30 Time Management Tips For Work Life Balance
Today’s work life and hustle culture has us all scrambling for the best ways to manage our time. We all want to fit it all in. But let’s be real, there are only 24 hours in the day. All of us want to crush it at work, spend time with the people we love, and maybe even get a workout or two in. When our schedules are pushed to the max, you may end up compromising the things that are important you. There is a lot of pressure to take that after hours conference call and skip family dinner. Or even skip your workout so you can get a late night work session in. This type of leniency can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Living a fast-paced life without any work life balance promotes overstimulation and eventually leads to disruption in your personal life.
Sometimes it can even feel impossible to be the perfect employee or entrepreneur without compromising your personal time. But, understanding how time management works actually helps you become a better worker even if that means having stricter availability and declining last minute projects. When you learn to take control of your time you work smarter, not harder. You make room to think clearer and creatively, so you don’t risk procrastination. You’re also not rushing to make frantic decisions. And finally, when you protect your time you’ll end up getting more done and be much more fulfilled overall in life.
Since we all struggle with juggling our work and personal lives, today’s post is all about time management. We are sharing our favorite tried and tested tips for how you can achieve a healthy work-life balance. These are small actions you can start right away to be more productive at work and enjoy your personal time to its fullest. Give them a try!
1. Set your daily schedule in advance.
There’s nothing more deterring than approaching your day without a clue on where to start. Having no clear direction will cause you to feel overwhelmed. Right before your work day ends, take the time each night to write a to-do list for the following day. Prioritize your to-do list by important tasks, meetings, and key deadlines. This will help you feel confident about what to tackle first!
2. Know yourself and your productive hours.
We can’t all be early morning birds! Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are the most productive at work; those are your peak hours. Self-assess and schedule your work hours according to the time when you work best. If you can’t pick your work hours, apply this tip to your passion project or favorite hobby!
3. Cut off all distractions during work hours.
If you want to be more productive at work, staying focused will be crucial. You won’t be able to work efficiently if your phone buzzes with social media notifications every five minutes. Mute all notifications and prepare a distraction-free zone. You’d be surprised how much you can get done without your phone causing you interruptions.
4. Start with the tasks that have deadlines.
I know, we’ve all avoided that one dreaded task until we had no choice but to take care of it. But procrastinating on it will not help with your work-life balance. Knowing you have to get it done eventually will only cause you to worry and stress during your off hours until it’s complete. So if you have a task that has a deadline, it’s probably best to knock it out first!
5. Learn to delegate when necessary.
Sometimes, we might take on more than we can really handle. This is especially true if you are in a management position at work or you run your own business. But delegating will keep you away from unhealthy stress! If you don’t want to work during your personal time, trust someone else with a few tasks. This will also allow you to focus on other parts of the job or company that probably require your attention too!
6. Take regular breaks.
You don’t want to exhaust yourself during work hours and end up too tired to enjoy the rest of the day. Regular 5 to 15 minute breaks can reboot your brain and boost your productivity. There’s a reason the Pomodoro technique is so popular: taking breaks helps with time management. Breaks also help to keep the creative juices flowing and keep your energy from being stagnant! Choose your preferred interval and give it a try!
7. Use an app or project management tool to help manage your time.
Tools like Asana or Trello can help you organize all your important tasks and to-do lists in one centralized place. You can manage both your work and personal time there, too. It’s practical and you have it with you at all times! This will help to ensure you stay focused on what’s important and not waste any time on things that are not on your daily schedule!
8. Plan each week in advance.
It’s always a good idea to know what comes next, both with work and personal matters. Setting aside a bit of time each week to plan the next one will help you organize your time better. This way, you can achieve work-life balance without having to rush to complete any important tasks. Planning your week ahead of time is of course great for conference calls, meetings, and work projects. However its even more crucial for self care routines like fitness, facials, or massages. Plus of course useful for scheduling social time with family and friends.
9. Set realistic deadlines.
Don’t commit to deadlines you know you won’t be able to see through. This will only make you come across as unreliable with your coworkers. Plus you will be overwhelmed and overworked. It’s a pretty poor combination, right? Set yourself realistic deadlines and commit to them.
10. Avoid multitasking with tasks that require your full attention.
Even though multitasking seems like a great idea to get a lot done, it actually means some of the tasks at hand are not getting 100% of your attention or effort. When you multitask you are causing your brain to overwork itself. This is a recipe for burnout and human error. Switching between tasks causes mental blocks that can actually slow you down! So for example, if you’re working on emails just focus on your inbox. Don’t try to switch between emails and any other tasks.
11. Choose when to multitask wisely.
Not all multitasking is bad. For example, sometimes its great to do something physical like going for a walk while you do something else that doesn’t require your legs or a ton of mental space. For example, maybe you go for a walk outside while you catch up with a friend over the phone. Or walk on the treadmill while you listen to your favorite podcast. You can even listen to your favorite podcast while in the shower or doing a beauty routine. This type of multitasking helps you accomplish multiple things that bring you joy and add value to your life.
12. Say no to what doesn’t serve you or your goals.
Being a people pleaser never made anyone achieve their dreams or achieve a healthy work-life balance. If you can’t commit to that extra assignment, say no. If you need a Friday night to work on your passion project, say no to that happy hour outing. Any task that doesn’t feel right or makes you feel like you’re putting something you really want to do on the back end, say no! When you put yourself first you will find yourself with a surprising amount of extra time. If you have a hard time saying no, read this post on how to set boundaries for more inspiration.
13. Stay committed to your plan of action.
If you had a plan for your day, don’t get discouraged by complications or nuances that may come up. Stick to the schedule you have mapped out for yourself! You will avoid overworking yourself in order to compensate for that time gap.
14. Automate as much as you can.
Sometimes the smallest of errands can put you behind schedule and mess up your entire work-life balance. To allow yourself time to focus on things with greater value, try to automate things you don’t necessarily need to take time out of your day to handle. For example, you can put your bills on auto-pay or have frequently used items like groceries and toiletries delivered straight to your house. Automatization can save you loads of time in the long run.
15. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike.
Effective time management is a skill that gives you the power to always be prepared and stay proactive. It prevents you from forcing inspiration or waiting for it to strike. If you are a creative and you only work when inspiration strikes, then schedule dedicated time to think creatively. Schedule out a block of time on the calendar to brainstorm. Delaying tasks because you lack inspiration creates a higher chance you won’t get it done at all, or anytime soon. Those tasks or projects will not finish themselves! Each time you put forth effort towards your task, you’re chipping away at it! Always show up for yourself, even on days you feel sluggish!
16. Get enough sleep.
Coffee can’t always be the magic cure for it all. Getting enough sleep will help you stay energized during the day and be more productive at work. You’ll be in a better mood too!
17. Have a morning and evening routine.
Creating a morning and evening routine are key to better time management skills. Knowing exactly what to do in the morning helps set the productivity tone for the entire day. It allows you to be present in little ways you may not think are important too. Like enjoying a cup of coffee, reading the newspaper, getting a workout in or taking a morning jog. If you don’t have a morning routine you may feel rushed to even make a cup of coffee to go!
The same goes for an evening ritual. Meditation, bedtime reading, or journaling are other great ways to connect with your evening. Spending quality time with yourself during the first and last minutes of the day allows you to reaffirm your daily goals and reflect on your actions!
18. Listen to a podcast when commuting to or leaving work.
Podcasts are great because they keep you company on your daily commute to and from work. Listening to your favorite show can change or improve your mood and get you motivated to begin your work day too! Most importantly though, finding time to work on yourself and learn new things can be really hard when you work full time and have a life. So finding time to learn something or gain inspiration without having to set aside special time for it is key. At Dear Media, there are a ton of podcasts to choose from. From business to personal development and spirituality or wellness to beauty, we got you covered!
19. Keep your workspace tidy.
A cluttered space reflects a cluttered mind. Having a tidy workspace boosts productivity because it’s challenging to work in a messy environment. Plus, messy doesn’t attract inspiration! You’ll feel more energized if your work area is clean and organized. When it comes to time management, doing everything you can to make yourself your most productive adds up.
20. Start time-blocking your day.
Setting up time blocks for everything you do might not sound like much fun, I know. But it works wonders for effective time management! Use time blocks for scheduling work hours, important tasks, errands, and even downtime. It’s important to set strict time limits on how much of your time you’re going to spend on any tasks in order to achieve work-life balance.
21. Do similar tasks on the same time block.
This one further emphasizes our earlier tip to avoid multitasking. When you’re doing similar tasks, you’re able to get in a flow. So for example if you have to respond to 20 emails in one day, don’t answer them randomly throughout the day or create different time blocks for each email. Instead sit down and do the 20 emails in the same block. You’ll get in the flow and start answering them much faster! Otherwise, you are just doing too many things at once and you might get distracted easily.
22. Have your calendar keep you on track throughout the day.
It’s always good to know you are staying on schedule. However checking your calendar regularly during work hours to make sure everything is going according to plan decreases your productivity and takes you away from your important tasks. Instead, set up your calendar to send you notifications throughout the day when you need to end or start a new task. You can set up your notifications to remind you how much time you have left for a task, what tasks are coming up next, and even include the details of tasks in your calendar notes.
23. Set aside time for stress reduction activities.
Life is more than just work, productivity goals, and hustling. You need time to recharge to give the day your all! Scheduling relaxing activities will help you make self-care a priority. Activities like yoga, a drawing lesson, or meditation are all great ways to boost productivity.
24. Have backup tasks.
There will always be downtime during work hours. A great way to take advantage of downtime and shorten your to-do list is to tackle any mundane tasks you have on your plate. Answer emails, check your voicemail, and return client calls. These little tasks don’t require a lot of brain power, but they add up and can overwhelm you if there are too many that pop up last minute. Check them off your list and get them out of the way!
25. Move forward if you get stuck.
Some days we really aren’t in the mood for a specific task and we get stuck. If you’ve been working on the same thing for hours with no end in sight, skip ahead. Just do the next item in your to-do list and come back to what you’re struggling with later.
26. Meal prep.
Meal-prepping is a lifesaver during work hours! The last thing you need in the middle of a work day is to worry about lunch. It’s better to plan your meals ahead of time and have them ready to eat. Then just heat them up and enjoy. You’ve just saved yourself some precious time and money!
27. Make the most of your errands run.
Don’t go to the bank today and leave grocery shopping for tomorrow – unless it’s 100% necessary. Plan your errands in advance and take the time to do all of them at once. It will save you both time and gas.
28. Minimize your screen time.
Social media has that magic time sucking quality, you know it. It’s suddenly 10 p.m, and you spent an hour on Instagram instead of sleeping. Mindless scrolling is the nemesis of effective time management. So try to avoid it by avoiding all electronics one hour before bedtime. You can also seriously try to avoid scrolling throughout the day in general.
29. Identify the top 5 priorities of each day.
It’s easy to get caught up with work or a to-do list and focus on the things you have to do vs think about the things you might want to do. So to-do lists for things you have to do are great, but you should also always highlight your top 5 priorities for the day in general. Get up every morning and review your day, find the 5 priorities, and make sure you find and schedule time for them.
30. Tune in with your values and goals.
Pay attention to what you are spending time on. Is it your dream promotion? Your business? Perhaps you don’t even like your current job but lack the drive to do something about it. Ask yourself tough questions and be candid with yourself. Being honest with yourself will get you where you want to be in life. Effective time management won’t serve you if you are working towards something you don’t feel passionate about. Be in touch with your dreams and show up for yourself with the end goal in mind!
Learn more about building a business you are passionate about on this episode of With Whit: Staying Home With Whit | AmyAnn Cadwell On Building A Business Based On Your Passion
What is your best tip for effective time management?
Those were our 30 favorite time management tips for achieving work-life balance! Remember that separating your work hours from your personal life will save you from a lot of stress and constant tiredness. Trust us, your mental health will thank you for putting in the work!
One last thing before you go! Perhaps you prefer to listen your way to brand new time management skills. And we have the perfect episode To kick off your commitment to a healthier work-life balance with the following episode of The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast. Enjoy! Secrets To Personal Growth Time Management, & Productivity With Serial Entrepreneur David Meltzer.