Work and family life balance is something we all should strive to achieve.
It’s the end of February, the month of love! Although many of you may be terribly busy at work or maintaining your business if self-employed, are you remembering to love your family?
Now I know everyone loves their family. But are you making time for your family life? It is important.
Use These Tips to Help Balance Your Work and Family Life
I’m not suggesting you slow down or become a slacker, but I want to give you 5 simple ways to ensure that you are productive, but also fostering your important relationships.
Keep Your Work Life and Your Family Life Separate
If you work from home, keep your business behind your office door. This is about choosing your priorities. When you’re at work, work is important, but when you’re at home, the family is key! There is no way to strike the perfect balance unless you recognize that work and family are not synonymous – they are and should be, two separate parts of your life. Even if you have the type of job that requires more time, everyone needs to unplug at times. When you work from home, it is very easy to let it take over your whole life. It is important that you create boundaries.
Here’s a tip: Don’t sync your work email to your personal cell phone!
Leave Work at the Door
When you punch out, that job isn’t your problem until the next time you punch in! Once you pull in the driveway or step out of your office, your family is your priority now. It is important to share your work achievements and experiences with your family, but you must also know when to stop talking shop. It is easy to let thoughts of work consume all your time. Your time at home is your time to recuperate. What better way to do that than to have a family game night?
Don’t use your personal or vacation time to sit around and do nothing! Most importantly, don’t use those days to catch up on work. Don’t let those vacation days lapse. According to CNBC, in 2018, US workers forfeited 200 million vacation days. This should not be happening!
We all know that money is an issue but it is a renewable resource. What you can’t get back are memories and experiences that didn’t happen! Plan vacations and take them. Even if it means going somewhere local. Don’t lose vacation time.
Here’s a tip: Let the family help plan those vacations. Planning turns into quality time and they all will have a vested interest and look forward to the vacation.
Communication is Key
Why should your coworkers get to hear your voice more than your spouse? We often forget that relationships don’t maintain themselves. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching a movie tonight, eat a meal together with the TV off. This will give you the chance to at least get a few words in before it’s back to bed and up for work again. If it is been so long since you have had a conversation with each other that you don’t know where to start, Google some conversation starters to give you ideas.
Remember, communication can be nonverbal – pick up some flowers on your way home or make it a point to kiss your family goodnight. Read the kids a story, put a note in their lunchbox, schedule time to just be together. Small actions can sometimes speak louder than words.
Know There Is Not a Perfect Balance
Nothing in this world is cut-and-dry or black and white. There will be times when you have to work late in your office or grab some overtime on a weekend. The best thing you can do is make up for that time later. Treat this less like a balanced scale and more like a seesaw. Just make sure that each side gets equal attention. If you worked last weekend, plan a family trip this weekend. If a trip isn’t realistic, do something together at home! Need some ideas? Cook a meal together, bake cookies, put a puzzle together, have a family game night, exercise together, go for a bike ride, or plan your next vacation.
Here’s a tip: When you know things are going to get crazy at work, talk to your family in advance. Let them know you might not be as available but the following week you will plan something together. Usually knowing what to expect helps them accept that you will be working extra.
Everyone’s work experience is different, but we all share the basic human need for relatedness and connection to others. While perfect work and family balance might not be possible, be sure each is getting your attention.