We’ve all heard that it’s important to achieve work-life balance, but what does that really mean? Does it mean dedicating a certain amount of hours to work, and a certain amount to life outside work? Or, is it something else entirely?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding work-life balance, there are steps you can take. You just have to live by a few key rules.

If you’re spending too many nights at work, it’s time to stop. You need to figure out a way to manage work with your personal life.

It’s a challenge, but don’t give up. There are solutions to your problem.

Below, we’ll discuss five rules you should live by. Following these rules will allow you to live a more productive and fulfilling life.

Say “No” to Energy-Draining Activities

It’s much too easy to get caught up in bad habits. Certain habits make it harder to accomplish work and prevent you from enjoying life.

Sometimes, you may not even realize how hard you’re making it for yourself!

For example:

Every night, you find yourself stuck in a lengthy conversation with a neighbor. It dominates an entire hour of your evenings!

Or:

A family member expects you to spend an unreasonable amount of time with them. Even though you enjoy their company, you never get any time to yourself!

It’s time to take stock and figure out which activities are occupying your time the most. Then, you must learn to say “No”to these things, at least sometimes.

It isn’t always easy, but it’s often necessary. By limiting the amount of time you spend on energy-draining activities, you’ll free up some time for yourself.

Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination has never done anyone any favors. If you’re in the habit of putting things off, it’s time to get that under control.

Why?

Well, when you push off important tasks, you create more work for yourself to do later. By the time you get around to taking care of it, you’ll have a whole new list of tasks on your to-do list!

Have you ever put off a college paper until the night before the due date? What happened?

I’m guessing that you probably spent the night awake, furiously rushing to finish. You probably lost out on precious sleep. You may have even had to skip out on plans with friends.

See what I mean?

If you’re waiting to do something because you dread it or just haven’t found the time, there are solutions:

Try dividing up the overwhelming task into small tasks, and tackle a little bit at a time.

You could spend two hours on it in the morning and then two hours at night, for example, and then do the same thing the next day.

Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. It’ll only hurt you more in the end! Following this rule will eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress from your life.

Don’t Work Every Evening

Not too long ago, work ended when you left the office. Now that technology has taken over, it’s hard to do that.

After all, smartphones and laptops make it too easy to get blasted with emails and notifications from your bosses and coworkers. And if you’re like me, you’re endlessly tempted to check your messages.

You also have the ability to work at night, long after you leave the office. While it could help you get more done, there’s no reason you should work during your offtime. The 8-hour workday exists for a reason!

I mean, who wants to stay up until 11 PM working every night?

So, consider putting your phone down when you walk in the door. If you must have it on hand in case of urgent calls, be careful. Avoid answering work-related messages if possible, and don’t get sucked into any workplace social media drama.

Instead, spend some time with your loved ones and get some rest.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to work at night. However, you should limit the amount of time you spend doing it. Work culture should never control your life. You are in charge of your time!

Treat Weekends Like Vacations

Regardless of whether you work at home or not, it’s much too easy to get wrapped up in working during the weekend.

As opposed to allowing your workweek to carry into your downtime, treat your weekends like vacations.

After all, when the week ends, it should be a weekend! It’s time for you to relax and rejuvenate.

If you don’t take a much-needed break, you’re going to wear yourself out. To achieve a healthy work-life balance, you must resist the urge to work on Saturday and Sunday.

Instead, set a strict time on Friday when work is over. Whether that’s 5 PM, 6 PM or midnight, you should stick to that time. As soon as you leave the office, switch your brain off, and start thinking about how you’re going to spend the next 48 hours.

When work constantly impedes on your weekend, you’ll start to feel unbalanced. So get enough rest, and when Monday rolls around you’ll feel a lot better!

Slow Down

Since when do we have to live such high-speed lifestyles? Sometimes, it’s essential to stop rushing around so much!

There’s this idea out there that you must “hustle” all of the time to be successful. But unfortunately, hustling often leads to burnout. People who hustle all day, every day are the ones who get overwhelmed.

Does that sound like you?

If you feel like life is starting to control you and not the other way around, it’s time to take charge. You can do this in a number of ways:

For example, you might make it a point to go for a walk during your lunch break. Turn your phone off, take a pause, and enjoy the world around you.

Or, you could incorporate meditation into your daily routine. For some folks, this is a great way to calm down and get centered before a busy workday.

In our rocket-speed society, slowing down isn’t always easy. But it’s often the key to a well-balanced frame of mind.

Once you gain control of your life, you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of it. So, do your best to set rules to keep yourself happy in and outside of work.

Remember to take time off every once in a while. Whether that means sticking to a regular work schedule, taking breaks, or turning your phone off at night, rest will help you live a balanced lifestyle.

Remember:

Achieving perfect balance takes practice, but you’re not a quitter. As long as you strive to make the best use of your free time, you’ll be able to enjoy life and pave a road to happiness.

Every day, keep fighting to figure out the best way to make use of your time, love life, and pave your way to happiness.

Author Bio:

Jenna Monen is the Business Manager at The Reserve at Seabridge. With over ten years of experience in the industry, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She finds joy in helping others and making this community a place everyone loves to call home.

Contributing Author