Essential Guide to the Work-life Balance You Deserve

Average reading time = 12 minutes

If you asked me what was one of the things I was most proud about in my corporate career, apart from moving up the ladder fairly quickly, it would also probably be my work-life balance.

For context, I went from work experience to heading up my own team in four years. Whilst I know some people may have done this quicker, I have gone at a pace that allows me to be proud of my quick achievements and career. I’ve also been incredibly fortunate throughout my time in corporate that I always had time to pursue things outside of work, whether that is a business with the online health and well-being brand Arbonne, learning Japanese, travelling, writing blogs, charity work etc. In one year I managed to take 13 holidays and city breaks abroad.

If you’re thinking, “Man, she’s lucky…”, you’re wrong.

Having a work-life balance isn’t luck, it takes skill. You need to work at it ironically. Before we start, let’s begin with some important truths about work-life balance.

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Work-Life Balance Mindset Focus Motivation Time Management Priorities
Work-life balance is a choice. You need to ask yourself what work-life balance really means to you.

Work-Life Balance Truth Bombs

1. Work-life balance is a choice. If you are staying late to look good in front of your boss, that is a choice. If I choose to stay up until 2am to work on my business, that is my choice.

2. Before you moan about your lack of work-life balance, ask yourself what it really means to you. A friend of mine once laughed at me talking positively about my work-life balance because she claimed I didn’t have a very good one. When I pointed out to her that for me it isn’t about coming home from work at 6pm and watching 4 hours of mind-numbing TV over dinner every day, but actually about doing a good job and progressing my career at the pace I wanted, YET still having time to do the things I want like learn Japanese, take up martial arts, doing Toastmasters etc, she quietly agreed that she would be bored and that isn’t her idea of work-life balance either.

3. Work-life balance isn’t about one extreme to the other. So the “life” part is not about resting on your bottom all day – that is laziness guys. Likewise, work shouldn’t equate to stress and dread – you know some people like what they do!

Having said that, I do appreciate so many of us are pushed to our limits at work and given more work that we can humanly handle in our standard working day, meaning we feel forced to work late. So this my essential guide for you to become more effective, set some boundaries and push back on your boss, so you can get the work-life balance you deserve!

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Time Management Busy People Well Being Mental Health Productivity Work-Life Balance
In order to achieve a perfect the work-life balance you need to learn to manage your time

Tips to Achieve the Work-Life Balance You Deserve

Tip 1: Manage your time

One of the contributors to not getting the work-life balance you need is not managing your time properly in the first place, whilst at work. I used to watch colleagues all the time tell me how much they had on, but then watch them walk around with no sense of urgency, attend useless meetings and spend ages on one task!

In order to fit everything in to your working day you need to be strict – actually, be ruthless – with your time. Don’t say yes to every meeting, learn to delegate your work to team members, and focus on one task at a time so you are being as efficient as possible.

I also used to predict how much time something should take me before I set off doing it, especially if my boss had delegated something down. I would outright but politely say “of course I can action that… how long do you want me to spend on it?”. Not only did this make them think about MY time, but it also allowed me to see what I would need to shift in my schedule to accommodate this new piece of work!

You got to work smart, not hard.

It is essential to learn how to prioritize tasks. A lot of time management gurus advocate putting the most urgent things you need to do at the top of your to-do lists for effective time management. I have always disagreed with this one. I have always liked American personal development author and businessman Stephen Covey’s school of thought that you should be doing the most important things first in your day. You shouldn’t be doing the most urgent, because if it is urgent, you have left it too late.

My blog article 5 Time management mistakes busy people make is an essential guide to the biggest mistakes busy people make when it comes to their time management and productivity!

Tip 2: Set work and personal boundaries and personas

A previous colleague of mine used her personal twitter to share our organisation’s work and messages. Whilst she is clearly happy with this, this is not for me and breaches my “keep work and personal life separate” policy.

Setting boundaries between your work and private online presence is a way of ensuring you maintain professionalism and effectively manage my work-life balance.

It is also beneficial for your company to know these are your boundaries to ensure there is no misunderstandings. For example, before any holiday, I told my team that I would in no way be checking work emails, but if they needed an immediate answer on something urgent or crisis struck, then could text me on my private number for help.

Tip 3: The world will not fall down without you at the reins

Let me be frank with you… the world doesn’t revolve around you. Sorry. Your lack of presence or action does not mean the place is going to fall into a black hole.

I have learnt this the hard way many times in the past, including trying to push through when I am sick, only to find that the report I nearly killed myself over got shelved. I wasn’t that critical to the company’s success… the report could have waited a couple of days.

Learn to accept that the company and perhaps even your SME can operate without you! Yes, you’re amazing but you’re not the only cog in the wheel. Especially when you have a good team around you, you don’t have to be in work mode 24/7 or work additional hours to your contract. Don’t be afraid to loosen the grip on the reins, because if you don’t, then you’re increasing your risk of burning out.

Tip 4: Say no

If you’re currently feeling bullied into working long hours or like you don’t have any options, I am going to be blunt with you. You do! You are choosing and creating your work-life balance, so if it isn’t working out for you, change it. Honestly, you do have the power to create the work-life balance you long for.

The best way is to learn the magic word, “no”.

Your boss will keep giving you more and more, because as the saying goes, if you want something done, give it to a busy person. They are not seeing you crack under the pressure so more and more will come your way.

Politely decline. The best way to do this is not an outright “no” but a softer version such as “not now”.

You’re not strictly declining, but just delaying it until you have the capacity (by the way, “capacity” is a great way to word it, much better than you would say “I don’t have time”). If whatever is being fielded your way is a must or urgent, then take it on…but ask what you can push to the side to accommodate and make it your bosses decision.

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Work-Life Balance Mindset Focus Time Management
Learn to be more efficient with your time at work, by working on focused blocks and taking brain breaks.

Tip 5: Don’t skip lunch break

Maybe I should have put this higher up in the list actually, cos missing lunch breaks is cardinal sin #1. Studies such as 5 Science-Backed Ways Taking a Break Boosts Our Productivity reported on the Huffington Post website show that breaks boost productivity, so it amazes me that companies don’t advocate taking them more. As Business News Daily2 reported, “If you want to boost your business’s productivity, try encouraging your employees to step away from their desks every now and then”.

Learn to be more efficient with your time at work, by working on focused blocks and taking brain breaks.

Tip 6: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good

If there is one thing that will always stay with me about my previous boss Amanda, is her saying “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”.

Like any perfectionist out there, I was a sucker for spending too much time on a task to get it 100%. Sometimes there is a need, but most times there isn’t. Remember this to help you work towards a better work-life balance. Yes, there are times you might need to stay late and give it your all, but the majority of the time you don’t. Do a good job of course but don’t over labour it.

The Law of Diminishing Returns tells us that there comes a point where putting more effort in does not mean getting equal ROI (return on investment) out so get out of the office on time and be happy with the good work you have done.

If you are finding your workload is too much, ask yourself is it because you are spending too much time on each thing trying to “perfect” it?

Tip 7: Speak to your boss

Okay, so I have deliberately left the scary one to last. If your workload is becoming impossible, repeat after me, YOU HAVE TO TALK TO YOUR BOSS! They’re not mind-readers and if you’re good at your job (which I am hoping you are) then your boss will give you more and more and more because all they see is you getting it done. Fact. You know the saying, “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”.

To stop this vicious cycle, you got to speak to them openly.

This doesn’t mean getting upset, crying or shouting and bursting into their office. Schedule in a meeting and go through what’s weighing you down but also offer your boss solutions – what work can be dropped, are their archaic processes hindering efficiency, could you do with some additional resource, what is bringing in the worst return on investment?

Work-Life Balance is a Choice

Whilst you can blame your boss, situation or circumstance, remember that work-life balance is a choice. Like anything worth having, it does take work, so you do have to make an effort to get the balance you want. Don’t beat yourself up either if you’re working on it but haven’t quite got there. Keep practising.

My blog article 5 Time management mistakes busy people make is an essential guide to the biggest mistakes busy people make when it comes to their time management and productivity! The article First Thing You Should Prioritise for Successful Time Management explores how your work-life balance can be improved by learning how to apply forward planning to prioritize your daily task list and be more organised.

Please share any tips or advice that you may have, as I would love to hear them!

New Online Time Management Self-Study Course 

The Online Self-Study Time Management Course  is an easy-to-do self-study course for time-poor professionals who are ready for quick-wins that’ll empower you to master your time management and unlock hours!

This is THE time management course for busy professionals that don’t have time to learn about time management! 

Alice Dartnell online time management course - Transform your time - self study

All modules are broken down into bite-sized content that is easy-to-digest, learn and implement which you can do at your own pace so it fits within your busy life!

This is the course for the person who want to feel organised and be productive and want the tools to make their time management actions work for them

You can find out more about the Online Self-Study Time Management Course  by clicking HERE.


Would You Like More Support With Your Time & Energy Management?

Let me empower you to transform your time and energy management!

Get your free copy of the mini-training – “From Procrastinator to Proactive” Mini-Masterclass” HERE.

You can also find out more and register your interest about future courses and programmes by sending me an email

Follow Me On Instagram and LinkedIn

Let me share my tips and other real life experiences to transform your time and energy management!

Join me on Instagram and LinkedIn to discover MORE!

What My Clients Are Saying 

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach London Oonagh English DipNT mNTOI - Life Coach and Nutritional Therapist

“I initially signed up with Alice to help me with my time management and productivity in my business and everyday life. Alice is a fantastic coach. She is supportive, kind. I love her honest, no bullshit approach. Since working with Alice I have discovered so many new ways of doing things. She has helped me uncover the root of some of my habitual tendencies and transform them. The amount of care and support she offers is priceless. I highly recommend working with her.”

Oonagh English DipNT mNTOI – Life Coach and Nutritional Therapist

You can find out more about my current services and and register your interest for future courses and programmes by sending me an email to:

My Collaboration book “Unstoppable: Female Entrepreneurs Living Fearlessly” is out NOW!

Alice Dartnell collaboration book, “Unstoppable: Female Entrepreneurs Living Fearlessly Lynda Sunshine West Author

My collaboration book, “Unstoppable: Female Entrepreneurs Living Fearlessly” was published in January 2024 a is already a BEST SELLER!!!

My chapter, titled “The Four Words That Changed My Life” shares my ‘unstoppable story’.

You know me, so expect rawness and honesty through my journey the last couple of years following that day in September 2020 that changed EVERYTHING!!!

Get your copy of my book “Unstoppable: Female Entrepreneurs Living Fearlessly”!

On sale in the UK for just 78p! To purchase your copy click HERE 

To purchase your copy in the USA for just 99 cents just  click HERE 

What Does it Take to Successfully Work From Home?

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation Working From Home Productivity

Have you ever wondered what does it take to successfully work from home? My latest book is a hands-on guide for everyone working at home. It will show you in easy to read tips how to work from home, whilst staying productive, healthy and sane.

In informative, easy to read chapters, you will learn how to set up your own dedicated workspace, select the right office equipment and tips for video calling and conferencing. You will also learn the importance of setting and maintaining boundaries inside the home, managing distractions, avoiding procrastination and learn how to establish a routine that suits your lifestyle.

With many people working from home for the first time, this book is a practical guide to show you how to work from home, whilst staying productive, healthy and sane.

On sale for just £2.42 / $2.99! To purchase your copy click the Amazon button below!

Don’t Forget To Follow Me On Instagram and LinkedIn

Join me on Instagram and LinkedIn to discover MORE and to create YOUR ‘Life by Design’!

Click Below For More Information!

This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.

For more information please see

Copyright © 2024 Alice Dartnell Limited




This blog is published  by Alice Dartnell Limited solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, health care or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this blog, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained herein. Every person and company are different, and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. Alice Dartnell or Alice Dartnell Limited is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in this blog. You should seek the services of a competent professional as appropriate. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Always consult your own General Practitioner if you’re in any way concerned about your health.