Work is an essential part of life. Through employment, one can earn the funds needed for the many essentials. Everyone has a project or more to take care of the next time they clock into work. However, as necessary as it is, work can overtake our lives and leave us feeling tired, burnt out, and even unmotivated.

The key to longevity and contentment in life is to achieve the right work-life balance that works for you. Home projects can add some new flavor to your life and add the variety you need to stop yourself from going insane. There’s also a lot of fulfillment in accomplishing things at home, the place where you spend the majority of your time.

Work-life balance is something everyone will struggle with. While to some, it might seem like an impossible task, there are several ways you can try and balance the scales out as much as possible. Here are a few ways you can make time for all of your work projects while still having plenty of time to use at home:

Leverage Your Calendar

You have the perfect tool for balancing all of your projects right on your mobile device. An online calendar is an essential time-management helper, especially when you’re trying to improve your work-life balance. Here you can outline and detail all of your important tasks and projects and arrange them in a way that works for your schedule.

Calendars are useful for listing items such as deadlines, meetings, and events for your children. With each item explicitly listed on your calendar — you can do a better job of avoiding overlaps. You can go out of your way to make sure there’s still time at the end of the day to clean the house with your spouse by blocking off the work side of your calendar.

Other useful online calendar features include event sharing, time analytics, and color-coding to keep your events separated. Test out a few different features to see which ones can help you balance your schedule. With all sorts of useful add-ons, you can find a combination that works for you specifically.

Leave Work at Work

What often threatens your work-life balance is when you have to take work home with you. If you find yourself on your computer completing work projects after hours, you’re obviously not going to have time for personal endeavors. When at all possible, you should leave work where it belongs; at work. Don’t come home with plans for a couple of hours of work before bed.

List the work tasks that you often find bleeding into your personal time. What can you do to make sure all of your loose ends are tied at the end of every shift? Consider turning notifications off on your phone when you get home so you’re not disrupted by after-hours emails and phone calls. This way, you can focus on what’s at home rather than lingering on office issues, information and work concerns.

So what do you do if you work from home? The office is only a few steps away at all times, and it can be pretty tempting to step in periodically to check your email or get a head start on the day ahead. In cases like this, you need to set proper boundaries for yourself. Consider setting specific times when you’ll work and leave the other times for personal activities. With proper planning, you should successfully keep the boundaries from being blurred.

Take Some Time Off

Your employer should be offering paid time off based on hours accrued while working. These hours aren’t meant to be worn as a badge of honor; they’re meant to be used! There’s no easier way to make time for your home projects than by taking time off of work to do so.

Even taking a single day off every once in a while can make a huge difference. A full weekday to finish staining the back deck doesn’t come around all that often. Trying to cram all of your home activities into a weekend can end up being stressful. If you can take a Wednesday off to finish something, your weekend has more time for rest and relaxation.

If your workplace discourages taking time off, it might be worth browsing through classifieds to find a better employer. Being overworked can lead to burnout, extreme levels of stress, and even injury in some cases. You deserve a lot better than that when you’re dedicating a significant portion of your life to an organization.

Try Working From Home

Not all professions are able to pull this off, but working from home can add a lot of desirable flexibility to your life. Working from a home office means you don’t have to commute to work, and you can shift your schedule as you see fit, as long as you’re still making deadlines.

Even a shift to hybrid work can create more opportunities to work on home projects. If you spend a day or two a week at home instead of at the office, you can easily fit in a few steps of a home project during your regular break time.

Of course, one of the dangers of working from home is that your home projects start to overtake your career. The joy in remote work is feeling more integrated into your home and family. However, you still have a job to do and a salary to earn, so that balance needs continuous management no matter which way the scales tip.

Ask Someone for Help

You don’t have to juggle all of these different projects on your own. There’s no shame in asking someone or multiple others for assistance with certain projects. A coworker or a family member can help take the load off of one side of your life so you can focus more fully on the other when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Let’s say over the summer, you’ve let your yard get out of hand. You need to do a bunch of mowing, trim some bushes, and plant some flowers. You can try to do this all on your own, but you’ll have an easier time asking for some assistance. You can pay the neighbor’s kid to help with the mowing and invite some friends over for dinner and have them help you with some quick planting.

You can do the same thing at work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a work project, delegate some tasks to your team members who are able and willing to lend a helping hand. When your load feels light, you can also reciprocate that assistance by offering to help others manage their work projects as well.

Learn How to Say No

It will be difficult, but sometimes you’ll just have to decline certain projects if it’s within your power. If you’re biting off more than you can chew, you’ll never feel like you’re catching up on your balancing act. It’s important to know your limits and not push them too hard.

While it’s easy to push off home projects, declining work projects can be a tricky challenge. You’re employed to do a job, and you need to do that to the best of your abilities. Nevertheless, you may be able to decline overtime hours or extra projects being handed down to help maintain your work-life balance.

Very rarely will you feel like your life is in perfect balance all the time. However, that shouldn’t stop you from keeping things in order. The more you try to balance your work and home projects, the more you can accomplish while undergoing less stress.

[Related: 7 Tips for Home Reorganization]

Featured Image Credit: Photo by life._.kor; Pexels; Thank you!