Work-life Balance: 14 Tips to Unplug & Recharge (Both at Work & in Life)

work life balance
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Discover 14 practical tips to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Learn how to unplug at work, recharge during your free time, and find fulfillment in both aspects of your life!

In our relentless pursuit of success, many of us fall into the trap of prioritizing work at the expense of our personal lives, while neglecting the opportunities for enjoyment that exist beyond the confines of our professional responsibilities. This is even more true in today’s fast-paced world, as more and more people struggle to achieve a healthy work-life balance. But it doesn’t have to be that way! By incorporating some simple strategies into your routine, you should be able to find that sweet spot between professional success and personal well-being!


  • Work-life balance isn’t about splitting your time in half between work and personal life – but rather managing your schedule and energy to be successful in both. The benefits it offers are diverse, including reduced stress, improved health, strengthened relationships, boosted productivity, and greater happiness and satisfaction.
  • Modern technology and work pressures have resulted in blurred work-life lines, leading to chronic stress, health problems, and strained relationships.
  • To achieve work-life balance, one needs to utilize a wide array of strategies – including (but not limited to) setting realistic goals, breaking down tasks, prioritizing personal time, and taking breaks to avoid burnout, etc.

What is Work-life Balance?

Work-life balance is about achieving a healthy equilibrium between the demands of your career and your personal life. It does not mean creating a rigid 50/50 split – rather, its main focus is on finding a way to manage your schedule and energy levels so you can thrive in both areas.

Here’s a breakdown of its key points:

  • Equal priority: You recognize that both your work and personal life are crucial; as such, you dedicate time and energy to both aspects for overall fulfillment. This might involve setting boundaries, like checking work emails after hours, or ensuring you have enough time for hobbies and loved ones.
  • Benefits: Achieving work-life balance is a crucial requirement for overall well-being, as it helps reduce stress, avoid burnout, and leave you feeling happier and more satisfied. At the same time, a fulfilling personal life translates to higher productivity and engagement in the workplace.
  • Flexibility is key: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. A balanced schedule might involve working longer hours on certain days to free up time for personal pursuits later in the week.

work life balance

Why is Work-life Balance Important?

You will never be truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.

Heather Schuck

  • Reduced stress & burnout

A healthy work-life balance creates space for activities you enjoy – whether it is spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or simply relaxing. By giving your mind a break from work-related pressures, you allow yourself to de-stress and recharge, thereby boosting overall productivity and resilience.

  • Improved overall health

Our bodies are wired to handle stress in short bursts. When work bleeds into all aspects of life, the stress response never gets a chance to shut down – which results in chronically elevated cortisol levels, the body’s stress hormone. Chronically high cortisol weakens the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections and illnesses – as well as giving rise to issues such as anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping. Under pressure, people often resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as skipping meals, relying on fast food, or neglecting exercise – which further compromises our well-being.

A balanced life that incorporates regular exercise, proper nutrition, and relaxation techniques like yoga is crucial to decreasing the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. At the same time, it also helps improve mental clarity, emotional resilience, and overall well-being.

  • Stronger relationships

When work consumes your life, you might be physically present with loved ones, but your mind is elsewhere. This lack of quality time is what leaves them feeling neglected and unimportant. On the other hand, chronic work stress often makes us short-tempered and irritable – which then strains our relationships and causes misunderstandings.

Work-life balance allows time for shared experiences with loved ones. This could be anything from family dinners and game nights to vacations and hobbies. These shared experiences create a sense of connection and belonging. They provide opportunities for laughter, support, and building positive memories that strengthen interpersonal relationships.

  • Increased productivity

There’s a common misconception that longer hours equals greater productivity – which is far from the truth. When you’re constantly working, you become mentally and physically exhausted – which translates to decreased focus, increased errors, and difficulty making clear decisions. By allowing time for rest and relaxation, you return to work feeling refreshed and energized. This leads to improved concentration, sharper thinking, and a better ability to tackle challenges.

  • Greater happiness & satisfaction

When work is your sole focus, your sense of fulfillment hinges entirely on your job performance and achievements. In other words, disappointment is sure to follow if things don’t go as planned. On the other hand, a balanced life allows you to pursue passions and interests outside of work. This could be anything from spending time in nature to volunteering for a cause you care about – or pursuing a creative hobby. Engaging in these activities brings a sense of accomplishment and joy that goes beyond your job title or paycheck.

The happiness and fulfillment you experience in your personal life pose a potentially positive impact on your professional life. When you’re well-rested, relaxed, and engaged in things you enjoy, it translates to a more optimistic attitude to work. This positive energy is the precedent to better relationships with colleagues, improved problem-solving skills, and a more creative approach to work.

harmonious life

The Case for Work-life Balance These Days

These days, the relentless march of technology has revolutionized the way we work – yet it also blurs the lines between professional obligations and personal time. Fear of job insecurity silently compels many to dedicate increasingly long hours to their careers. According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business School, a staggering 94% of workers report clocking in more than 50 hours per week, with half of them admitting to toiling for over 65 hours.

The struggle to juggle commitments between work, family, and social life often precipitates a state of chronic stress. Prolonged exposure to this pressure diminishes our capacity to focus, renders us easily irritable or despondent, and strains relationships with colleagues, clients, and loved ones alike. At the same time, the cumulative toll of such stressors leaves many vulnerable to a myriad of health issues – ranging from common colds to debilitating cardiovascular conditions.

Common catalysts for work-life imbalance include:

  • Escalating job demands.
  • The proliferation of extended working hours.
  • The burden of multitasking – both at home and in the workplace.
  • The weighty responsibilities associated with caregiving for family members and children.
  • etc.

Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.

Hillary Clinton

work life balance

Tips for Work-life Balance at Work

  1. Setting realistic daily goals

When the daily goals are achievable, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list. This sense of control reduces stress and keeps you motivated throughout the workday.

Focusing on a set of attainable objectives allows you to prioritize tasks and avoid distractions (e.g. less important emails, calls, or sudden requests). This laser focus helps you get more done in less time, freeing up personal time after work.


Let’s say you’re a social media manager. An unrealistic daily goal might be: “Completely revamp all social media platforms with new content and graphics.”

Instead, a more realistic approach would be to break this down into smaller milestones such as:

  • Brainstorm 3 new content ideas for [Platform A]. (30 minutes)
  • Schedule and draft 2 social media posts for [Platform B]. (1 hour)
  • Finalize graphics for the posts in #2. (45 minutes)
  • Respond to 10 comments and messages across all platforms. (30 minutes)

Read more: Goal Setting – A Blueprint for Success

  1. Conquering procrastination with bite-sized tasks

Procrastination thrives on feeling overwhelmed; in other words, you need to break down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance, instead of a looming deadline for a “marketing plan,” create a daily schedule that includes tasks like “research competitor marketing strategies” or “draft social media campaign.” Completing smaller tasks brings about a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to keep going (you can even consider rewarding yourself for finishing each mini-goal with a short break, a walk, or a cup of coffee).

At the same time, it is crucial that you analyze your workday and list down activities that consume time but contribute little value. Are there unnecessary meetings you can skip? Can you consolidate emails into specific times for checking and responding? Once you pinpoint these time-wasters, it’s time to take action – by discussing them with your supervisor and explaining how they hinder your ability to focus on higher-priority work.

  1. Embracing flexible work arrangements

Flexible work schedules allow you to accommodate personal needs and commitments outside of work (e.g. scheduling doctor appointments, attending school events for children, or simply having time for errands without feeling stressed about work hours). In fact, studies have shown that those with flexible schedules often demonstrate increased productivity and loyalty to the organization.

Before approaching your supervisor, it is recommended that you research the benefits offered by your company or similar companies in your field. Be prepared to discuss the specific type of flexibility you’re interested in (flextime, remote work, etc.) and how it would benefit both you and the company. Consider discussing a compromise or a trial period to see if flexible work functions well for your role.

  1. Taking breaks more frequently

Our brains aren’t able to sustain peak focus for extended periods. As such, short breaks throughout the day are crucial for recharging mentally, and improving focus when we return to work.

How to do it:

  • Micro-breaks: Take short breaks every 20-30 minutes. Get up, stretch, walk around, grab a drink, or do some simple eye exercises.
  • Lunch break: Step away from your desk completely during lunchtime. Eat a healthy meal, socialize with colleagues, read a book, or take a walk outside.
  • Mindful moments: Incorporate short mindfulness practices like deep breathing or meditation into your resting time.
  • Paid time off: Taking paid time off allows for a more extended period of rest and rejuvenation. This can involve travel, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or simply relaxation. Returning to work after a vacation has been proven to be strongly correlated with increased productivity and creativity.
  1. Harnessing the power of music

Music triggers the release of endorphins, our body’s natural feel-good chemicals – which makes it easier to reduce stress, improve mood, and make work more enjoyable. The right kind of music can contribute to creating a focused environment, blocking out distractions, and helping you concentrate on tasks.

For some people, certain types of music, particularly classical or ambient music, can spark creativity and help them approach problems from new angles. However, this may not work for others. Hence, feel free to experiment with different genres (classical, instrumental, nature sounds, etc.) and tempos to find what works best for you – as well as for the tasks at hand. Specifically, high-energy music might be motivating for repetitive tasks, while calmer pieces might be better for focused work requiring concentration.

Read more: 14 Incredible Benefits of Classical Music in Life

  1. Striving for open communication

Other people – including your managers/ colleagues – are often unaware of the challenges you face. Instead of bottling up problems (which will just lead to stress and resentment), express your difficulties with workload, deadlines, or unclear expectations. In many cases, you will find someone else who has already dealt with a similar issue (and therefore will be able to offer helpful insights).

Clear communication allows you to set boundaries between work and personal life. Let others know when you’re unavailable after work hours or on weekends – so as to avoid the expectation of constant availability. When discussing problems, you should come prepared with potential solutions in mind – as well as demonstrate empathy and respect for your manager and colleagues. Additionally, don’t raise stressful issues during a busy meeting – rather, schedule a specific time to discuss challenges.

Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.

Betsy Jacobson

  1. Letting go of perfectionism

The constant pressure to achieve flawlessness is a common contributing factor to chronic stress and eventually burnout. Ironically, focusing on making everything perfect often results in procrastination and missed deadlines, as well as hindering creativity and innovation.

Instead of striving for an unattainable ideal, it is recommended that you adopt a set of realistic goals and celebrate minor improvements. Focus on continuous learning, and schedule time for self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation (e.g. getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising).

harmonious life

Tips for Work-life Balance in Life

  1. Prioritizing personal time

Spending more time for yourself is crucial for work-life balance. For those who are working from home, treat it like a regular office job – by setting specific work hours and sticking to them as much as possible. This signals to colleagues and yourself when you’re available for work and when you’re not.

During your off-work hours, silence notifications from work emails and chats – so as to set up a clear division between work and personal time. You can schedule specific times to check work messages (e.g. at the beginning or end of your designated work hours). At the same time, you should plan activities you enjoy outside of work hours in your calendar. This could be anything from exercising to reading a book, spending time with loved ones, or taking an evening walk. Treat them like important appointments you can’t miss.

There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment.

Robert Brooks

  1. Breaking tasks into manageable segments

As mentioned, to prevent work from accumulating, allocate and distribute household responsibilities evenly. Dividing tasks into smaller, actionable steps enhances efficiency and minimizes overwhelm.

  1. Avoiding over-commitment

Before taking on additional work, you need to realistically assess your current workload. How much time do you have available? Are you already stretched thin on existing projects? Are there areas in your current workload that are causing delays?

If you can’t take on additional work, explain your situation clearly and politely to your manager or colleague. Offer alternative solutions, like suggesting a colleague who might be a better fit or proposing to revisit the request at a later date.

Don’t feel pressured to say “yes” to every request. It’s okay to decline politely when you need to prioritize your own well-being.

  1. Staying connected

Talking to friends and family about your day, venting frustrations, or simply sharing a laugh should significantly reduce stress levels. A strong support system provides a safe space to express your feelings and receive encouragement during challenging times.

No matter how busy you are, it is recommended that you schedule regular phone calls, video chats, or in-person meetings with loved ones, even if it’s just for a short time. Take advantage of technology like text messages, social media groups, or even online games to stay connected with friends and family who live far away. A short, meaningful conversation can be much more beneficial than a long, infrequent one.

  1. Taking care of your physical health

Dedicate time each week to prioritize physical well-being through exercise, yoga, or meditation. Regular physical activity not only promotes physical health but also bolsters resilience against stressors, thereby enhancing adaptability and overall quality of life.

Read more: 55 Healthy Habits Questions for A Better Lifestyle

  1. Practicing self-compassion

Self-compassion is about treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during challenging times. It involves recognizing your feelings and needs without judgment, accepting that everyone makes mistakes, offering yourself support instead of harsh criticism, and staying present in the moment. When you’re kind to yourself, you’re better equipped to bounce back from setbacks and challenges – as well as to acquire a positive self-image and boost confidence.

  1. Asking for help when necessary

Asking for help is a crucial but often underutilized strategy for work-life balance. Sharing the burden with a therapist or counselor can lighten the load and provide valuable coping mechanisms. Many online resources are available to help you find a professional who can help with your situation. On the other hand, consider engaging in group therapy – not only to save costs but also to be exposed to a supportive environment where you may learn and share experiences with others facing similar challenges.

Read more: Daily Life Hacks to Simplify & Level Up the Day

work life balance

Work-life Balance Quotes

Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being.

Orison Swett Marden


Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.

Gustave Flaubert


Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Dolly Parton


It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.

Philip Green


You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.

Katie Thurmes


The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

Stephen Covey


Work-life balance is not an entitlement or benefit. Your company cannot give it to you. You have to create it for yourself.

Matthew Kelly

work life balance

Final Thoughts

A fulfilling career and a vibrant personal life are not mutually exclusive; they can, and should, coexist to create a life that is both successful and deeply satisfying. By incorporating the aforementioned tips and prioritizing a balanced approach, you should be able to transform your work-life balance from a constant struggle into a sustainable rhythm!

Further reading

Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement.

Other resources you might be interested in:

Let’s Tread the Path Together, Shall We?

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