Finding Balance In Life: The Power Of 8 8 8 Rule

We all know the importance of time management when balancing work and personal life. However, how do we divide the whole 24 hours of a day for each aspect?

The easiest way to think about it is to equally divide it into 3 parts: 8 hours for work, 8 hours for family or personal time and the 8 hours left for relaxing. But is it as easy as the way we think, or is it hard to follow?

In this article, we provide all you need about the 8 8 8 rule to achieve balance so you have enough knowledge to adjust your lifestyle or habit. Let’s dive into the details!

1. What is the 8 8 8 Rule?

Have you ever felt like there just aren't enough hours in the day? It can be a challenge to juggle work, rest, family time, and personal activities, even if you work away from home with flexible time. Well, there's a simple guideline that can help create more balance - it's called the 8 8 8 rule.

The idea is to divide your day into three blocks of roughly 8 hours each: eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep and rest, and eight hours for fun personal time. Following this breakdown aims to ensure that the important parts of your life each get enough attention.

8 8 8 rule - CabinZero

To manage your time effectively, you need to allocate the day to different activities. Photo by Yevhenii on

Allocating eight hours for work is meant to keep you productive without getting burnt out. Eight hours of sleep at night meets what most adults need to feel refreshed. 

The final eight hours are used for leisure activities, such as spending time with loved ones, hobbies, exercise, or just relaxing. Non-work pursuits are vital for reducing stress and growing as a person.

Who created the 8-8-8 rule? Robert Owen, a Welsh industrialist and social reformer, is credited with the concept of 8-8-8 work-life balance. In the early 19th century, he advocated for an ideal daily structure with "eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, and eight hours rest."

Of course, real life isn't always so neatly scheduled. Most of us may have to spend around 2 hours before and after work doing chores, bathing, commuting, taking care of children, etc., which leaves about 6 hours or less for ourselves (not counting the 7-8 hours of sleep).

Don't stress if you can't stick to the 8-8-8 splits exactly. The idea is to roughly aim for eight hours in each area most days.

The balance might help you perform better at your job, stay happier and healthier, nurture relationships - plus feel generally more content. Give the 8-8-8 rule a try and see if it improves your days.

3. Benefits of Following the 8 8 8 Rule

Having some structure to your days can help you feel less stressed and organise time to do tasks. When you make time for all aspects of life, lots of good things start to happen.

1. You'll Feel Better Physically and Emotionally

Eight hours of sleep per day is the standard habit, and it is also the brain's requirement for getting refreshed. According to NINDS, most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Some think they can pay the “sleep debt” by catching up on sleep on weekends, but this is not enough. Getting solid sleep lets your brain recharge and gives you the energy to prepare for a new day. When you're not constantly exhausted, maintaining habits like exercise and healthy eating becomes easier. 

2. You'll Be More Productive at Work

If you just keep working without proper rest or relaxation, you can quickly become tired and stressed. This leads to decreased concentration, tardiness, and decreased productivity.

When we rest and sleep, the brain is very active, clearing waste products such as beta-amyloid plaques, generating new synaptic connections, and more. Thereby, our ability to concentrate and work will be improved.

In addition, resting also helps reduce stress and anxiety, creating a more positive and optimistic mood when returning to work. When we feel comfortable and relaxed, our creativity is also stimulated, helping us find new solutions and more creative approaches to work.

3. You'll Be More Flexible with Life's Ups and Downs

No one's schedule always goes perfectly as planned. But having a balanced routine to return to helps you roll with life's stresses better. The mix of different activities acts as a cushion, so stresses are less likely to completely wear you out.

The 8-8-8 rule provides a simple starting point, but you can tweak it to fit your situation. As long as you aim for roughly equal time splits, you can adjust based on what's happening that day. The goal is finding a rhythm that works for your life - not strict perfection. Overall, balance through changes is what matters.

3. Challenges With Precisely Following the 8 8 8 Rule

8 8 8 rule - CabinZero

Parents of young children often have limited personal time due to the child's need for constant care and attention. Photo by Fabio Principe -

Despite its benefits, the 8 8 8 rule can be difficult to achieve for many people due to some common obstacles. The main challenges are mainly due to the following reasons.

1. Workplace Expectations Are Demanding

Although an eight-hour workday is the norm, many jobs require longer hours. For example, doctors and nurses often have to be on duty at clinics to monitor patients, especially in emergency rooms, or hotel and restaurant staff often need to work overtime to meet customer needs.

2. Personal Responsibilities Fill Non-Work Hours

Even if you can limit your work hours, securing eight hours of leisure can be difficult due to other obligations. For example, if you have a family with pets or small children, taking care of them and spending quality time with them will also have to be a top priority. These require attention and dedication but also reduce your personal time.

In addition, household chores such as cooking, cleaning, sweeping the house and performing other daily tasks also take a lot of time. This becomes even more difficult when you need to travel between many places.

3. Flexible and Irregular Schedules

Life doesn't always fit neatly into 8-hour blocks. Work schedules might be longer or have odd hours, commutes can eat into leisure time, and unexpected events can throw everything off.

Freelancers, entrepreneurs, and those in creative professions often have fluctuating workloads and unconventional hours. Their work might not fit neatly into an 8-hour block or align with standard daytime schedules.

4. Adapting the 8-8-8 Rule for a Productive Workday

A person who is good at balancing their life is able to focus their attention and energy on their goals, take effective actions, and move forward in meaningful ways. For young people, this may be a top priority. So, let's find ways to optimise working results as much as possible.

1. Plan Your Day Ahead

8 8 8 rule - CabinZero

Writing down a to-do list every morning helps you create a well-structured task to follow. Photo byGoffkein -

This only takes about 10 minutes in the morning. Listing and following the tasks you need to do in this row will help you effectively organise your time for each task.

CabinZero’s Tip: You can completely break down tasks that take up to 6 hours a day. For example, if you need to fly to meet a client on Sunday, arrange small tasks such as packing appropriate clothing and documents on Friday or Saturday before. Breaking tasks into smaller parts will help you complete them faster.

Use time management strategies like the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking, or the Eisenhower Matrix to maximise your work hours. Efficient work means you're less likely to need to encroach on your personal or rest time.

2. Try Flexibility of Work Hours

Gone are the days of the traditional 9-to-5. Now, we have more flexibility in our own hands than ever. Identify your productivity peaks throughout the day. Are you an early riser, or does your creativity spike when the world quiets down at night? Tailor your work schedule to align with these peaks.

With the power of work-life integration, you don’t have to stick to 8 hours of continuous work. Instead, you can leave early to pick up your child from school, bring them to a soccer practice, and finish your work later in the day.

That might sound like much. But with the right time management app and tool, you can keep track of everything, all the while enjoying all benefits from the 888 work-life balance.

3. Learn To Say No

Setting clear boundaries is key to making disconnecting easier, especially with remote work. Communicate your work hours to colleagues and clients, mute notifications outside these hours, and have a dedicated workspace that signals to your brain that it’s time to focus.

The crux of setting boundaries lies in your ability to say "no." Saying "no" isn't about being uncooperative but about ensuring you can fully commit to your responsibilities and perform at your best. It's also about respecting your need for downtime and rest, integral components of the 8-8-8 rule.

4. Focus on Task Completion

The essence of the 8-hour work segment isn't to clock in time but to achieve meaningful progress. Transition your mindset from watching the clock to accomplishing set goals.

Break down your work objectives into daily tasks, prioritise them, and dedicate your focus to completing these tasks within your designated work hours. Moreover, instead of marathon work sessions that lead to diminishing returns, break your work into intervals of focused effort.

For instance, work intensely for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. These short sprints can enhance concentration and productivity for a more meaningful 8-hour work period.

5. The 8-8-8 Guide to a More Fulfilling Downtime

Don't just sit glued to the TV; connect and spend time doing enjoyable and meaningful activities instead. A simple walk with your mates or colleagues can significantly boost your overall well-being.

1. Plan for Adventure

Occasionally, use your downtime for adventure. This doesn’t always mean exotic trips; adventures can be local and simple, like exploring a new part of your city, trying a new restaurant, or attending a live event or workshop.

A weekend day trip is ideal for gaining more experience and exploring the world. But the benefits of travelling are much more than that. Discovering new lands and new people can also bring new inspiration for creativity or motivation for you to try to earn money to travel again.

If you want to integrate the gym with your schedule, check out the CabinZero gym and work bags to keep things simple. Staying healthy on the move is easy with CabinZero. Ample space accommodates healthy snacks, workout gear, and a water bottle, keeping you energised and ready to tackle whatever life throws your way.

2. Embrace the Great Outdoors

Nature has a unique way of refreshing the spirit. Whether it's a leisurely walk, a vigorous hike, or simply sitting in a park, time spent outdoors can significantly boost your mood and overall well-being. Make it a point to disconnect from digital devices during these moments to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty around you.

3. Cultivate Hobbies That Engage

Whether it's painting, hiking, coding, or cooking, hobbies that challenge and engage us can be incredibly fulfilling. Start by dedicating a small portion of your downtime to developing a new skill or hobby. The key is consistency and the joy of learning, not perfection.

4. Connect With People

From there, try to connect with your community. Allocate part of your leisure time to building and nurturing relationships. This could be family dinners, coffee with friends, or participating in community events. Or better yet, plan a trip to go together.

6. The 8-8-8 Approach To An Optimal Rest

8 8 8 rule - CabinZero

The power of 8 includes prioritising your sleep and rest. Photo by Maridav -

The 8-hour sleep target might differ slightly for some individuals. Aim for the amount of sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed and energised.

1. Create a Sleep-Inducing Routine And Environment

Establish a pre-sleep routine that signals to your body it’s time to wind down. This could include activities like reading, a light stretch, or meditation. Next, turn off all the lights, close the curtains, and prepare for a good night's sleep. Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet - a recipe for a good sleep.

If you often have trouble sleeping or insomnia, you can put some ASMR music with light rain in your ear (you can use a radio or CD) to help you relax and get you to sleep more easily.

Putting away your phone at least one hour before bedtime is crucial. Otherwise, we may default to mindless scrolling on social media and other sites that sap our energy for the next day (and days after).

2. Power Naps Are Your Friend

Getting a full 8 hours of sleep can be a challenge, especially if you have a busy schedule. That's where power naps come in handy. Sneak in a quick nap (20-30 minutes) during the day to recharge and keep your energy levels up. For instance, you can have some shut-eye during your flight or layover.

3. Incorporate Physical Activity into Your Day

Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep, but try not to exercise too close to bedtime. If you are too busy, especially during business trips, you can easily pencil in exercises that don’t require much space and time.

4. Consistency is key

Our bodies thrive on routine. Sticking to your sleep schedule and relaxation routine will help regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, which translates into deeper sleep, easier mornings, and more stable energy levels throughout the day.

5. Embrace the Value of Unstructured Time

Not every hour needs to be accounted for. Be open to changing your schedule if something interesting comes up, say a great flight deal to an Asian country or a tropical paradise. The benefit of the 8-8-8 rule is its simplicity and adaptability, so why not make full use of it?

You can also incorporate short mindfulness exercises during transitions between work, leisure, and sleep to stay present and grounded. Give yourself about 15-20 minutes for these.

8 8 8 rule - CabinZero


In modern life, time management is an essential skill that helps us maintain balance and success. A simple but effective rule to help divide time appropriately is the "8 8 8" rule. By allocating 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep and 8 hours for free time and personal interests, we can create a balanced schedule. 

How have you found balancing priorities while juggling responsibilities? Do you have any tricks that help you reclaim a sense of control? We would love to hear what works in real life, not just theories. And don’t forget to hit the share button so more people can learn of this great approach to better all three aspects of their life.

Ha Ngan

1 comment

  • Nalinda

    Very informative and interesting narrative.

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