Sorry, but you won’t find the best work-life balance tips by searching for them on Google.
That’s because you’re a unique individual with a work life and a personal life that’s incomparable to anybody else’s—meaning only you have the power to figure out how to strike the perfect balance between them, using work-life balance tips that are specific to your own needs and wants.
What works for somebody else might not work for you, and this is exactly why it’s so important to take the most universal, research-backed work-life balance tips and experiment with applying them.
Work-Life Balance: What It Actually Is
On the most basic level, everyone seems to think that the best work-life balance tips are about minimizing the amount of time and energy you spend working while maximizing the amount of time and energy you spend doing everything else (a.k.a. the things you love or need to do, but don’t or can’t do for money).
But this oversimplifies the concept. And it suggests that work should always be hard, stressful, and overall unenjoyable.
What a depressing way to think about work!
This may have been the general belief in the past when the main purpose of work was to earn a paycheque to provide for their families. But today, with more educated people, a higher standard of living, and more jobs now being dominated (and created) by modern technology, the old ways of thinking about work-life balance and searching for the best work-life balance tips are mostly outdated as more people look toward building careers that are meaningful and personally fulfilling.
After all, work is a part of your life. Even if you do it mostly for the paycheque, your work life and personal life are still fundamentally interconnected, and they’re constantly influencing one another.
Work-life balance then, in my opinion, is just smart lifestyle design.
“Smart Lifestyle Design” Broken Down Into Four Main Areas
Smart lifestyle design is comprised of four core components: Your finances, your health, your relationships, and your spiritual / personal growth.
1. Your Commitment to Earning a Living and Taking Care of Your Finances
This encompasses everything in your life that has to do with money, including your job/career, budgeting, spending, saving, side hustles, and so on.
2. Your Commitment to Maintaining Good Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health
Staying healthy isn’t just about exercise and healthy eating habits. Sure, those are two top components, but there’s more to health than that.
Good overall health and wellbeing requires proper rest and recovery. It also requires that you spend time doing things that make you happy and leave you personally fulfilled.
3. Your Commitment to Nurturing Your Relationships
Relationships are a huge part of life. Everyone from your romantic partner and children, to your coworkers and friends can have a greater impact on your life than perhaps anything else.
4. Your Commitment to Spiritual / Personal Growth
Not everyone is spiritual, but almost everybody is trying to figure out their own path in life.
Whether you turn to spirituality/religion or use a combination of logic, experimentation, and emotional feedback to try and find your way, your commitment to personal growth is what helps you flow along with the ever changing nature of life.
Each of These Areas Affect One Another
The type of work you do affects who you spend time with, thus affecting how you relate to people (your relationships).
Your relationships can set you up for a successful career. Or they can set you up for a failed one.
The type of career you have can either leave you feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted—or physically, mentally, and emotionally fulfilled.
Your sense of life purpose and personal path will affect who you decide to spend time with and which career path you choose.
Everything is connected, and so to assume there’s some sort of invisible line between work and life is to try to segment life in a way that can’t (and should’t) really be segmented.
My Top 100 Tips for Smart Lifestyle Design (a.k.a. Work-Life Balance Tips, Modernized)
Let’s all just agree right now that work-life balance isn’t really a thing and that smart lifestyle design is what all of us are really trying to achieve.
Here are my top 100 tips for taking the old school “work-life balance” way of thinking into modernized, smart lifestyle design.
Read over them, consider how each one fits into your own life, and think about how you can improve on them so they compliment all four areas of your life (work, health, relationships, and spiritual/personal growth).
1. Get on a good sleep schedule.
This is the number one work-life balance tip on this list for its huge impact on everything else you’ll be able to do throughout the day.
By good sleep schedule, I mean one that keeps a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. Your circadian rhythm, which governs your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, will naturally adapt to it over time.
2. Pay more attention to your quality of sleep rather than the quantity of hours you’re sleeping.
Seven to eight hours of sleep is the typical recommendation for adults, which is great to aim for—but if you’re clocking in at least seven hours a night and still feeling fatigued, it’s time to look into ways to improve the quality of your sleep rather than figuring out how to carve out time to sleep longer.
3. Cut back on the coffee, if you drink it.
Us desk workers love our coffee, and there are tons of health benefits you can get from drinking several cups a day. But if it’s leaving you feeling jittery, nervous, anxious, fatigued later on in the day, or awake when it’s time for sleep… you know it’s time to cut back.
4. Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning, and continue drinking water all throughout the day.
I know, drinking water is pretty boring, but with the average human body being about 50 to 65% water, you know it’s got to be good for you. I made myself start drinking a large, 16-oz glass of room temperature water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice every morning before my coffee, and now it’s just a hardwired habit.
5. Journal when you wake up rather than look at your phone.
Nothing seals your fate to live your entire day in “reactive mode” like picking up your phone immediatelyupon rising to check all your emails and news feeds and social media notifications. Replacing that action with journaling will help you get intentional about your day—even if you do it as one big brain dump.
6. Become aware of your current daily habits.
Do you know exactly how you spend an average day? If you’re one of those people who constantly wonders where the time went or why you’re not making good progress on your goals, I suggest you track your habits for an entire day by writing them down. This will make you aware of how you’re actually spending your time.
7. Replace as many bad habits with good ones as you can.
Once you become aware of the habits that rule your day, you can pinpoint the ones that aren’t getting you any close to your goals. The best way to eliminate them is to replace them with good ones.
8. Automate as many good habits as you can.
A habit is automatic by nature, but you can always enhance it. Do it at the same time each day, keep it simple and quick when you’re just starting, use automation tools if you can, and pick a “trigger” (the sight of a specific object or a specific action) to signifiy to your brain that it’s time to perform the habit.
9. Reassess failed good habits, forgive yourself, and start over—but start smaller.
If you failed to stick with a particular good habit, don’t take it as failre—take it as a sign that you need to simplify it or scale it down. People often try to adopt habits that are too much for them because they’re focused on the results. Instead, focus on developing the behaviour first. The results will come.
10. Figure out whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, and learn to work with it.
I’m a night owl, and I’m not exactly happy about it. I’d love to be a morning person, but I know that waking up at 5am and throwing myself into a vigorous workout by 5:10am just wreaks havoc on my whole body. (Eelieve me, I’ve tried.)
And so I’ve made peace with my night owl ways. If I can get up by 7:30am and fall asleep at night within a half hour of hitting the hay, then I call that a success.
11. Get clear on your goals for the day first thing in the morning.
I often like to combine this with morning journaling. I’ll usually pull up my Day One app and start brain dumping, then end with a brief list of the things I need to do to make today count.
12. Practice visualization (of yourself taking action).
The cool thing about journaling about my goals in the morning, at least for me, is that it triggers me to visualize myself taking action on my tasks for the day. It’s sort like writing a novel about myself.
You can definitely do visualization all on its own, but I highly recommend using journaling to essentially “write your story” the way you want it to be written, see it in your mind, and then use that as motivation to do it.
13. Consider your tasks for the day, and then estimate how much time each task is going to take you.
In an ideal reality, we could get twice as much done in half the amount of time. But at the end of the day, we’re often left feeling like we didn’t do enough. And that’s probably because we had unrealistic expectations about your time.
If you want to avoid frustration and disappointment at the end of the day, it’s so important to take your eight-hour workday (or however long you plan to work) and consider how much time you’re going to need to work on each task—including time for breaks, lunch, and possible interruptions if you can predict them.
14. Break big tasks down into smaller tasks.
An even easier way to get realistic about time needs for task completion is to avoid going too big or being too vague with what you want to do. Instead of saying to myself that I want to work on a blog post, I might say that I want to get 500 words written—which I know I can do in about 30 minutes or less.
15. Build your to-do list, but build it right.
I love using Todoist for my to-do lists. The thing is, I often end up with only 5 to 7 tasks on my list for the day. That might not seem like a lot, but that’s because I build my lists right.
If one task takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to complete, then 5 to 7 tasks is a full day of work (including breaks). The trick is to avoid getting carried away with listing too many items and/or not paying attention to time constraints.
16. Give yourself permission to edit your to-do list throughout the day.
The trouble with to-do lists is that they’re unforgiving of unexpected events. And unexpected events are just a part of life.
It’s okay to cut back on a task for the day. It’s okay to move one or two tasks to tomorrow. When you build your to-do list in the morning, it’s not set in stone. Edit as you go so you can still end the day feeling accomplished.
17. Shift your focus to providing value rather than keeping busy.
As a freelance writer, I want to provide the most value I can in the shortest amount of time. That might make a lot of sense for someone like me who trades value for money rather than time for money, but even employees who are paid by the hour or earn a salary can benefit from this shift in thinking about work.
For instance, by adding greater value rather than dragging out your tasks until the end of the workday, you’re left with extra time to get ahead of the game, take an extended break, and even gain recognition from your coworkers and superiors.
Time is money? More like ENERGY is money. Just keep in mind that staying busy doesn’t necessarily earn you more money.
18. Set your own rules for productivity.
There are a million and one tips, tools, and techniques out there that promise to boost your productivity. The thing is, not every one of them is a good fit for everybody.
I like to use the Pomodoro Technique and listen to weird ambient beats in the privacy of my home office. But other people do better working in coffee shops with the background noises and sights of other people. I can’t stand it, but to each their own!
19. Fill your workspace with things that inspire and motivate you.
I have a sticker that says “gratitude” taped to my computer monitor. I also have an essential oil diffuser and occasionally a houseplant sitting on my desk. I even keep a copy of my book in front of me to help remind myself that, hey, I wrote a book!
Make your workspace a place of inspiration. Just try not to make it too cluttered!
20. Focus on completing one task at a time.
It’s ridiculously tempting to multitask, but research has shown that switching tasks actually takes a huge toll on productivity. You can do better work, in a shorter period of time, just by getting laser-focused on each task individually.
21. Close/quit all those web browser tabs and applications.
For everyone who assumed that they could focus on an individual task with distractions beckoning in the background, THIS ONE IS FOR YOU. If you have all sorts of things open on your computer or even your smartphone nearby, chances are you’re going to automatically switch to going for it out of a bad, subconscious habit.
So get rid of it. Close it down. Quit it. Put it away. I know, it’s painful, but it’s the only way to take control of that bad habit.
22. Take advantage of tools that help you focus and concentrate.
Two tools that have been super helpful for me include the Moment mobile app and the FocusMe desktop app. Both track your time spent on various apps or websites, and you can set controls so that you limit your time on them.
23. Take frequent breaks while you’re working.
Breaks are key to productivity. It might not feel like it, but you’re doing both your mind and body a big favour by getting up from your desk every 25 to 45 minutes—even if it’s just to stretch your legs for a minute.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I prefer using the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working in laser-focused 25-minute incremenents followed by five-minute breaks. Every four cycles, you get a longer 40-minute break.
24. Set clear boundaries for your availability.
One of the worst parts about working with others is that their constant need for your input or help can be a productivity killer. Even I work independently, but I have clients, and I get anxious about answering their emails as soon as possible.
Besides outright telling people you’re availability, you can also train them to take you seriously by not answering calls or emails during certain times. And when speaking to someone directly, tell them, “I only have X minutes.”
25. Learn how to say “no” assertively and respectfully.
Everyone needs something from you, but you have to put your own agenda first if you want to get anything done. This can be excrutiatingly hard for people pleasers.
If you think you’ll disappoint people by saying no, you’re already in trouble. There’s an art to saying no in a way that’s reasonable and understanding—not selfish.
26. Eliminate as many unnecessary phone calls and meetings as possible, or at least cut their time down by as much as possible.
I used to get on the phone with almost every client prosect who emailed me and it turns out that doing that was a huge waste of time. I’d spend hours on the phone taking about things that could have been cleared up quickly in an email, and lots of times I wouldn’t even end up getting the gig.
These days, I screen all my client prospects with an email script of questions. If they answer and it looks good, I’ll move on to step two, which might eventually lead to a phone meeting. If they don’t answer, they were never all that serious in the first place.
27. Be present when speaking to people.
The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your full, undivided attention. This means listening intently when they speak. You’ll have more interesting conversations this way and be able to build better relationships with people.
28. Block out one or two times a day to take care of emails, if you can.
Keeping email open all day long is just a recipe for all-day stress. I know that not everyone has the luxury of being able to keep it closed for most of the day, but if you do, I urge you to spend time only in the morning or at the end of the day answering emails.
29. Use canned email responses.
Canned email responses (particularly in Gmail) are pre-written scripts you can put into an email reply quickly and customize as necessary. This is super helpful for cutting down on unnecessary time spent typing the same things you type in emails anyway.
30. Have separate email accounts or at least filters for work, personal, subscriptions, etc.
I like to keep a secondary email account for all those times I have to give my email address away for something I want to sign up for. I end up on their email list, but they can’t flood my main email with junk that I don’t really care about.
31. Turn all unnecessary notifications off on your devices.
Every single dang app you download will ask you to enable notifications. DON’T DO IT. In fact, I urge you to go into your app settings and disable all of them (except for phone calls).
Mobile notifications are one of the most distracting things of our time. You can check your apps on your break.
32. Physically leave your desk at break times, and especially at lunch.
Research has shown that people work better when they take regular lunch breaks. Now, that doesn’t mean sitting back in your chair while you chow down on a sandwich and browse Facebook. It means getting up and going somewhere—a cafeteria, a park, an outdoor eating area, or a restaurant—to separate yourself from work for a bit.
33. Have at least one go-to for quick stress relief.
By quick go-to, I mean a simple technique you can run through to regain your sense of calm and presence. This can be a simple meditation, deep breathing, mental count to 10, visualization of an escape, or anything else you like.
34. Have at least one go-to for minimizing the effects of the “afternoon slump.”
If you suffer from the dreaded afternoon slump, and many people do, try scheduling some kind of light work, break, or energizing activity when you expect it to happen. There’s no use in trying to push through some mentally challenging work when you know it’s coming.
35. Take power naps.
Speaking of the afternoon slump, a 20-minute power nap counts as a go-to. And if you really want to come back swinging, plan to drink a cup of coffee right before you go down for a nap so that the caffeine kicks in right around the time you get back to work.
36. If you work from home, don’t multitask with work and home activities.
Working from home makes it hard—even impossible—to draw a line between work and home life. At the very least, try to block out time that you spend working versus time that you spend doing personal stuff.
37. If you work from home, have a dedicated workspace just for work.
In my old place, I used to work in a corner between my kitchen, dining room, AND living room. That’s what I had to work with since it was only a one-bedroom, but I at least used that space only for work, and shut everything down when I was done.
38. If you work from home, consider joining a co-working space.
I’ve been going to a co-working space every Wednesday for over two years now. It helps to shake up my week and work environment, plus it gives me the chance to say hi to the people who work there as well.
39. Tidy up your workspace at the end of the day.
Don’t make a habit out of leaving your workspace cluttered by loose paper, open notebooks, food, beverages, and other nicknacks. It only creates unnecessary stress and an unsightly place to work.
40. Practice mentally disconnecting from work when you’re done.
You can do this by choosing a trigger to signal you to disconnect. The act of grabbing your coat, getting into your car, shutting down your computer, or closing the door to your home office are all good examples of triggers to use.
41. Use the enjoyment of music to your advantage.
I already mentioned how I love listening to ambient music when I work, but I also love classical when relaxing, pop-country when I need to get energized, and some of that really catchy, annoying, overly auto-tuned pop when working out. Never underestimate the power of music to set the atmosphere and help you achieve something.
42. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks when you’re commuting, cooking, cleaning, or doing any other sort of mindless activity.
For those unavoidable tasks we do every day that take almost zero mental effort, podcasts and audio books can turn it into something enjoyable. You might even learn something new!
43. Prep your meals ahead of time, and plan to eat mostly the same thing at main meals.
When it comes to eating healthy, planning ahead is a must, because let’s face it—whole foods don’t chop or cook themselves!
It helps if you plan to eat mainly the same thing at every meal so you can prep in large batches. I like to spend one or two weeks eating the same thing, then maybe switch it up after that for a little variety.
44. Know when you’re hungry versus when you’re experiencing cravings.
Hunger occurs in the stomach whereas cravings occur in the head. Becoming aware of this as it happens can save you from consuming unnecessary calories.
45. Get 20 to 30g of protein at each main meal.
Protein helps keep you fuller for longer and prevents blood sugar spikes (which lead to fatigue). It’s also essential for muscle buidling and maintenance—especially if you’re in a calorie deficit for weight loss.
46. Decide for yourself whether you prefer 2 to 3 large meals a day, or 4 to 6 small ones.
I tend to eat too much and too fast if I wait too long between meals, so I like to eat frequently, but not everyone has this luxury. The best eating plan for you is the one that works with your schedule and your hunger levels.
47. Eat whole foods 80% of the time and indulge (within reason) 20% of the time.
A diet that’s super restricted and deprives you of your favourite foods is definitely not one that you’re going to stick with over the long run. When it comes to instilling lifelong healthy eating habits, follow the 80/20 rule, and work your indulgement opportunities into your schedule so that they’re planned.
48. Walk as often and for as long as you can, daily.
It’s way too easy to sit all day, especially as a desk worker. You can use an activity tracker like a Fitbit to try and get to 10,000 steps every day, but you don’t necessarily need it. All you need to do is take every opportunity you can to walk—and make longer morning/evening walks before or after work a part of your life.
49. Identify trails or parks nearby that you can visit 2 to 3 times a week.
Nature has miraculous effects on the mind and body. From curbing depression and inspiring creativity, to boosting immunity and improving cardiocasvular health, it’s seriously worth it to make getting outside a huge priority.
50. Set aside a bare minimum of 5 to 10 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week, to do some strength training.
Most desk workers don’t get to use their muscles, thus facing the risk of having them waste away over time. To avoid this, you need to strategically work them by overloading them to failure and then allowing them time to recover.
Make sure to check out Your 7-Minute Total Body Workout Plan by signing up using the form below if you’re clueless on where to start.
51. Design your workouts so they’re aligned with what you enjoy, and switch them up every so often.
I like lifting heavy weights, but I like yoga more. So I’ll often do a yoga session focused on strength instead of a traditional weight lifting workout.
You’re unlikely to stick with a workout that you hate doing, so it’s worth finding something you like doing if you really want to build it into your life over the long run.
52. Do some sort of physical activity just for the sake of enjoyment, at least once a week.
My preferred “leisurely” form of physical activity is walking and hiking. In the winter, it’s snowshoeing.
The point is to do it entirely because you just love it. It’s just plain fun. The physical health benefits are just a bonus.
53. Engage in some sort of personal hobby or activity for 30 minutes to an hour, at least a couple of times a week.
Life is a real drag when all you do is work and try to keep up with all the tasks that need your attention. You need some “me time” too for your own personal hobbies and activities that get you excited and make you happy about being alive.
54. Aim to spend one night with your romantic partner every week, a weekend away with them every 2 to 3 months, and a whole week or longer away with them every 6 months to a year.
It’s so important to reconnect and do something new together with your romantic partner every so often to keep growing together. And no, sorry, watching TV on the couch every night doesn’t cut it.
When it comes to staying together, you really have to find new and creative ways to fall in love with a new version of the same person over the years.
55. Define what friendships mean to you and design your social life around it.
You’ll find all sorts of advice online saying you should have X number of friends and hang out with them X amount of times per week or month. But I despise these types of rules.
Friendships are great, but the way I define “friendship” is a lot different now in my 30s as it was in my 20s. If you’re an introvert like me, don’t feel bad about having too few friends according to other people’s social standards.
I prefer fewer, closer friendships. You might too. Find what works for you and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have enough friends.
56. Visit a new place or try a new activity at least once a week (maybe on the weekend) with your partner, kids, relatives, or friends.
Nothing can refresh your entire sense of being like a visit to some place you’ve never been before, or an activity you’ve never done before. It also gives you a great excuse to nurture your relationships by bringing them along and sharing the experience together.
57. Take photos and videos of your experiences just for yourself.
You know what feels great? Taking a photo with no intention of showing it off on social media.
Every time I consider posting a photo or video on Instagram, I feel like I’m looking to prove how awesome my life is and be validated by my (very few) followers. It’s so stupid.
Take those photos and videos because you want to look back on them and relive the memory—nothing more.
58. Take your vacation time. (Yes, all of it.)
Both entrepreneurs and employees have all sorts of excuses not to take vacation, from worrying about work piling up while they’re gone, to demonstrating their extreme dedication to their jobs. But not taking vacation can actually be deterimental to both your health and productivity.
Vacation should be seen as a chance to refresh and recharge yourself. When you come back, you’ll be in better shape to get back to work than if you hadn’t gone in the first place.
59. If you work for yourself, work in seasons.
Working for yourself has all sorts of challenges, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from it, it’s that there are periods of intense work and periods of very light work. As a freelance writer, dry spells are an opportunity to relax, reflect, or start a new project. When I wrote my book, I spent six full weeks just writing it.
There’s no need to be working at full capacity all the time. During the off-season, do what you need to do to recharge and grow.
60. Schedule personal activities that are easy to let fall by the wayside.
You know what gets hard to prioritize when work gets crazy? Exercise. Meal prep. Date night. That personal project of yours. The list goes on.
And that’s exactly why you need to schedule them into your calendar. If they’re daily or weekly habits, try to schedule them at the same time every day or week to keep it as consistent as possible.
61. Maintain at least some structure on weekends.
Sticking to a pretty rigid routine over the workweek is reason enough to allow yourself to relax a little on weekends. Unfortunately, you can do some real damage by sleeping in too late, eating everything in sight, binge watching Netflix shows, and staying up way past your regular bedtime.
It’s important to maintain a basic routine on weekends so you don’t undo any good progress from the week or make it hard for yourself to get back into the swing of things come Monday. Focus on keeping a good sleep schedule, meals, and exercise or active rest.
62. Do something spontaneous once in a while.
There is such a thing as overscheduling. While routines and scheduled acitivities are great, never letting loose every so often can make everything feel like a business affair and an effort to achieve some end result.
Spontenaity can help bring play into your life. You can still plan/schedule a little—like by saying you might go out and do something, sometime Friday night—but try not to get too attached to a definite yes or no at a specified time.
63. Treat yourself once in a while.
Remind yourself that you’re not living this life just to achieve goals. You’re here to have experiences. And good experiences come from things that you love.
I love chocolate, books, wine, the spa, and spending tons of money to get my hair done. You bet your bottom dollar I treat myself to all these things every so often not to get results, but to simply enjoy the experience.
64. Try outsourcing or delegating at least one of your most mundane, time-consuming activities for at least 30 days.
Here’s something most of us have troulbe admitting: We can’t do it all. There’s not enough time in the day or willpower in our bodies.
The truth is, other people can do your accounting, design work, laundry, cleaning, lawn mowing, and so on MUCH better and faster than you can. And that frees up more time and energy for you to focus on the most important things in your life.
65. Ask for help from family or friends for the things you can’t outsource.
You can outsource a lot of stuff, but not everything. Need a night off from taking care of the kids so you can focus on your work or self-care? Ask your partner to take them bowling or your parents to come over and play games with them.
No, it’s not selfish. And if anyone is going to be the most understanding of your needs, it’s going to be the closest people you have in your life—your family and friends.
66. Challenge yourself to do something new and kind of scary every once in a while.
The sucky thing about personal growth is that it almost always involves doing something you don’t want to do because you’re afraid of uncertainty. But the only way to beat fear and grow to your fullest potential is by doing it.
You can set small daily challenges, medium-sized weekly challenges, or bigger monthly challenges to face your fears. Most people won’t do this, because the reptillian part of their brains are so incredibly strong (thanks, evolution!), but if you decide to do it—you’ll be in the minority who takes their personal growth to new levels faster than anyone else.
67. Set rewards up for yourself upon completion of tasks that you’d rather procrastinate doing.
Sometimes, the perceived pain of doing something is so strong that not even the relief of getting it done is enough to motivate you to do it. And that’s why it can be super helpful to tempt yourself with a big fat reward at the end.
For instance, I didn’t allow myself to go get my hair done until I finished my book. While my hightlights got brassier and my roots grew deeper, I trucked on until my book was finally published on Amazon.
68. Get creative with finding fun ways to do mundane tasks.
My go-to for turning a mundane task into something enjoyable usually involves listening to good music and podcasts. But you can do more, like have a race with your kids to fold the laundry, dance while you clean, sing in the shower, or take the laptop outside to work in the backyard.
69. Use at least one of your basic day-to-day activities to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is good brain training. All it involves is placing all of your awareness using your five senses on the activity you’re doing. Habits that are typically automatic like prepping food, brushing your teeth, or getting dressed are great for a mindfulness practice.
70. Every time you bring a new item into your home, get rid of one you no longer need.
This is something I always try to do with my clothes. I have so many clothes that have piled up over the years, which doesn’t really make sense since I work from home and basically wear the same thing (a.k.a. yoga pants) all the time.
71. Do a full purge and cleaning of your whole home and workspace every six months.
There’s nothing quite lie clearing out all the old physical clutter and stale energy associated with it from your home and workspace when the seasons change. Everyone knows about “spring cleaning,” but I think fall cleaning should be a thing too.
You can pick any time of the year to do this, but I personally like spring and fall due to the shifts from dark to light/light to dark and cold to warm/warm to cold. The physical act of a serious purge and cleaning can also help you clear out old thoughts, emotions, and even habits.
72. Use low-energy periods to rest and recharge.
We live in a society that glorifies hard work and shames laziness. But it appears we’ve peaked now that self-care is becoming a growing topic of discussion.
The truth is, burning the candle at both ends is no way to get things done. Everything in nature is cyclical, including your own mind and body, so it’s important to take breaks at work, during non-working hours, on weekends/days off, and by taking vacations to restore your energy with proper rest and relaxation.
73. Set aside time during non-work hours to spend time on social media.
It’s easier than ever to constantly check into social media several times a day, all day long. But it’s a huge distraction and time waster.
I recommend using the Moment mobile app and the FocusMe desktop app to see just how much time you do spend on social media every day. Then you can use those same apps to place restrictions on your use of them to help train you out of those bad habits.
74. Purge your social media accounts once in a while.
I’ve had a Facebook account since 2006. If you think my social circle and likes have changed since then, you’re absolutely right.
When you’ve been on social media for years, they end up cluttered with connections and interests that are no longer relevant. Unfriend, unlike, unfollow, mute, delete, or do whatever to all those unnecessary people or brands at least once a year.
75. Do a social media detox every 1 to 3 months.
You won’t know how much more time you’ll have, how much less distracted you’ll be, and how much happier and free you’ll feel until you delete all your social accounts from your devices or even temporarily deactivate your account.
Even a short detox for a week can be enough to help you reconnect with what’s important in life. One of these days, I’m going to go off the grid for a whole month… and it’s going to be amazing!
76. Limit TV time to one hour or less a day.
TV is super addicting, even for someone like me who claims to not even like TV that much or be prone to binge watching shows. But streaming services like Netflix are the worst—especially late at night when you’re tired and your willpower is totally depleted.
I recommend disabling the auto-play feature on Netflix for next episodes so you don’t remain sucked into that entertainment vortex of self-control doom.
77. Eliminate your consumption of depressing and/or unnecessary news.
My mom loves to watch and read the news, so when we talk and she asks me about a particular news story, I often haven’t heard about it (unless it’s a huge story). I get no value from consuming news about catastrophes, crimes, murders, war, car accidents, and so on. I only get distracted, paranoid, and depressed.
There aren’t many news outlets that focus solely on good news, but I’m sure they’re out there. If you can find them, or figure out a way to filter out the depressing and irrelevant stuff, then all the power to you.
78. Unplug from your devices during most non-work hours.
You probably spend enough time staring at screens in a day. I know I do.
So here’s what you can do when you’re off work: Put your phone on Do Not Disturb (or airplane mode), leave it in another room, or turn it off altogether.
Free yourself from being psychologically chained to your phone 24/7. It’s so worth it.
79. Avoid staring at any glowing screens at least 30 minutes to one hour before bed.
Blue light emitted from monitors and mobile devices confuses your brain to make you think it’s still daytime. And that’s exactly why you struggle to fall asleep at night.
If you absolutely must look at screens before bed, then at least do it while wearing a good pair of blue light blocking glasses to save yourself from delayed sleep onset.
80. Read every day.
Reading is a good habit you can use to replace your excessive screentime habits. I yes, I’m suggesting that you read actual books.
81. Block out some uninterrupted quiet time during your day or evening to address any emotional stuff.
We as a society have not evolved enough yet to prioritize emotional wellbeing over work and getting things done, but we’re getting there. In most cases, we have to stuff it away so we can continue on with our day.
There have been many times where I’ve secluded myself in my bedroom just to have a good cry. For no reason. I just felt like I needed to do it.
And you know what? I always felt better afterwards.
82. Adopt a growth mindset over a fixed mindset.
People with fixed mindsets believe that their genes and personality traits limit their ability to achieve what they want. People with growth mindsets, on the other hand, believe that anything can be learned and thus achieved—regardless of genes or personality.
The latter is absolutely true. If you live your life with a growth mindset, chances are you’re going to achieve way more than someone with a fixed mindest and their crapload of excuses.
83. Practice letting things go.
Our inability to let things go comes from a desire for control. And ego.
We all want to be right and we all want to win. But we can’t be right on everything or win all the time.
Whatever problem or event from the past you’re still thinking about, allow yourself to mentally and emotionally process it so you can free yourself from it. Not ruminate or scheme—but let it go.
Years ago, I started meditating every day and kep it up for months. I have no doubt that it helped change my pessimistic, self-conscious ways and turned me into more positive, confident, abundance-attracting person.
85. Practice self-compassion.
That self-criticizing voice in your head isn’t going to solve your problems. It’s only going to make you feel worse.
Accepting your flaws or mistakes and then talking to yourself like you’d talk to a good friend is the most effective way to learn, grow, and succeed.
86. Set monthly goals at the start of each month.
The first of the month is a great time for a fresh start. And if it takes 21 days to make a habit (generally), imagine what you can instill into your automatic behavior by the 30th or 31st!
87. Reflect upon your progress at the end of the month.
Just like the first of the month is great for setting new goals, the last of the month is ideal for looking back and considering what you learned or achieved. The thing is, you never really see significnant growth on a day-to-day basis. But by looking back on the past few weeks or months, you can certainly see something.
88. Determine your core values.
Your work life and personal life should be aligned with your core values—those fundamental principles that you feel deeply (often emotionally) compelled to live your life by. If you’re not clear on what they are, then how can you design your life around them?
89. Contemplate your purpose(s) in life.
Your purpose comes from your core values. For example, one of my purposes is to write—and learn to write well in a way that teaches my readers or helps to expand their own self-awareness. You might even have multiple purposes, which change over time as you grow as a person.
90. Always be open to change.
It’s been said that the only thing constant in life is change. When it comes to both work and life, you’re guaranteed to experience change—both in small and big ways.
91. At the end of each day, do some self-reflection by considering what you did well that day and what you’d like to improve on.
It might be tempting to pass out after a long day, but it’s worth running over the events of the day quickly in your head to get a sense of your progress and direction in terms of your goals. The day’s events are feedback you need determine what’s working and what you need to change or tweak.
92. Adopt healthy beliefs about rest and relaxation.
Like I mentioned earlier, our society glorifies work. We’re conditioned to feel like we’re never working long enough or hard enough, even when we’re sacrificing sleep and everything else.
Rest and relaxation aren’t just rewards—they’re necessary for maximizing productivity. Start telling yourself that you need it, and no, it DOESN’T make you lazy!
93. Create a sleep environment that’s as relaxing and as disconnected from your busy life as possible.
Your bedroom should be a place that serves two purposes—sleeping and getting dresssed/undressed. That’s it.
It should be kept clean and tidy with only the most necessary and aesthetically pleasing items in it for enhancing sleep and relaxation. Get into a good habit of making your bed, putting clothes away (not on the floor), and keeping your bedside tables and dressers free of clutter.
94. Set a strict rule to keep electronic devices out of your bedroom.
Anything in your bedroom with a screen is going to stimulate you—not relax you. Yes, even that nice big flatscreen on the wall in front of your bed.
It’s also a good idea to keep your phone charger anywhere but the bedroom so you’re not tempted to keep it on your bedside table. The only exception I’d say is if you use a device for sleep tracking or listening to sleep-enhancing music.
95. Have a healthy pre-bedtime routine.
Everyone’s preferred bedtime routine is going to be different. Some people like to plan for the next day the night before. Some people like to bathe. Some people like to read erotic romance novels.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s relaxing and not overly stimulating. Working or staring at screens should always be avoided right before bed.
96. Go to bed at the same time as your partner does.
It seems like a small thing, but you can strengthen your relationship by hitting the hay together. It’s an opportunity to reconnect, cuddle, and be intimate.
I know not every couple can do this if at least one partner does shift work and schedules don’t line up, but if you can, it’s seriously beneficial for both of you.
97. Run through a short, silent gratitude practice in your head before you drift off to sleep.
You could say that this is really just prayer. I always take a moment to think about all the people I have in my life, the work I get to do, the home I live in, and the freedom I have. Because the truth is, no matter what you have, there’s always a risk of losing it.
Be grateful for what you have.
98. Put your health first.
If you’re not at your healthiest—physically, mentally, or emotionally—how do you expect to do great work or have great relationships? You can’t be the best version of yourself for the world when your health is suffering.
99. Put your family/close relationships at a close second.
If health is first, relationships are almost tied. Family and friends should always come before work.
Nobody looks back on their life and wishes they worked more or made more money. They look back and wish they spent more time with the people that meant the most to them.
100. Don’t worry about trying to be perfect. (Even when it comes to checking all the work-life balance tips on this list.)
Perfection doesn’t exist. Actually, you know what’s perfect? Being curious and brave enough to pursue different experiences. And learning from them.
That’s as perfect as you’re going to get. And you can bet that I, myself, don’ hit every item on this list when it comes to my own work-life balance tips/smart lifestyle design rules.
I simply wrote it to encourage you (and me too) to discover and consider new experiences that might enhance your life. But there’s no perfect list. There’s no perfect solution to anything.
What Are Your Best Work-Life Balance Tips / Smart Lifestyle Design Tips?
Are they in this list, or do you have a list that you came up with on your own?
Feel free to leave a comment and share your input.
Thanks for sticking with me through this monster list!