We鈥檝e all been there: You鈥檙e checking emails on a Sunday morning, waking up in the middle of the night stressing about your to-do list聽and forgetting whether or not you shampooed your hair in the shower because you鈥檙e thinking about work. You鈥檙e not bored or unhappy at work;聽you鈥檙e聽burnt out. One major cause of burnout is聽poor聽work-life balance. If this sounds like you, don鈥檛 worry聽鈥 we asked聽Karen Hsu, product marketing manager at Badgeville, a company that makes software that allows you to visualize achievements at work, for her best聽advice.


She says work-life balance isn鈥檛 just a luxury for top executives聽鈥 it鈥檚 a necessity for聽anyone聽who wants to be as productive as they can be. In other words,聽everyone. Karen offered us these five solid聽tips for how to make sure your work-life balance is in prime shape.

1.聽Recognize your reactions to poor work-life balance. Karen pointed out聽that聽there are signs that your balance is off, but you have to know what they feel聽like.聽鈥淚f you start to see that things are bothering you in a way that they didn鈥檛 before, or if you鈥檙e agitated and you feel distracted or disengaged, those are clear signs that you don鈥檛 have that work-life balance,鈥 she聽explained. Physical signs of poor work-life balance include headaches and insomnia. Pay attention to how your imbalance manifests itself emotionally and physically so that you can catch it聽early if it happens again.

2. Plan your work projects by the hour, day, week and so on.聽The single most effective way to have聽better work-life balance is to simply make sure you鈥檙e getting your work done聽at work. That means making those hours in the office as productive as they can possibly be. 鈥淒evelop a plan, not just for today, but what you plan to do for the week, the month and the year. You have to have an understanding of what your goals are in each of those time periods,鈥 Karen said.

鈥淵ou can use this strategy to explain [to your manager] why you鈥檙e doing certain things and why you鈥檙e聽not聽doing certain things鈥 because there are a million things we could do during the day, but we choose to do the more important things.鈥 Not only will this strategy relieve your stress, but it鈥檒l impress your boss too.

3. Put life appointments on your calendar. Karen suggested taking a break during the work day to think about things you want to do in your life聽outside of聽work.聽鈥淚鈥檒l take my lunch hour, and I鈥檒l actually walk around the block and make appointments for myself, with my friends and for my family. It gives me that time to be like, 鈥極kay, there鈥檚 more than just what I have to do today. There are other things that I can look forward to.鈥 And it鈥檚 really great, because I come back to work totally refreshed.鈥

4. Establish boundaries up front 鈥 and stay firm.聽This can be a tough one, especially if you鈥檙e working somewhere that has a culture of long hours and no offline time. But Karen explained that you can establish patterns that create a healthier balance for yourself. 鈥淧eople understand non-verbal cues that you make,鈥 she聽said. 鈥淚f you don鈥檛 want to work on the weekends, don鈥檛 send emails on the weekends. If you start looking at email and responding on the weekends, then yes, people are going to send you emails on the weekends. You have to be consistent.鈥

5.聽Break up your day with non-desk time.聽鈥淚f you just have long days and you have clients who want to talk to you at 5 o鈥檆lock and there鈥檚 no way around it, then make sure that you set time aside for yourself during the day and have a break. Whether it鈥檚 during lunch or in the afternoon, just take two hours. If you start at 7am in the morning and work 鈥檛il 7 at night, that鈥檚 really hard to keep up day after day,鈥 Karen said. BUT, she聽told us, if you give yourself downtime in the middle of the day, you can work around the impossibly long hours. This one鈥檚 especially helpful for #girlbosses out there who know the self-employed struggle.

Which of these changes are you going to make? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo!聽

(Photo via Getty)