How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance (+ a FREE Workbook/Planner)

Last Updated on: February 19th, 2017

 How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance (+ a FREE Workbook-Planner)

Do you currently have a good work-life balance?

Or do you feel like you have little or no control over your life?

Maybe you feel guilty because you can’t make time for everything, and maybe you feel overwhelmed and over-committed.

The big question is this: Are you happy?

For most of us, the answer is NO.

So how can we become comfortable and relaxed when we are at home?

How can we enjoy hobbies or interests outside of work?

How can we make time to do something just for ourselves every week?

By using the strategies and techniques outlined in this post (along with the FREE accompanying workbook/planner) we can stop feeling exhausted, even when it’s early in the week!

We can learn to think of other things than work when we’re NOT working.

We can focus on our specific goals for your business when we are.

And we can find a work-life balance that allows us to have a better, more organized life.

How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance – Introduction

If you’re a blogger, a freelancer, or some other type of entrepreneur, you need to learn how to find a good work-life balance.

This is often easier said than done!

However, you can achieve a wonderful work-life balance. Seriously, you can!

It just takes a bit of planning in order to do so!

That’s why I decided to create a FREE 10-page workbook/planner for you. Combined with the tips and activities outlined below, it will help you move forward to a happier life.

You will definitely be more satisfied when you are in control of your goals and your work life!

I know I have been happier since following these tips, strategies, and techniques!

Get your FREE workbook/planner NOW.

How to Create a Good Work-Life Balance: Article Outline

There are three sections to this blog post:

Part 1: Time Management and Scheduling

Part 2: Balancing Work with Leisure

Part 3: How to Implement these Techniques and Achieve Balance

Part 4: What to Do Once You Have Found Your Balance (and What to Do if You Get Stuck Again)

Each section will provide tips you can use as well as an activity for you to do in the workbook/planner you can download for free and use at your own convenience.

Now, let’s dive in!

Part 1: Time Management and Scheduling

Two important things you need to do right away to find a good work-life balance are to become more productive and to put yourself on a schedule.

Here’s how to do each:

Become MORE Productive!

  1. Create a list of tasks. Prioritize the tasks with numbers.
  2. Estimate how long it will take to complete each task.
  3. Check to see how long it ACTUALLY TOOK you to complete each task.
  4. You will become better at planning and scheduling the amount of time for each task!

Create a Schedule

  1. Using 30-60 minute increments, make a schedule.
  2. Make a weekly schedule instead of a daily schedule.
  3. Include ALL activities in it!
  4. SWISS CHEESE big tasks. (Devote small chunks of time to a big task. By doing this, your big task will seem smaller and more manageable. You will be less stressed and more likely to make progress!
  5. Leave room for OPEN TIME.
  6. Be realistic!
  7. Follow it as closely as you can.

Activity – Using the workbook/planner provided, jot down a few tasks and activities you do EACH WEEK. Then organize them into the schedule provided.

Part 2: Balancing Work with Leisure

Finding a good work-life balance entails much more than simply creating a schedule. It involves many factors! Here are 9 different things you can do to wend your way to a happier, more fulfilling life.

1: Plan for obstacles.

Use countermeasures to help you remember what to do.

For example, when you are working on a task and you find yourself wanting to check your email or go on Facebook, then take a break!

2: Designate a work space.

Only work in your work space.

Eat at your table, sleep in your bed, and work productively in your work space.

3: Establish routines.

For example, each day, when I get up, I immediately go to the washroom. Then I drink a glass of water and take my medication and vitamins. While the water for my tea is boiling (3 ½ minutes in the microwave), I make my bed. I then have my tea with my cigarette (yes, I’m a smoker!) while reviewing my positive affirmations and list of tasks for the day.

Then, depending on what day it is, I will either have a shower right away and get dressed, or, if it’s a “work-out” day, I will wait to have a shower until after I’m done working out. The point is, I have established a morning routine, and it jump-starts me for the day!

4: Use the Pomodoro technique when working.

Set a timer for 25 minutes. Take a 5-minute break.

During your break, you can stretch, walk around, have some water, or meditate. Then return to your work and set the timer again for 25 minutes. Then take another 5-minute break.

Following this, set your timer for 45 minutes. Then take a 15-minute break.

Repeat this process until it is time to stop working.

5: Incorporate leisure and “down time” into EACH DAY, and remember to be social!

Take time to do things you WANT to do. This might include watching something (TV, YouTube videos, a movie, etc.), playing a game with your family or friends, going for coffee, talking on the phone, doing a hobby (such as knitting, drawing, painting, etc.), and/or attending a special event.

6: Remember to exercise AND pamper yourself.

Exercise does not have to be a chore. You can put on a song and dance to it!

Pamper yourself by doing something special JUST FOR YOU. Whether this is taking a bubble bath, going for a sauna, doing your nails, getting a pedicure, or reading a book, the point is to do something SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU.

7: Allow yourself flexibility.

Stop being available to everyone 24/7. Turn off your phone (or turn down your notification sound). The world will not end if you have to make someone wait 24 hours for your attention/response!

8: When it’s time to work, work. When it’s time to play, play.

Use techniques to transition yourself.

For example, dress a certain way for “the office.” Walk to work (even if you work at home, you can go for a walk, and use this time to get into “work mode.”

Transitioning yourself means changing your mindset from one mode to the other. To do this, take deep breaths, meditate for a few minutes, and focus on what is next on your list for the day. You can also do a crossword puzzle, or listen to some music before beginning the evening’s routine.

9: Take days off and treat your business like a job.

Allow yourself to relax and NOT think about work pressures and stresses for at least TWO days a week. Also, take vacation days! Plan for a two-week holiday at least once a year.

Part 3: How to Implement these Techniques and Achieve Balance

It’s easy to read about what to do, but it’s not always easy to actually DO IT!

Here are 17 tips you can use to improve your work-life balance.

1: Set your priorities.

Concentrate on one thing at a time. Respect your private time. Reward your progress. Similarly, if you experience a failure, create punishments for yourself.

This will help reinforce positive behaviours. It provides you with motivation and an incentive to achieve your goals!

2: Do weekly and monthly reflections.

Look at whether or not you are attaining your goals. If you aren’t, revise your schedule and try again. If you have met your goals easily, create more lofty goals. Continue to push yourself until you can achieve a balance!

Activity – Using the workbook/planner provided, fill in your thoughts after one week and then again after one month, in the sections provided.

3: Don’t expect perfection from yourself.

Forgive yourself when you slip up. Learn from your mistakes. Similarly, if you find that you are at peace, note what you did to feel that way, then try to replicate it.

4: Ask for support.

Outsource work. Delegate tasks. Automate social media. Use tools to help you.

5: Hire a personal coach.

A personal coach can assess your current work-life balance, and can tell you what you can do to achieve optimal balance.

6: Make sure you exercise.

Exercise relieves stress, clears your mind, and ultimately makes you more productive. Don’t skip it. You’ll find that you greet work, family, and personal commitments with renewed vigor.

7: Set boundaries and eliminate distractions.

Turn off your cell phone. Focus on your activity at hand. Ask friends and family not to interrupt your work time unless it’s an emergency.

Understand what REALLY matters!

Learn to say “NO.” Learn to say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t chat right now. I’m working.” Don’t mix work with play.

8: Work smarter, not harder.

Set SMART goals. These are goals that are:

S – specific and significant

M – measurable, meaningful, and motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, and action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, and results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, and trackable

Activity – Using the workbook/planner provided, write out your big goals for the month. Also, write out your goals for the week.

9: Leave work at work.

Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time.

10: Pace yourself.

Make lists. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given time frame.

11: Set your own rules and deadlines whenever and wherever you can.

Regardless of the type of job that you do, you have to realize that you are in control of certain areas of your life.

For example, by controlling when you wake up, such as waking up an hour earlier, you can get in that extra “writing time.” You will then be more productive and reach your goals faster!

12: Maximize your “waiting” time.

Read on the bus. Listen to podcasts while working out or cooking. Organize your pictures while waiting in the doctor’s office. Take advantage of any “extra” time you find yourself having!

13: Drop activities that sap your time or energy.

For example, get off of social media, and check your email once or twice a day at specific times ONLY.

Shop only when it’s necessary. Go for groceries once a week. Don’t rush to the store the moment you run out of something! Make a list of the items you need, and go on your regularly-scheduled day.

14: Use positive self-talk, affirmations, and visualization.

Be positive, passionate, and enthusiastic. Attitude is everything!

Here are some sample affirmations I use:

I feel strong, excited, passionate, and powerful!

I expect GREAT things from myself!

Amazing opportunities constantly come my way!

I ask for it, visualize it, claim it, expect it, and receive it!

Success and achievement are natural outcomes for me!

There are no limits to what I can and will achieve today!

I also use different affirmations to control my thoughts about weight loss and food:

I don’t need chocolate to feel good.

I can make a positive change by taking one small step today.

Today I will concentrate on eating healthy foods, and I WILL eat at least 3 vegetables today.

Other sample affirmations can be found in my guest post on Francesca’s blog.

15: Don’t measure success based on how much you earn.

Success means different things to everyone. It is NOT always about your earnings! Measure your success by how far you have come in your own journey, the improvements you’ve made in your personal development, and how happy you are in your daily life.

Your overall life happiness is what matters!

16: Invest and reinvest.

Investing in yourself and your business allows your business to grow.

Use tools to help you. Automate your social media promotions. Hire a virtual assistant. Outsource tasks. (Yes, I know I mentioned this already! But it’s worth repeating!) Paying for certain tools to do things that you could do (but don’t have the time to) is a good investment of your money. It will free your time up to earn more!

For example, if it takes you 2 hours to schedule you social media posts, and you could potentially earn $400 in the same time by writing for a client, hire someone at $35/hour to do your scheduling. You can then devote your two hours to making $400 and still make a profit of $330 because your VA will cost you $35 x 2 = $70.

17: Remember that balance is essential to good health!

If you do not have a good work-life balance, your health will suffer. You will also begin to resent job, and perhaps you will resent others, too, such as your friends and your family members.

By striking a good work-life balance, you will be a much happier person!

Activity – Using the workbook/planner provided, create a sample schedule. Be sure to include all of your activities (both work-related and personal ones) in it!

Part 4: What to Do Once You Have Found Your Balance (and What to Do if You Get Stuck Again)

It might take you a while to find the balance you desire, but with a bit of effort, I am confident you will find it.

Once you have found your balance, try to maintain it. When you get stuck again, and start feeling overwhelmed, review these tips. Remind yourself that you’re human. Then re-do the activities again.

Remember, we are human. Life will get in the way of our plans. Emergencies will arise.

We have to learn to adapt.

We have to learn to be flexible.

We have to persevere.

There will be tough times ahead, but enjoyable ones, too!

Ask me, I know.

I’ve had a bunch of tough times in my life.

I’ve tried to kill myself.

I’ve had several operations.

I’ve been raped, gotten involved with drugs, and raised my son all by myself while attending university for five years.

I know life is not easy.

Now I’m running my own freelancing business now, working from home, and maintaining two blogs while working on my personal writing projects (in addition to performing work for clients).

I also have elderly parents I regularly help.

Plus, I give presentations to women entrepreneurs in my city on occasion.

I gave one in July 2016 on today’s topic, and I’ve even created a SlideShare presentation of this post. (I’ve included it below, for your viewing pleasure.)

Yeah, I’m a busy bee!

But I’ve finally figured out what works for me and what doesn’t.

It’s my hope that you will figure out what works for you, too!

And if you ever need some additional guidance, let me know.

I’m here to help!

Just ask your questions in the comments!

 

14 thoughts on “How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance (+ a FREE Workbook/Planner)

  1. Balancing life with a headache full job/business is not easy for a person. As a blogger, I would say it is very difficult for a startup guy to take out some time and spend it with friends and family. Lots of things are there to be completed. Hence one should take at least one day break in a week to get refreshed so that work efficiency gets doubled.. 🙂

    • says

      Aman, it is really hard to find a balance when you have so many responsibilities, and that is why it’s important to prioritize your tasks.

      If you just started a business, it’s tougher to do this because work demands so much of your time.

      But if you don’t take regular breaks, you’re going to burn out faster. That is another reason you need to find a balance!

  2. Great post, Lorraine. I can see how much thought you have put into it.

    I totally agree with you about lists and prioritizing things. Without those two strategies, I would be lost!

    I am a caregiver for my elderly husband, so often, my own schedule or priorities have to be rescheduled due to matters beyond my control. But the only thing that gets me thru all that is to have fun things in my life to look forward to like my weekly Toastmasters meetings, monthly theatre dates with a friend, and the occasional work-related trip. A positive disposition also helps. 🙂
    P.S. Your comment luv isn’t working for me. It wants a www. in front of my URL, but my URL doesn’t have a www. You may want to change that parameter.

    • says

      Doreen,

      Often life gets in our way, despite the best-laid plans (or schedules)!

      Sorry about the CommentLuv. I’ve adjusted some settings. Try again, please and let me know if it is being temperamental! (Thanks.)

  3. Hi Lorraine,

    What wonderful tips…I love them because it is how I live my life. Blame it on me being a Libra, but I do love balance. If I don’t have it in my life I get to be a mess.

    I do believe that time management is so important. Which ever way one can do it…apply that one thing in to your life and the rest follows. And of course, play for goodness sake. We are creatures that need play, down time, vegging out or meditation time. Allow it and we start feeling a “shift” within our being.

    When we get back to work smartly, then all the words come to us as our fingers fly across the keyboard.

    Spot on!

    -Donna

    • says

      Hey, Donna, thanks for visiting and checking out this post.

      I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

      I agree with you, too, about taking time to center yourself and manage your time effectively.

      I always know when I’ve been at the keyboard for too long — my fingers no longer fly across them and I start making a ton of typos! That’s how I know it’s time to do something else! LOL

  4. Hi Lorraine,

    Good tips! Love those 30 to 60 minute chunks of work. I set mine at 60 and break for 5-10 minutes in between. Kelli and I also set aside 1 hour for exercise daily and 1-2 hours – at least, LOL – for Netflix watching. This time is critical! Because pulling back from blogging helps us remain light, energized, focused and high-vibing, all qualities we need to rock it out in a major league way, in our niche…AND to enjoy the freedoms of working at home. On that note, I am taking a nap at 1:00 PM after writing this comment 😉 Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ryan

    • says

      Ryan, with the two of you both working and playing together, it sounds like you’ve got a great balance already!

      I often forget to find time for myself when I’m in “work mode” but then I have trouble getting into this mode sometimes… so it all balances out in the end! 😉 LOL

      Working from home definitely has its advantages! 🙂

      Thanks for commenting and sharing. I’ve done the same for you, on your blog! 😉

  5. Hey Lorraine,

    It’s quite hard to balance the work life and the free time. The time management is required to be happy. Though I am happy right now but still it’s good to have a perfect plan.
    You have mentioned some great points here.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Enjoy the day.
    ~Ravi

    • says

      Hey Ravi,

      Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a comment. 🙂

      It’s difficult to make a plan that is perfect, but with a bit of work, it’s possible!

      It’s great to hear that you are happy with your current work-life balance. That’s wonderful!

      Is there anything you do that hasn’t been covered in this post?

    • says

      Matthew, I totally agree with you. A daily schedule simply doesn’t work because there are never enough hours in the day for everything! LOL

      But with a weekly one, we can find time for all of our activities, both work-related and our personal ones. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

    • says

      Hi Robin.

      You nailed it! It’s VERY important to take a break and recharge!

      By finding time to do something really enjoyable, we forget work for a while. Then, when we return to it, we approach it with a fresh mind.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! 🙂

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