The secret to finding that work/life balance
There’s no denying that we live life at a fast pace and that many people are part of a very driven society, particularly when it comes to work. Because we’re working so hard to be productive, it’s becoming more and more of a challenge to fulfil both our roles at home and at work satisfactorily.
This is often a source of great stress and strain as we try and navigate our way through the conflict that seems to occur naturally between our work lives and our private lives. When it comes to finding that ideal work/life balance, there is no single formula that works for everyone as each person integrates the various aspects of their live differently - you have to find what works for you and your family. In your quest to do this, we’re sharing some strategies that might be useful.
In order to get closer to finding that work/life balance, it can help to have a conversation with your significant other and your children. Use this as an opportunity to open up to one another and share perceptions as well as expectations with regards to time spent at work and with the family. Being aware of these things will allow you to pinpoint the main issues and find solutions for them. Having this kind of discussion can also encourage more understanding from both sides: you can better grasp how your family feels about your relationship with work, whilst they can very often better understand what you work responsibilities are.
Put boundaries in place
Boundaries are often put into place as a means of protection and the same is true when it comes to work/life balance. You need to determine for yourself what you consider to be acceptable actions or not, because once you do that, you’ll be better equipped to make the right decisions when it comes to work vs life. Having defined limitations that you stick to can help you say no more easily when need be but most importantly, the boundaries also make it easier for you to tell when something you do is not in favour of one aspect of your life. Structure is needed when it comes to the work/life balance and that is exactly what clear boundaries will provide.
Be more flexible and learn to accept
We plan as much as we can for things to come but sometimes life just throws you a curveball and those plans have to change. In these instances, the key is to be flexible. Things can change in an instant and so it’s important to be able to bend with the change - being adaptable will make finding that balance somewhat easier. More than that, it’s beneficial for you to let go of the guilt and learn to accept: accept that sometimes imbalance is unavoidable and that one part of your life will be prioritised over the other. If you have an ill child at home, then you need to acknowledge that you may just have to miss that work event, and on the flip-side, if you have a looming work deadline, then that means having to miss a few dinners at home until it’s met. Remember not to be so hard on yourself.
Grant yourself some “me time”
Leading on from the previous point, it’s recommended that you find time for yourself on a regular basis. This will allow you to relax, regroup and relieve some stress. Taking time off can end up benefitting you as well as everyone around you, in that when you feel refreshed, chances are you’ll perform better at work and have more energy and focus when spending time with those you love. With a clearer head you’re likely to find that work/life balance much more easily.
Allocate time to be spent with your family
Just as we have schedules and calendars in our work lives so that things run more smoothly, so too should we be blocking out time to spend with family and friends. When it comes to those plans, it’s also important that you give your loved ones your full attention and that you’re present – the last thing your kids or spouse will appreciate is if you’re running off every few minutes to answer phone calls and send emails. When you set aside quality time to be spent with your family it’s vital that you honour your commitment and make it count in the ways they’ll value the most.
Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to finding that work/life balance and there will be times when it simply doesn’t seem possible. At the end of the day, we can only do the best we can. Work and life will always be in competition with one another, but if there one thing you always remind yourself, it should be that whilst working hard is important, it shouldn’t necessarily come at the cost of the things that matter the most: and that’s family.
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