Health and Fitness Work Boundaries

10 Ways to Realistically Achieve Work-Life Balance

It’s all a crazy balancing act. You want to succeed in your work, but you also don’t want to lose your sanity. In order to realistically achieve work-life balance, you need to make some sober decisions and implement some changes.

Firstly, let’s look at what you may try to add to your daily routine. Here are the possible average times for some activities on a typical day of the week:

  • Time with God = 1 hour
  • Work = 8 hours
  • Sleep = 8 hours 
  • Cooking = 2 hours 
  • Eating = 3 hours (unrushed breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Classes and studies for career enhancement = 5 hours (3 hours for classes)
  • Time with loved ones = 2 hours
  • Entertainment (YouTube, Netflix series, etc.) = 2 hours 
  • Exercise = 30 minutes 
  • Household chores (like washing dishes) = 30 minutes 
  • Mental-development (like reading, watching news, etc.) = 1 hour 
  • Reflection & journaling = 30 minutes 
  • Church involvement (prayer meeting, Bible study, etc.) = 2 hours 
  • Commute time = 2 hours 

TOTAL time needed: 37.5 hours daily!!!


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Wow! You have a challenge because you have only 24 hours per day.

Realistically, not all of the above activities occur everyday. For instance, you may attend classes twice per week totalling 10 hours and prayer meetings are generally one day weekly.

But the fact remains that too many of us have over-packed schedules.

Consequences when you’re over-extended for a prolonged period of time:
  • Burnout; (Read “9 Tips to Prevent Burnout”)
  • Key relationships become distant;
  • Relationship with God becomes cold;
  • Your health begins to deteriorate;
  • Life loses its appeal; and 
  • Lots more…

Therefore, you need to find ways to effectively achieve a realistic work-life balance. It is possible, but it will require being radical and disciplined. But at the end of the day, it’s your decision the kind of life that you want.

Here are ten ways to realistically achieve work-life balance:

1) Decide your priorities.

You may have “a million and one” goals in life. However, with a limited amount of time, you need to set your priorities.

In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”, Stephen Covey suggests dividing your activities into the following four quadrants (see diagram):

  • Q1: Urgent and Important
  • Q2: Not urgent and important 
  • Q3: Not Important but urgent 
  • Q4: Not urgent and not important 

He suggests that you focus most of your time in quadrants 1 and 2 but particularly quadrant 2 because this quadrant involves activities that are proactive and preventative. When you prioritize activities that will ultimately help you to succeed in life, you’ll spend less time in crises, outing fires and wasting time.

2) Use a schedule to plan your life.

A key ingredient to effectively achieving a work-life balance is having a reasonable schedule to guide your life. You don’t need a rigid schedule that accounts for every single minute of the day. Life is not predictable and you’ll only be stressed out if your schedule is inflexible and has no breathing space.

Benefits of a written schedule:
  • You’ll know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.
  • Your day can be better guided with knowledge and order.
  • Writing a plan has the power to make you more likely to remember your commitments.
  • You’ll be able to see if you’re being unrealistic with your time.
  • At a glance, you can determine where you can be flexible when unforeseen circumstances arise.
  • Make it adjustable because changes are inevitable. If you’re writing a hard copy, I’d recommend using a pencil. 
  • I read in a book that if you estimate that a task will take 30 minutes, multiply by three and assign 90 minutes to the task. Or better yet, record the task time over a period of time. 
  • Slot in breaks.
  • Don’t forget to make allowance for commute times.

3) Simplicity is key.

God knows that 24 hours is sufficient for each of us to accomplish what He wants us to do daily. If you are constantly stretched, then you may need to further simplify your life. Spend some time with Him to be guided about your priorities in this season of your life. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; [6] In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

You may need to live contrary to the norm. Do less and intentionally own less. The more you own and the more time commitments you have, the less time or capacity you will have to realistically achieve work-life balance.

4) Find ways to get more from your time.

Since you cannot get more time, you need to make the most of the time that you do have.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17

Here are some suggestions:
  • Find and eliminate time wasters. Try to record your activities and their associated times over a week to see where your time is actually going.
  • Don’t respond to every message and email immediately. Batch your responses by scheduling appointed times for responding. You might actually accomplish more when you’re less interrupted by intrusive notifications and a compulsion to respond to everyone immediately.
  • Try to use “down” time effectively. For instance, for a long commute, you can use the time to think and reflect; listen to self-development podcast; listen to a book; or listen to the Bible.
  • Avoid multitasking and give full attention to the task as hand. You’ll probably finish it faster and better. Check out this eye-opening book “Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health” by Dr. Carolyn Leaf.

5) Invest in time-saving tools for your trade.

I got a flat tire on a Sunday morning on my way to church. We stopped at a tire repair place. Within five minutes, the tire was removed, repaired, re-installed and the four remaining tires (including the spare) were filled with air. I was so impressed with their level of efficiency. The main reason is that they invested in good equipment that made the job fast and easy. Good tools make work lighter and saves time.

For instance, if your work requires a considerable amount of computer work, you need a computer with quick processing time. Otherwise, a two-minute task can cost you two hours.

6) Set workable daily goals.

You need to have an ongoing list of tasks to do. Each day, select the tasks to be worked on for that day. Be careful that you don’t add to your daily list more than you can chew or you might feel like a continual failure. When you’re reasonable with your goals and most of your tasks are being accomplished daily, you’ll feel a sense of victory

  • Divide your tasks into high, medium and low importance.
  • Devote your best time to your “high importance” priorities. If you have more energy in the morning, use those key hours to accomplish your most challenging mental tasks.
  • Divide large, seemingly insurmountable tasks into smaller, less intimidating tasks.

7) Make time to refresh and reward yourself.

You need to set aside unhurried time for having fun and simply relaxing. If you’re always on the go and you don’t set aside time for being refreshed, you’ll eventually realize that you have no real life. 

  • Set aside one evening weekly to do an activity that you enjoy.
  • Reward yourself in a way that’s meaningful to you.
  • Intentionally unplug from technology every day to make time for you.
  • Plan to have one day weekly to rest from all forms of work.
  • Take an annual vacation, even if it means staying within your country.

8) Learn to say “no” to others and to yourself.

There are times to say “yes” and there are times to say “no”. Don’t let guilt cause you to continually over-extend yourself. Sacrificing sleep and rest to serve others or achieving a worthwhile goal may happen from time to time, but those periods cannot last indefinitely. Otherwise, you’ll be heading for burnout (read “9 Tips to Prevent Burnout”). We must remember that God has wisely placed limitations on us as human beings for a reason. Neither you nor I are gods. 

People might be upset with your boundaries, but they’ll get over it … eventually.

You also need to say “no” to yourself when you’re tempted to waste time or commit to another activity for which you have no time.

9) Don’t procrastinate.

In your schedule, ensure that you devote sufficient time to your most important priorities whether you’re in the mood or not. Commit yourself to the task. If you lack motivation, pray and ask God to help you. If you allow feelings to control you, you will never reach your full potential. One of my teachers would always say, procrastination is the thief of time.

10) Know when it’s time to move on.

I’m not a quitter, but I also believe that you cannot allow your employer (or any human authority) to “kill” you , slowly but surely. It might be better to get a lower-paying job and downsize your life than to sacrifice your health and your key relationships. Be self-aware and know what your job is doing to you, even if you love it.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Questions to consider:
  • Would you be content with “food and clothing”? 
  • What price are you willing to pay for career success?

Related articles:

9 Tips to Prevent Burnout

The One Thing That All Successful People Have in Common

10 Life-Changing Reasons to Begin Journaling NOW

10 Easy Tips to Start Journaling today


You want your work to flourish but not at the expense of your personal life. Hence, realistically achieving work-life balance becomes an important conversation that must be had. Some ways for achieving that balance are deciding your priorities; using a schedule; simplifying your life; investing in time-saving tools; setting reasonable goals; making time to refresh and reward yourself; learning to say “no”; resisting procrastination; and knowing when to move on.

What other ways have you found to be helpful in achieving work-life balance? Is it even a possibility? Please add to the conversation by adding your comments below. I mentioned being self-aware in the last point and my “Know Yourself” questionnaire will assist with that. When you subscribe, you’ll receive the questionnaire in your inbox. As a subscriber, you’ll also hear more about my life and receive weekly tips about successfully living this life as a follower of Jesus Christ. Thanks for stopping by!

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Recommended Books:

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen Covey

“The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness” by Jeff Olson 

“Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health” by Dr. Carolyn Leaf

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Ever feel like you don’t know what a godly man is looking for in a wife? Our Irresistible Godly Woman Checklist will give you clear insights so you can stop guessing and start preparing … while reaching your full potential as a single Christian woman.