Long workdays can take everything out of a person. After 8 hours in the office, plus an additional couple of hours spent on travel, it is understandable that a lot of us can’t scrounge up the energy to do much more than get home, grab dinner, and collapse in our beds. 

However, this doesn’t just take a toll on your own mental health, it also impacts your relationship with the rest of your family. Aside from having a negative impact on your familial relationships, a poor work-life balance can also increase stress, make you feel consistently tired and fatigued, and even affect your physical health. 

It’s easy to feel as though you’re being torn in two – you can’t just up and quit your job, but your family and friends are important as well. That’s why it’s important that you have a plan in mind for how you’re going to balance your work and home life. 

In this article, I’ve listed some of the tips that I’ve found most effective in helping ensure that I make time for both my job and the people that I’m closest to. 

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  1. Learn to say ‘No’

It can be difficult to turn down extra hours at work, especially if your boss is asking for last-minute help. However, knowing when to refuse something is a key part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. By knowing when you’ve reached your limits at work, you ensure that you can reach home on time, without being extra tired.  

  1. Make sure to unplug

Modern technology makes it easy to stay connected with the people around us. While this can have its advantages, it can also make it easy for your work to contact you during your time off and eat into personal time. Make sure to turn off your work devices and avoid checking your email when at home. Depending on your workplace’s rules, you may also want to try blocking work calls completely during the weekends and your days off.

  1. Plan 

Chalk out a plan to do things with your family in advance. This can be as simple as an hour’s drive around the city or as elaborate as a long vacation off. No matter what you’re doing, advance planning ensures that there’s no chance of you getting drawn into work during your time off and makes it easier to prepare for the immediate future. Additionally, your family is also confident in the knowledge that you’re making time for them, and you all have something to look forward to. 

  1. Consider flex hours

While this may not be possible for everyone, if you can, negotiating flexible work hours or partially working from home can help you spend more time with your family. If financially feasible, this can help you be there for your children while still being at work. It also increases the likelihood of you spending time with them, as you’ll be home after they return from school, as opposed to only returning later in the night when they’re tired and ready to go to bed. 

Very few people ever achieve the ‘perfect’ work-life balance – there’s always a need to both earn more money and spend more time with loved ones. However, I hope that these tips can help you have a more realistic balance between the two halves of your life, without forcing you to neglect either one.