Today’s “always-on” culture coupled with sluggish wage increases and the rising cost of living has made it difficult for workers to achieve a healthy work and family life balance. It would be easy to say that you should just keep your personal and professional lives separate but this might not be possible so instead, learn to be flexible when necessary and find ways to balance these aspects of your daily life. A healthy work and family life balance will allow you to achieve your career goals without sacrificing time with your family.
1. Create a Family Calendar
Juggling your work obligations with your kids’ soccer practice sessions, piano lessons, dentist appointments and PTA meetings can be challenging and stressful. A family calendar is a simple way to help you and your family figure out your schedules together. You can mark these events on a calendar at home or use a shared Google calendar.
A shared calendar is particularly effective if you have several kids as you can input recurring events for weekly sports practice sessions and use color codes to keep track of everyone’s schedules. Calendar and productivity apps can be a lifesaver for parents these days as they help you and your family become organized and tackle trouble spots easily and efficiently.
2. Build an Effective Team at Work
A lot of managers feel stressed and overworked as they put in several hours of overtime on a regular basis in order to meet deadlines. In most cases, this is because of inadequate delegation skills where they take a lot of the extra tasks themselves instead of delegating them to their team. Don’t take on additional tasks because it’s easier to do it yourself as this will increase your burden as well as stifle the growth of your team.
3. Commit to Screen-Free Family Meals
Modern life is hectic for parents and kids alike and it can be tough to stay connected. Family meals offer the perfect occasion for everyone to relax, catch up with each other and spend quality time together. Commit to screen-free family meals where all electronic devices are put on silent mode and kept away as this encourages healthy communication during your meals.
Several studies show that watching TV during dinner is negatively associated with dietary healthfulness and emotional atmosphere. If it’s not possible to stick to daily screen-free meals, try to include at least a few screen-free meals every week.
4. Find Time for Family Fun
A recent poll found that 80% of people continue working once they get home from work in order to complete unfinished work or meet tight deadlines. Bringing work home might be unavoidable but you can still find ways to manage your work and still find time for family fun.
For instance, instead of ruining your weekend completing projects, you can set aside time each day when you get home to help you stay on top of deadlines which will leave your weekends free for family outings. You can plan activities based on your kids’ interests to give your family adventures and memories that will be cherished for life.
5. Take Time for Yourself
Most of us focus on finding a balance between our work and family life without considering our own needs. You need time to recharge so find ways to enjoy a little alone time on a regular basis. Indulge in a short meditation session before going to bed and/or wake up early on weekends for a leisurely stroll. Self-care helps to lower stress levels and become a calmer and healthier parent. It also teaches your children the importance of self-care which will help them make healthier choices as they grow up.
A work and family life balance is not a one-time endeavor and you will need to consciously make an effort to maintain this balance. According to the experts at "What To Expect", simple things like a surprise visit to your child’s daycare will allow both of you to enjoy some unexpected time together.
You can also plan a surprise trip to a family farm where your kids can interact with farm animals, go on pony rides and enjoy the true farm experience. Brainstorm with your partner to come up with fun ideas and new experiences that all of you can enjoy as a family. Once your kids are older, you can encourage them to come up with suggestions for family activities as this will improve their self-confidence.