top of page
  • Writer's pictureNick Howell

A Better Work-Life Balance

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

Man at a desk with laptop
Work-Life Balance

As we enter the Christmas Holidays, thoughts move to take time out for family and friends (not forgetting yourself!).

Having the right work/life balance affords us the ability to be able to do this without feeling compromised.

Work/life balance looks different for each of us, a common thread is that it can be challenging to achieve. It feels like an ever-shifting puzzle that needs to be rearranged with every new challenge or responsibility you take on.

Finding the right combination of devoted time for your professional pursuits, family commitments, and self-care can be incredibly daunting — but it is possible.

A good way to look at work/life balance is that it’s not necessarily a place you reach and then job done. It’s a continual journey that you need to invest in, evolve, and make incremental improvements on. Our lives change as we move forward in time and so does the look of what’s right for us from a work/balance perspective.

In this blog post, I’ll provide some pointers on where to focus some of your thinking and actions to build into your life and to help you along this journey….

1. Focus On Your Health - It’s true that the focus on one’s health can be one of the first things to go when we are super busy, stressed, and anxious. Studies have shown that those people that find the time to exercise, get outside, unplug from technology, and eat healthily are those people that can better sustain the demands of modern life.

When looking to restructure your week, finding time to focus on your health should be one of the first things to put into your schedule. Start small, and implement micro changes rather than feeling you need to make huge changes straight away.

2. Boundary Setting (Say No, So You Can Say Yes) - It’s very easy to say yes to things. Most of us are wired to help people and be a valued members of work and social groups. The problem with saying yes to everything is that over time you can become very time-poor, rushing around and spreading yourself too thin. Feelings of overwhelm come in and you feel you are not doing anything properly.

Sit down and perform an exercise to take a critical look at what you are saying yes to. Think of your time as one of your most valued possessions, picture it as virtual gold and consciously select how you spend it. Politely reduce your list of obligations and only spend time on the things that hold the most value for you and your life goals. This is also one way to potentially free up time to focus on what you truly need to.

3. Technology Is Not Your Ruler - In today’s society, we have amazing technology tools that have opened opportunities to work virtually, and we shouldn’t lose sight of the benefits these tools make to collaboration, productivity, and work flexibility. There is another side to this coin when these tools are used in the wrong way.

Discuss with your manager and team members communication etiquette, when you are available, when you aren’t, and how you are available. Put boundaries in place for when you do use these tools. At home, use family rules to partition the use of social media.

4. Optimise Work Flexibility - If you haven’t already, hold a discussion with your boss about different ways that you can add some flexibility into your working week to balance your commitments without compromising your productivity.

Examples being - virtual & hybrid working, condensed hours, start & end time flexibility, job sharing, etc. If you are the boss, ensure your work flexibility policies are fit for purpose for your employees and walk the walk yourself. Good work/life balance behaviour comes from the top.

5. Work Smarter, Not Harder - Are you using effective delegation? Are you too reactive to emails? Are you working on the right priorities? Do you use your calendar effectively at work? Are your meetings effective? Do you have the right organisational structure around you at work? Are you using technology in the right way to be more productive?

Have some open and honest conversations with your management and team members about what could change for the better in these areas.

6. Contract With Your Family – Changing your work-life balance is not always easy and it certainly is harder to do on your own.

If you are part of a wider family unit, discuss together what changes there are to go after. Support each other and the change will be easier to implement if you keep the lines of communication open and take the journey as a team.

7. Mindfulness - Your body needs exercise; your mind also needs rest and refresh. If this is not in place, over time, it can lead to poorer overall health, stress, anxiety, overwhelm, burn-out and unhappiness.

Consider putting in things like walks, meditation, healthy eating, and time in for your interests. It’s easy to list these things but sometimes harder to implement them. Start small, and implement micro changes rather than biting off huge changes in one go. A five-minute daily meditation routine. The more you implement micro changes, the easier it will be to make lasting change.

8. Sleep – I’ve listed this one separately because it is so important. Without the appropriate amount of sleep, implementing other changes in a busy life gets even harder, the lack of sleep can lead to long-term health issues. There will be of course situations that affect our ability to do this, if you ask a new parent that sleep is important, you may get a roll of the eyes!

Where you can, look for opportunities to ensure your sleeping routine is as effective as it can be. You should be aiming for between 7-9 hours of sleep at night, this can vary with age and by person. Also, pay attention to your circadian rhythm, you may notice you may be an early bird or night owl, work with this as you structure your day. Avoid screen time before bed and have a wind-down routine in place.

9. Perfectionism Is Not Your Friend – This manifest in the desire to approve, feel, and be perfect. It can be a time and mental drain both in the work setting and at home. Letting go of perfectionism can be a challenge as some of the reasons can be deep-seated from your early years.

If it shows up in work, consider when agreeing a piece of work with your stakeholder, gain a good idea of what would constitute success in their mind, and strive instead for fit for purpose. Chances are that you can align your effort to what is truly needed rather than striving for complete perfectionism where it may not be needed.

Consider seeking help and advice if you feel you are suffering from excessive perfectionism, there is a way through this. This can also be linked to procrastination, read more about this topic in my blog here.

10. Be Kind to Yourself - With all the information that comes our way, society places pressure on us to be perfect in all different aspects of our lives. You need to be working all hours under the sun at work, you need to be a perfect parent.

If we listen too much to others in terms of what we should be, we are setting ourselves up to feel that we are failing. This is a surefire way to negatively impact your self-esteem, stress, anxiety levels, and overall happiness. Be kind to yourself and celebrate the great things you are already achieving, consider creating a daily gratitude journal to make these wins feel more real.

These are just a few tips that you may want to consider spending more time thinking about. Achieving a better, more harmonious work/life balance is achievable, and waiting at the other end could be a better version of yourself that impacts in a positive way the quality of your life and those around you.

If you are interested in exploring a coaching relationship to help you achieve lasting work/life balance changes, then do feel free to reach out.

Thanks for reading. I hope you get the chance to spend some quality time with your loved ones over this holiday period.

Take care,


Nick is a Life, Personal Development, Career & Leadership Coach based in Norfolk, England. Through his work with individuals and businesses, he helps unlock potential. Helping his clients achieve success and happiness in their personal lives and careers -

Read my other blogs here

Sign up for my future blogs here

43 views0 comments


bottom of page