Juggling work and your personal life is no simple feat. When one is thriving, the other tends to suffer. And while many workplaces claim to be flexible, achieving a balance can be harder than it sounds. In today’s “do more with less” competitive reality, how can we manage careers and families, and feel satisfied with both?

Long term, the right balance for you when you’re single will change when you marry or have children. However, experts say that a few small steps can go a long way toward staying sane at work and at home - and lead to a happier, healthier you.

Here are our seven secrets to achieve better work life balance:

finding balance gif

1. Learn to Say "No"

This is the most important one! Remember that you can respectfully decline offers to join book club, have an after dinner drink (or four) or head out for dinner three times a week. When you stop doing things out of guilt, you'll find more time to focus on the activities that truly bring you joy.

2. Learn Your Employer's Policies

Understand your company's policies on flextime and working from home. If you're a strong performer, you have a better chance of negotiating an arrangement that works for both you and your employer.

3. Communicate

If you won't be available for certain hours during the day or weekend because you're dealing with family issues, let your manager and colleagues know, and get their full support. Better to talk up front then apologise after.

4. Detox Your Tech & Be “Present”

Technology should help make your life easier, not control it. Ban technology at certain times so that you can focus on your family or friends.

5. Telecommute

Telecommuting (or working from home) once or twice a week could help free up valuable hours. You'll be able to focus on work for long stretches at a time and use the extra hours to meet personal responsibilities.

6. Fight the Guilt

Superwoman and Superman are fictional characters. Real people can't devote 100% to everything they do. Don’t feel guilty for prioritising your schedule to skip a colleague’s going away drinks. Obligation is the enemy of a fulfilling personal life!

7. Prioritise Your Private Time

Allow yourself to daydream on the bus or appreciate good weather on your walk to work. If you don't allow yourself pockets of personal time, you'll become too burned out to fully appreciate any part of your life.