10 Ways to Balance Work and Family. There are no “right” or “wrong” choices in balancing work, social life, and family. Your choices will change as your circumstances change. Some are parenting as a couple where one partner may stay home while the other goes to work. You may be a parent managing on your own (or sharing parenting with your ex). This can make your choices more limited, and you’ll have less support in making those choices.
Establish Your Core Values
No one can have it all – accept that fact. Seriously consider the things that are most important to you and let them be your guide. Coach Tony Dungy, a former coach in the National Football League, often speaks about a man’s core values. In his book Uncommon, Coach Dungy refers to this as “finding our landmarks.” When you get lost or confused, those landmarks (core values) will guide you back safely to where you belong.
Involve Your Family in the Process
You do not have to be the only one to make all the plans, decisions, and solve all the family problems. Make it a point to regularly discuss family issues with your partner and children to gather their perceptions, opinions, ideas, and even objections. This will give your children an understanding of your obligations and responsibilities. It will also help them learn coping skills and problem-solving by watching you, their first role-model.
Create Limits and Boundaries Between Family and Work
It’s important that we create boundaries of protection between your work and family. This means a person shouldn’t conduct business during family time, and they shouldn’t allow family to distract from work. With clear boundaries, it will be easier for you to tell when your life is out of balance.
Develop and Stick to a Schedule
Decide what hours you will work, what hours you will have for yourself, and family hours. Try to stick to the schedule. Use the latest technology for time management tools to create to-do lists. Day planners are especially useful to plan your day, prioritize your tasks, and keep you on track. Planning, preparation, and organization go a long way. If possible, delegate tasks to other family or friends who can pitch in.
Limit Distractions and Time Wasters
Be disciplined and set time limits when checking email or making phone calls. These are things you can do when the kids are sleeping. Reduce TV watching to once a week to maximize time with your partner during the evening. Try to avoid multitasking when spending time with your children. At your workplace, try to avoid wasting time. Of course, you want to have a rapport with coworkers, but casual internet surfing, gossiping, and long lunches are distractions that will make you less productive.
Spend Time with Your Partner
Remember to nurture your relationship with your partner, who will often be the number one person by your side. Start by having weekly or monthly date nights to get closer, feel rejuvenated, and enjoy each other’s company. When you are busy with work, home, and children, your partner is the first to feel neglected. Fostering your relationship will bring back some excitement to the marriage or partnership and help you to “check in” with each other on your well-being.
Create Time for Yourself
By managing time wisely, you can fit in valuable “me” time. A refreshing break will help you recharge while taking care of personal needs. Because your time is divided between home and career, make sure to manage your energy levels, have regular health checkups, eat well and get quality sleep. You can’t be an effective spouse or parent if you’re cranky, so take time to care for yourself to feel relaxed.
It Takes a Village
Take advantage of carpooling with other parents to get your children to and from sporting events and other extracurricular activities. Living near family is also a great strategy. Grandparents, siblings and other family members can make babysitting easier. They may also be able to help with errands, housework, and ordinary repairs. Delegate household chores to your children. It teaches them responsibility, work ethic, and builds pride in their home and family.
Have a “Flex” Day at Work
Not everyone can have flexible work hours. A rigid nine-to-five work schedule can make it difficult to juggle work and family demands. Also, finding employment in “family friendly” businesses isn’t always an option. Try to schedule a “flex” day. If you get called away for a kid emergency on Tuesday, Thursday can be your flex day, meaning anything that didn’t happen on Tuesday can be done then.
Communicate with Your Employer
Open communication is the key to good working relationships. Before talking to your employer or HR about a flexible work schedule, construct a written plan detailing what you need. Also, research whether other employees have flexible work arrangements and use this information to your advantage. This information will help tailor your proposal to the terms your employer has already embraced with your coworkers.