We hear a lot about the importance of a work life balance. After all, what’s the point of earning that money if we spend all our waking hours working, never getting time to enjoy life? Unfortunately, the invention of laptops and smartphones means that many employees find themselves answering emails or phone calls at all times of the day. Even on weekends or other days when they are definitely supposed to be “off the clock.” The idea that you can leave your job behind when you head home for the day seems to be a relic of the distant past.
Luckily, there are still many jobs out there that provide a strong work life balance. Whether it’s work from home opportunities, flexible hours, or just not having to constantly answer text messages from your boss, consider the following list of 12 jobs. Most of them don’t even have any stringent education requirements (although a few of them do). But first…
What Makes a Good Work-Life Balance?
When it comes down to it, there are two main qualities that contribute to a good work life balance. They are flexibility and stress level. Flexibility means you can schedule your work around your life, rather than scheduling your life around your work. This allows you to enjoy life a little more, taking time to relax and spend quality time with family and friends. No one wants to be chained to a desk all the time. For example, I’m pretty happy with my career as a freelance writer. I think I have a pretty good work life balance. I essentially set my own hours and I get to work from home.
The day I wrote this very article, I woke up, made my coffee, and started on the main points. I then took a short break and kicked the soccer ball around with my daughter and helped my son with his homework. I came back to my laptop to write some more, before stopping again to run some errands in the afternoon. After the kids went to bed, I finished the article. When you add it all up, I still put in a solid day’s work. However, I was still able to make time for other important things throughout the day.
Keeping your stress level manageable is also important. And everyone reacts to stress differently. A high stress job can cause you to constantly be worried about work, even when you’re supposed to be enjoying life on your days off. One of the ways I keep my job stress free it to write as early as I can, not leaving assignments too close to the deadline.
By not getting stressed about deadlines or having to produce writing under pressure, I rarely feel stressed about my writing. That helps me enjoy the job much more. Sure, almost every job is going to have stressful elements. But if you can find one that doesn’t cause your blood pressure to spike on a daily basis, your work life balance will improve dramatically. Consider the following 12 career choices if you’re trying to find a batter balance in your own life.
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Audit Clerk
This job has a low stress level and above-average flexibility. In many cases, you might even be able to work from home. While some of these jobs are more intense during tax season or at the close of a fiscal year, there’s still a lot of flexibility in office hours and deadlines during the rest of the year.
One of my friends works in auditing for a major corporation. She can basically work this full-time job while being a full-time mom, shuttling three kids to all kinds of sports and extracurricular activities. It’s still a bit stressful for her, since she’s essentially doing two full-time jobs at once. But at least she’s also able to focus on parenting.
Landscaping and Groundskeeper
With a stress level that is low and flexibility that is above average, landscaping can be a good job to have. You do have to be careful while operating any heavy equipment, but you do get to work outside. Studies have shown that getting fresh air and sunshine while you work can be soothing and healthy.
For example, I hired someone to take care of the water fountains on my property. He’s a young guy in his twenties, making bank helping people control algae in their pools, fountains, and hot tubs. He really knows his stuff! However, I bet he spends more time golfing than he does working. Good for him!
Medical Lab Technicians
Ever considered becoming a lab technician? Not only are the hours good, but they are currently in high demand. A lab technician simply tests samples as they come in and reports the findings. Since everything is done within the lab (0r hospital), it’s quite easy to leave your work behind when you clock out for the day. It would likely violate health and safety (and privacy) laws if you even tried to take your work home!
This one requires a bit of extra education, of course. However, working in the medical field can be lucrative and personally rewarding. Although you may want to wait for this whole pandemic thing to die down a bit.
Being a massage therapist can provide a low stress level and great flexibility. In some cases, you can even set your own hours. That will allow you to provide service at times that are most convenient for you. My wife has a good friend who is a massage therapist. She has her own shop, so she only opens on days/times that she wants. Then she can schedule her clients in groups while she’s there, so she’s not stuck at the office 40 hours a week. (Her husband is also an acupuncturist, and they share the office space. It’s a pretty neat setup!)
Becoming a massage therapist does require proper education and certification in most states, though. Make sure you’re willing to devote the time and money required before you embark on a career of massage therapy.
This is another job with below average stress and above average flexibility. You just have to work in eye wear stores and help fit glasses. If you are into fashion, I bet it’s fun to help people look better by helping them try on different styles of eye wear. The best part about an being an Optician is that you won’t ever have to bring the work home. When you are out of the office, you are totally off. That’s amazing.
Again, this is a job that can allow you to set your own hours and derive satisfaction from helping people. You are also spending quality time with your clients, so this is great for those who are social.
Recreation and Fitness Worker
You can set your own schedule as a personal trainer or organizing recreational activities. The stress level isn’t that high while the flexibility is high. And because you are always working out, being fit and healthy is a major plus.
What makes marketing assistant fun isn’t so much the work because it can be stressful, but it’s the people that you often hang around with. Marketing is a lively bunch. This makes the day-to-day interactions fun and exciting and that in turn can relieve a lot of stress.
You might have to do more traveling during certain times of the year, but there is good flexibility the rest of the time. Most coaches are generally well respected as well, so you have that going for you. For those who enjoy helping others develop their skills, this can be a great career.
Once again, this is a job that you can do from home, whether you work for a company or work on a freelance basis. You wouldn’t think of programming as a low stress job, but how else do you explain the fact that many programmers do side projects in their own spare time?
One of my friends work at the hospital and she probably has the best relationship with her coworkers out of anybody I know. It helps that she’s really friendly, but it also speaks to the working environment in general. Being a nurse can be demanding, but there are also plenty of downtime for coworkers to build rapport. There are also few if any conflicts of interests among nurses so it’s much easier to develop a good relationship with coworkers. Lastly, when they are off, they are off. It’s easy to leave the job behind when you work in the medical field.
Many people who own websites like myself hire virtual assistants (VA) to help them with online tasks such as keeping an appointment schedule or maintaining the social media profiles. The hours for these VAs are pretty flexible and the stress level is generally low. As the name implies, everything is done remotely so you won’t ever need to sit in traffic and you can even get everything done in a coffee shop or anywhere you want in the world that has Internet access.
The Bottom Line
No job will ever achieve a perfect work life balance. As much as I love my work, there are times when I would rather be relaxing instead of writing. But I can’t complain. Having flexible hours and a relatively low stress career really helps. After I quit my day job, everyone around me noticed that I’m in a better mood and I look healthier. Some even said I became better looking!
You don’t have to wait for the perfect job to make a move. Any improvement is still an improvement. So, get at it and find that dream job. You deserve it!