How to balance work and family life:
Work and family are at the heart of our daily lives. Trying to reconcile ever-increasing roles on a family and professional level is a source of stress for many of us, in particular, because it causes tensions and indirect effects. Tensions arise when you cannot fulfill your role properly. Indirect effects arise when your work situation and relationships have an impact on the family side of your life. Finding a good balance between work and family life is not easy, but the rewards are worth the effort to seek it out.
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Determine your values to balance work and family life
Choose your values for yourself and your family
A value is a principle, a standard, or a quality that is considered worthwhile or desired. Values guide our actions and structure our lives.
- Areas where values are strong often include household maintenance, meals to prepare and share, child care, relationships between parents, with their children, education, money, politics, religion, etc.
- Defining your values is the key to managing the demands of work and family. They tell you what is important in your life and what matters. Too often, we don’t ask ourselves enough about what our values are until a problem arises.
Most of us have a general sense of our values, but it’s often vague. Many remain unconscious. These values, of which we are not always aware, often help to send us stress away. This stress can be understood and apprehended once we agree with our values.
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Consider the values that clash
For example, you think you need to be at work very early, but also that the kitchen needs to be spotless before you go. How do you do? This type of conflict is stressful and can impact you until you reconsider and think about how to make these two values interact.
- Modify or prioritize your values may be an idea to prevent them from clashing. What is the most important? Arrive early for work or leave after your home is spotless? Decide and act accordingly .
Establish goals and expectations to balance work and family life
They are important and allow us to decide how to spend our time.
- The goals can also be “to have your business at 40” or “to finish my studies before starting a family. Our core values shape our goals and inspire us to achieve them. The values underlying these two goals have a high regard for initiative, achievement, and education.
Distinguish between concrete goals and more abstract ones
Some objectives are specific and concrete, such as the examples cited above. Others may be more general, dealing with relationships and your well-being and your place on earth. For example, you can aspire to maintain strong friendships, educate your children to become enlightened and responsible, or cultivate a deep spirituality of yourself.
Rank your goals
To avoid tension, you can choose to prioritize your goals, drop others, or change them as needed. Think about what matters most to you when ranking your goals.
Consider social and individual expectations, perceptions, attitudes
Everyone has their idea of how things “should” be done and how people “should” behave in certain situations. Often these expectations, perceptions, and attitudes come from a mixture of our values and socially accepted norms.
- Identifying these “supposed” is more complicated than finding your own goals, as the origin is often below the surface. However, holding onto expectations and attitudes that are not right for us can generate a lot of stress and anxiety. Many of us wish to “have it all,” to be “somebody’s everything,” and be “perfect” in every area of our life. By trying to achieve these unrealistic goals, we burn ourselves out and we find ourselves no longer able to fulfill any role in our life. Rather than getting to this point, stop and think about your expectations and the attitudes you adopt and adjust them according to your needs .
Be flexible and malleable
Be gentle with yourself when you miss or forget to do something. In other situations, accept the fact that contingencies arise that will change your goals. Negotiate with your spouse, coworkers, and boss based on what you need.
- Be open to change. Do not be too comfortable, because as soon as everything seems to be under control, it can change suddenly !
Manage time and set priorities to balance work and family life
Prioritizing is essential in time management. Juggling between work, family, and finding time for friends, but also yourself is not easy. Even if we use our time efficiently, it is not easy. In other words, we can do the right things, but that is not what we should be doing. Often, we do not anticipate the times that allow us to accomplish these abstract goals. It is about prioritizing and deciding what is most important, in the short, medium, and long term.
- Once you’ve decided what is most important to you, focus on those goals first. Don’t lose sight of others, but focus on those who need your immediate attention.
- You might also remember to leave work at the office …
Evaluate your goals and your available time
Ask yourself what you need to do to reach the goal set at a given time.
- Set a benchmark.
They determine how you use time and space and allow you to manage and feel your emotions. Limits reflect the extent of your responsibilities, your power, and your office. They also tell others what you are ready to do and agree to.
- Be prepared to say “no”. Remember that your prerogative is to be prepared to say no when you are pressed to take on new responsibilities. It is the key to balancing work and family life. For example, if your boss asks you to stay later when you have promised your child to participate in an activity taking place at school, you can say that you are already engaged elsewhere and find an alternative solution that allows you to keep your promise .
- Set limits on your time. Break down the daily tasks you have to accomplish in stages. How much time are you willing to spend on each of them?
Organize and communicate effectively to balance work and family life
Get organized daily
Plan daily tasks and a structured plan each day rather than reacting to what arises. Plan and anticipate your needs.
- It is good to have a plan B in case of an emergency and to be prepared for any eventuality.
- Create a support plan that you can tap into. Connect with your friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, and professionals. Be prepared to ask for help when needed.
Take breaks from your daily routine
It is good to have other activities outside of work to make your days balanced, enjoyable, and full.
- Develop healthy habits, such as diet, physical activity, meditation, and other forms of calming time . You will find gym classes during the lunch break and the prices may be more interesting at these times.
Block times on your calendar for family and friends
You do it for your meetings at work, why not do it for your family too? Planning this family time will make it more difficult to cancel at the last minute. Treat your family members as if they were the most important people in the world and do not miss under any circumstances “these appointments” with them .
- Eat meals with your family. Studies show that meals are taken together as a family that contributes to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of all its members. Families who eat their meals together are less prone to use illegal substances, early pregnancy, and depression. They also have high self-esteem . Eating together promotes bonds between all. It is one of the most enjoyable times of the day for children and parents .
- Take time for the little moments in life and the bigger ones. Take time to celebrate milestones, accomplishments, degrees, birthdays, and vacations together. Even the smallest moments (your child has won their rugby tournament) punctuated with a small gift make everyone feel special.
Treat yourself to relaxing evenings.
- Do something simple with your spouse or family. It doesn’t have to be a special event, just something that allows you to be together, like watering the garden, tending it, going for a walk, a walk, etc. As long as you are relaxed and attentive, everyone will feel that they are getting the attention they need.
- Take advantage of the bedtime routine if you have children, including bath time, reading time, and going with them to bed. Spending these moments with them makes them feel that you are available to them .
- Use the rest of the evening to talk about your day with your partner. Think of it as a debriefing session. Ask your spouse how their day was, tell yours, or just listen. The daily life is as important as the great moments to keep the relationship healthy, lasting with mutual benefits.
Stop wasting unnecessary time
We waste a lot of time watching TV, the internet, video games, etc. Try to cut down on those unnecessary distractions that don’t add value to your life.
- Schedule specific times for activities related to the web, television, or video games. Choose what you want to do and for how long. For example, if your favorite TV show is on Thursday night, watch TV then, but do something else before the show starts. Watching TV is a time-bound activity. If you have any doubts, ask yourself “what is most important in my life?” .
Talk to your family and friends about your workload
Ask them how they feel about the balance you are trying to find between work and family life. By keeping communication open, you avoid the resentment your actions might provoke.
- Explain to your family and friends why you can’t always do what they expect of you (for example, if you missed a show at school because of your job). Explaining the situation openly can help others understand and empathize .
Reconsider what controlling means
Often, we think we have better control over things if we do them ourselves. However, this prevents us from achieving our own goals. We are not extraordinary beings after all.
Delegate work to fulfill priority needs and wishes
Although many of us do not want to delegate domestic or professional tasks for fear of losing control, we gain by distributing the work. Thus, we are not overwhelmed and better able to succeed in important tasks. Delegating is not easy, as it requires trusting others about things that mean something important to us. However, it is also one of the keys to finding a balance between work and family life.
- For example, you can ask the babysitter to start preparing dinner before arriving home or to do some cleaning. This relieves you slightly of your household responsibilities.
Find ideas to make your life easier when possible and under certain circumstances.
- For example, if you’re tired of running errands every week, try shopping online. You choose online and you are delivered to your home. A few extra euros are worth the time saved, depending on your situation.
- Look around your area for things that could help you save time, such as cleaning companies that pick up your laundry in the morning and bring it back to you, a housekeeper, etc.
Free yourself from guilt
Forget the feeling of guilt that follows you all day. Many people feel guilty about being at work rather than at home. The opposite is also true. This is an equal sum game.
- Accept the idea that having everything or doing everything is a myth. You do what you can, given your circumstances and your limitations and that is most important. Rather than feeling guilty all the time, focus your energy on doing the best you can every day, in all your roles and in the time allotted to you.
Relax. Build relaxation and downtime into your schedule.
- Do something that relaxes you as an individual. Physical activity, a long walk, listening to music, reading, cooking, or a yoga class. Take breaks for yourself. It is necessary for your well-being and it will help you deal with the stress of your daily life.
- Meditation can help you find a good mental balance.
- Once a week, treat yourself to a special evening for yourself and your family. Watch a movie, game, or outing. Everyone is caught up in their routines and busy schedules and it is a good idea to have one night a week where everything stops and the family comes together.
Avoid negative people in your life
Surround yourself with stimulating people who send you back a feeling of being positive, accomplished, and established, and avoid those who complain, grumble, or have a negative attitude.
- To find which areas of your life are not in balance, try the following exercise. Draw a large circle that you divide into 8 or 10 parts. Name each of the parts that matter to you (friends, family, health, work, leisure, money, well-being, romance, etc.) Estimate your satisfaction with each of these parts. Imagine the outer edges of the circle as totally satisfactory and the core of the circle as totally unsatisfactory. In each part, place a lozenge to indicate your satisfaction (for example, if you are moderately satisfied, place the lozenge in the middle between the center and the outer edge). Connect the pads. If you had to roll the circle, what would it be like? Smooth or bumpy? To find the balance (and a smooth rolling of the circle).