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Work-Life Balance: Tips to Help You Strike a Balance

By Oct 24, 2012July 10th, 201418 Comments

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Striking a work life balance can be hard no matter your situation. But when you work from home, the lines become even more blurred because there’s really no such thing as being away from your work. So, how do you find that balance and keep your sanity?

Schedule, schedule, schedule

Set times for working and times you won’t. One of the hardest things about working from home is stepping away from your work. Working unique hours can make you feel the need to be on call constantly. However, in an effort not to lose your mind, try to maintain “regular” business hours- set a quit time each day, schedule specific break or non-working hours, etc. Stepping away from it all once in awhile makes you much more efficient- and much less likely to want to throw your computer out the window.

Make a to-do list

With so many balls in the air, it’s easy to let one drop if you don’t keep track of all you need to do. Prioritize these to-do’s into what must get done ASAP, what needs to be done by the end of the day, what needs done by the end of the month, etc. It will help you keep focused and also lets you know when you’ve completed the day’s tasks and only have things left on your list that could wait until the following morning: while I absolutely love being ahead of schedule, on particularly full days, I need to be able to see that yes, it’s okay to step away because there are no must-do-right-now items left on my checklist.

Learn to say “no”

It is not possible to do it all. Not even if you give up sleep… trust me, I’ve tried! So you need to learn to turn down the opportunities that you don’t have time for. It can be really hard to do that- especially when you get an opp that you would really love to do. But, if you don’t have time for it, it’s best to be honest and say no but leave the door open for that opportunity later on than to take on more than you can handle and end up doing a poor job. Also keep in mind that not every opportunity that comes your way will be a good fit for you: those should be the easy ones to learn to turn down. Try passing those on to others who are a better fit.

Hit the lottery and hire a staff of 20

Okay, okay, not very realistic. But, at the very least, hire someone to help. Do you find yourself spending endless hours sorting through emails or other organizational tasks? Seek out a virtual assistant who can make your life easier. Are you taking on too many tasks? Find someone with whom to share some of the work and set up a working agreement with them: I would have lost my mind if not for my partner-in-crime, Ashley. You can be creative with how you find help, but sometimes, you just can’t do it all alone.

How do you keep a work-life balance?

18 Comments

  • Tabitha says:

    No matter how hard I try to make a schedule for working at home it never seems to pan out. I am usually left struggling to get my hours in on Sunday night when I really should have had them in on Friday. (Face palm)

    I have realized though that taking one day off to get a lot of errarnds, laundry, etc done really does help. I take Mondays off if I have a bunch to get done which allows me to focus more on my hours.

    Having an baby also makes it a little more difficult. I have set up taking a break when it is time to feed her lunch. This gives me an hour everyday for something.

    Working from home definitely takes self motivation and somedays I seem to really lack it.

  • These are definitely great reminders on how to prioritize your work day, and I’m a mom who works out of the home. Time management is critical! My husband and I share our Google calendar items with each other so there are no surprises each day too (managing the family).

    I love how Maria @ Cheeky Pink Tulip above said she has a ‘Magic Helper’ – I desperately want one of those too!

    Elle
    “All work and no play makes mommy a dull chick.”

  • Now…how do I find a good helper?

  • I incorporate all that you listed, but I am anti balance. I know longer believe in work/life balance. It seems the more balance I get the more unbalance, wound up and uptight I am. So I believe in work/life flexibility.

    I totally get that there will be days when one aspect of my life will be more upfront and center, but it doesn’t mean that the other parts are any less important. I actually enjoy my life better now that I think that way.

  • Grace says:

    Great tips. Certainly ones that I have to be more consistent with.

  • Thank you! These are great tips. I think the key one for me is to establish a schedule and then stick to it. I think that will make a big difference to me.

  • Penelope says:

    These are very good tips, this is something I struggle with.

  • Julie Moore says:

    I don’t work outside the home now, but I used to. The hardest thing for me was always saying “no”. I would get a deadline – sometimes an unreasonable one – and I’d move heaven and earth to make it happen! I finally learned that the best thing to do was respectfully tell my boss that I needed x amount of time to do the job he wanted me to do in order to do it RIGHT, and I would get it to him then. He didn’t always like that answer, but he learned that he either needed to give me more time to do it (i.e. notify me sooner), get someone to help me do it or do it himself. One person can only do so much. 🙂 I always bent over backwards for people when I could, but there comes a point where you just can’t and you have to find the way to politely say no…First time is the hardest, too. Thanks for posting this! I wish I’d had these tips when I worked outside the home before I had to learn “the hard way”. 🙂

  • Kay Froebel says:

    I think my two favorites in this post are Learn to say “no” and win the lottery!! I definitely need to work on both 🙂 Thankfully I am pretty good at scheduling, as I am a full time working mom, with a part time editing job, and a full time student!

  • I love that learning to say NO! Although I am pretty good at saying no in my everyday life..I have found that I am definately taking opportunities that I really don’t have time for just because I’ve only been blogging for about a year. However…just this week I have started really honing in on the areas that I really want to work and be effective..Great article..I gotta say NO 🙂 LOL

  • Amanda says:

    I still don’t have it all down, but I’m really working on developing and sticking to a daily schedule. I’ve got my to do list right here next to me, and I’m hoping to get things better figured out!

  • Great tips! I currently work fulltime & have 2 stinky preschool boys. I choose to post only twice a week no matter what I want to say. It will have to wait for Monday or Thursday.

  • This such an ever-present topic on my mind! I am a full time teacher and mother and blogger (and human), so I’m balancing more than I can handle at any given moment, but I’m committed to loving my family, teaching my students and making this blog work, so schedules and to-do lists and burning the candle at both ends and lottery tickets it is!

    Thanks for this post.

  • I am SO bad at this! I’m a freelancer and I work from home so my life IS my work! One thing I would whole-heartedly recommend, and I’m not ashamed to say this, is a cleaner. I have a cleaner come in once a week to do all the laundry, ironing and hoovering. I call her my magic lady. Seriously, no matter how little I’m earning I will always make room for a Magic Lady. She is the secret to mine and my marriage’s happiness and you can’t put a price tag on that!

    Maria xx
    http://www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

  • Alison says:

    Excellent tips, Shell. Really timely for me too!

  • Barbara says:

    I love this! These are great tips even if you work outside the home. I need to get better at scheduling!