Atomic Habits by James Clear has helped SO many people to get productive and hustle. Work life balance habits mean you get more done.

But what if you could use it to do the opposite?

What if you are overwhelmed and need to take things OFF your mental to do list instead?

In this blog post I am going to give you 5 easy ways to use James Clear’s Atomic Habits to SLOW DOWN, have better work life balance habits, and stop being overwhelmed by all the should do’s and have to’s.

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Desk Flatlay For Setting Work Life Balance Habits
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Why Work Life Balance Habits Matter

So I’m all about efficiency. I’m all about productivity.

But I am equally obsessed with designing my life in a way where I get to have slow mornings drinking coffee in the sunshine.

And this doesn’t just happen!

You have to make work life balance a HABIT. And that’s where we are going to hack Atomic Habits to reduce the overwhelm and take back control of our time off and self care.

All of these tips are about giving yourself more time in the day. It’s about reclaiming your rest and reducing mental clutter.

5 Easy Work Life Balance Habits

1) Brain Dump

Brain dumping is super effective for setting habits and mentally decluttering.

You have SO much hanging around in your brain, and you feel like you are behind because you seem to have SO much you
need to do,
haven’t done,
should do.

Brain dumping is literally taking everything in your head and writing it all down.


You can do this in the morning or in the evening, and then what I like to do is cross out all the things that aren’t a “today” problem.

This is a great habit to set for work life balance because we tend to overwork when we feel like we have too much to do before we rest.

Get it out of your head and you’ll see that it’s a lot more doable than you think.

2) Reset the Room

One of the best habits I heard in Atomic Habits is to Reset The Room.

Basically, when you go to bed, move to a different room, clear the surfaces, pick something off the floor, put away your dishes. Make a habit to give a quick scan.

This is a simple habit that gives you more time and space for rest because when you sit down your space is ready to enjoy already.

3) Hack systems, not goals

Goals can be a good way to get what you want in life. They give you a direction.

But often when we reach our goals we don’t notice or they aren’t as satisfying as we thought they would be (this is called destination fallacy).

Instead of saying “I will take more breaks/say no when I am at a certain point in my career” ask yourself: what systems do I need in place to get to that?

Examples of systems for better work life balance:

  • Turning off notifications for work on your phone
  • Waking up earlier to have slow mornings
  • Setting up an automatic response that tells people how long they need to wait for a response
  • Putting down projects or clients that drain you/burn you out
  • Checking in with your body when you are stressed
  • Taking breaks at work NO MATTER WHAT

In the words of James Clear: You get what you repeat.

Keep saying no to things you don’t want to do.

Keep prioritizing yourself.

Keep getting excited about things OUTSIDE of work.

Group of friends laughing because of work life balance habits
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4) Question what’s working

James Clear says that often we are so used to doing things the way we’ve always done them that we don’t stop to ask whether you should be doing it (you know, sorta like just because you can doesn’t mean you should).

So get a piece of paper and ask: What is no longer working for me? What do I HATE doing every single day?

  • Long commutes
  • Email notifications on your phone
  • Answering calls even though you’re done for the day
  • Working out straight after work
  • Doing cleaning when you should be getting someone else to help

You can use my free Energy Equation Exercise to figure out what is draining you and what lights you up so you know where to set boundaries with your work.

5) Know what you want your life to look like

I go through this with people on almost a daily basis. They say “oh I would LOVE to do that, but I can’t”

I would love to work less hours, I would love to work for myself, I would love to only work part time, I would love to say no to work, I would love to switch careers, but I can’t.

Actually, you can.

That’s the secret here. You actually CAN plan your days however you want. You can have slow mornings and never look at your emails after 5pm.

And it starts with setting little habits that support it.

If you want slow mornings, make a habit of getting up slightly earlier so you don’t have to rush.

If you want more time with your partner, make a habit of closing your laptop at exactly 5pm and having no notifications on your phone.

Make your work life balance an integral part of how you run your life. Make it the default!

What work life balance habits are you going to use?

Remember, this is your life.

Figure out how you want it to look, and then set the systems and habits that make it the default.