Essential Steps for Achieving Work-Life Balance

Essential Steps for Achieving Work-Life Balance

8 work-life balance strategies to help you get 8 hours of sound sleep

Maintaining equilibrium can often seem impossible. Fitting all of life’s challenges and responsibilities into a 24-hour day while still having 8 hours of quality sleep can seem ambitious at best.

Technology has made employees accessible around the clock. Australians are working longer hours, but the demands of a family – and our need for downtime – don’t go away. Fitting in socialising, sport, sleeping and self-care amongst all that can be challenging.

Burnout is high amongst Australian workers, at a rate 6% above the global average. And it seems women struggle with work-life balance more than men, with McKinsey finding burnout rates higher among women for 2 years running.


Take a breath.

Close your eyes for a second.

In this blog, we’re aim to share 8 work-life balance tips to keep you grounded and sleeping soundly.

Why work-life balance strategies matter

It’s tempting to overinvest on the things that demand your attention: deadlines, extra assignments, picking up the slack in busy periods.

However,  this will likely leave you in deficit. Tired, burnt-out, not sleeping due to stress and anxiety, not giving your best self to any area of life.

Work-life balance strategies can take time, however their benefits include:

  • More motivation for the things you enjoy
  • Higher energy levels throughout the day
  • Better ability to focus
  • Happier, healthier mindset
  • More time for family and friends
  • Better productivity at work

Work-life balance helps you become a better employee, more attentive friend and parent, and be kinder to yourself.

Finding time for sleep

Sleep is one of the biggest factors in work-life balance. Unfortunately, only a slim majority of Australians (55%) get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. And only 15% sleep through the night without waking up at least once.

Poor quality and quantity sleep is a significant contributor to overbalancing when your work-life equilibrium is unbalanced:

  • Lower energy levels
  • Higher stress hormone (cortisol) levels
  • Inability to focus
  • Impaired memory

At OLARA, we care about getting a good night’s sleep. That’s why our work-life balance tips focus on strategies to unwind, make time for a relaxing night-time ritual, and calm your mind for sleep.

8 work-life balance tips for employees

1. Schedule your week

Start each week by mapping out your upcoming activities. You can use a physical calendar (like a wall or desk calendar) or your digital calendar with work meetings and personal obligations in one view.

Having your week mapped out ahead of time allows you to see how much of your time is spent on work, socialising, family, chores and other commitments. Don’t forget to include the time you spend exercising and running errands.

Now ask yourself: How can I optimise my schedule?

Are there tasks you can delegate? Is a low-priority activity blocking an unreasonable amount of time? Can you schedule downtime and breaks, so you don’t accidentally fill the gap with work?

2. Create a calming night-time routine

Leave at least 30 minutes in your calendar for a relaxing routine before bed. Night-time routines involving meditation, reading, aromatherapy or deep breathing can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine or chocolate too close to bedtime, which can disrupt sleep. Instead, replace the late-night glass of wine with a chamomile tea or aromatherapy session.

After a stressful day, calming your mind allows you to reset and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.

3. Balance exercise and meditation

Exercise throughout the day supports the body’s circadian rhythm. Ideally schedule this before midday if possible to allow your metabolism time to wind down.

If you’re used to late-night workouts, try switching up your routine. For example, exercise earlier in the day and try meditation or yoga in the evenings. That way, your energy levels will peak during the workday and gradually tail off in time for a good night’s sleep.

4. Learn to say no

If you have 30 minutes gap in your day for lunch and a colleague requests a meeting, it may be tempting to take the appointment.

But learning to say “no” is one of the most empowering work-life balance tools.

Of course, outright refusal is rarely helpful. Instead, communication experts encourage using empathy and offering alternatives:

  • Explain why you are unable to meet and offer an alternative time
  • Show a willingness to help out with smaller tasks if you don’t have the capacity for the main request
  • Acknowledge that by saying no, you may be putting the work back in the colleague’s hands
  • Be firm but polite

Saying “no” can often feel like turning down an opportunity or letting someone down. But remember that by saying “no” to somebody else, you are saying “yes” to your own work-life balance.

5. Commit to leaving work on time

Start your workday with a goal to leave at a specific time.

Tell your colleagues. Tell your family. Tell your phone to set an alarm.

The more people you tell, the more you commit to the decision.

At the same time, you set expectations with the people around you. So when you do leave at 5pm, instead of staying to burn the midnight oil, you can walk out, knowing you have achieved what you set out to.

6. Start with small changes

Work-life balance strategies are just that: strategies. There are no instant fixes for when you’re feeling the onset of burnout.

Make minor adjustments and set realistic expectations with yourself. Little by little, you will start to see how small changes contribute to a bigger picture of work-life balance.

7. Hack your chores

Technology has made us reachable 24/7, but it has also made daily tasks like grocery shopping and cooking nearly redundant.

If you are someone who struggles to find time for errands, consider whether a subscription service can lighten the load. There are all kinds of on-demand services:

  • Grocery delivery
  • Meal kits
  • Food delivery apps – look for ones with sustainable practices such as reusing packaging
  • Smart home systems
  • Intelligent reticulation systems

From smart fridges to flower gardens, technology has made managing daily chores much easier.

Telehealth is another beneficial innovation; if you feel overwhelmed but lack time to speak with someone in person, you can schedule a call with a professional counselling service.

8. Disconnect to reconnect

After ordering next week’s groceries, turn off your phone for an hour. Taking time away from screens reminds us to stay grounded and present.

Blue light from screens can stimulate your brain when it’s time to wind down. So try not to check emails or social media apps before going to bed. Better yet, leave your phone in another room.

Connect instead with the people around you, or check in with yourself.

Find work-life balance solutions that suit you

There is no one-size solution for the work-life balance problem, so treat these tips as a guide to finding your equilibrium.

We would love to hear if you have other tips to achieve balance in a busy life.

We encourage you to share your wisdom with others in our social media communities

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