7 tips to help you find a better work-life balance

work-life balance

To avoid burnout, be proactive about trying to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Overworked and underpaid? Instead of trying to switch careers or companies, perhaps the solution to avoid burnout is to be proactive about trying to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

These tips can help.

1. Leave the office by a certain time each day. If you have a regular train to catch or a time you need to be home to pick up your child or pet from daycare, you will be more inclined to stick to a routine and clock off by a specific time of day. Whatever that time may be for you, try to stick to it as much as possible so that you’re home by a certain time.

2. Switch off your work email during certain hours each night. The technology that allows you to check your work email from home was at one time revolutionary, but has increasingly put pressure on workers to be chained to their desks, in a manner of speaking. Tempting as it can be to constantly check and refresh your inbox, exercise discipline by turning off your work email notifications during a specific window each day (say 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.).

3. Rest up. One thing you should never compromise on is your sleep. In fact, Arianna Huffington in a famous TED Talk talks about the power of a good night’s sleep and the wonders it can do to stimulate creativity and idea generation. Getting adequate sleep is essential to becoming more productive, which in turn allows you to be more alert, complete your work faster and clock out earlier.

4. Inquire about flextime or telecommuting options. Not every company affords its people the opportunity to take advantage of flexible work options, but that’s starting to change especially as younger workers enter the workplace in droves and challenge the status quo. Sometimes the rules vary depending on specific teams and managers. Whatever the case, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Just make sure to lock the door if you ever need to jump on a teleconference from your home office.

5. Practice time management by prioritizing your work. Your daily to-do list may seem endless, but it helps to take a few minutes each morning to prioritize your workload. Knowing what you need to accomplish that day and setting goals or checklists for yourself will help keep you on track so you can leave at a reasonable time.

6. Block off your calendar outside of work hours. Ever have a 7 a.m. meeting pop up on a Monday morning? That won’t happen if you block off non-work hours on your calendar, indicating that you’re unavailable during those times. If you work with international teams, or even ones in different time zones, you may have a harder time doing this — but you can set expectations up front nonetheless. For instance, if you need to be on a 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. conference call, make sure you have everything you need to do it from home.

7. Schedule activities on weeknights. Whether it’s a soul cycle session or bocce ball tournament or yoga class or game night, scheduling activities on weeknights can provide an escape from the demands of your job and give you something to look forward to. As an added bonus, you won’t wind up working past 7 p.m. if you have some place else to be.

Need more inspiration? Contrary to popular opinion, a vacation may actually help you recharge and excel at work.