what you can to make your workflow as efficient and effective as possible, thus sparing you of any unnecessary time or effort throughout your work day.