We live in a fast-paced, high-stress world where work and home life have blended and an increase in our digital lives and access to technology means that we are on the move and connected now more than ever. However, creating a balanced dichotomy between your work life and your family life is absolutely critical to emotional and personal success, as well as the success of your family, spouse, and children.
This can be easier said than done. Competition is fierce, and it’s easy to feel like if you don’t take that phone call at 8 P.M. or answer that email right away, even though dinner is on the table, you might lose a shot at promotion or financial success that you might otherwise have achieved. In truth, our happiness at home is key to happiness and success at work, so let’s take aim at some of the best tips for busy parents looking to balance these two important aspects of life properly.
Set boundaries and approach workplace flexibility with confidence
Balancing a strong work and family life is a conscious choice, one that must be strategized, planned out, and practiced carefully. When done right, a healthy balance between both worlds will lead you to greater happiness, relaxation, and confidence, which will translate into a stronger performance at work.
First, you must know your value. It’s not easy to find good, dedicated workers, so if you present yourself appropriately and confidently, you will be able to negotiate more flexible workplace routines which will allow you to have more family time.
Working from home a few days a week has become more common, which is a great way to get closer to your family. If this isn’t possible, then at least be sure to clarify boundaries with your boss, such as “no work phone calls after 6 P.M.”, or “I will not answer work emails after I have left the office.”
When setting these boundaries, approach the persuasive effort with friendliness and a smile, and attempt to utilize a shared ethical and moral commitment with your boss. Everyone loves their family and will understand what you’re getting at, you just have to approach it in an effective, persuasive, and non-confrontational manner.
Balance priorities with an established routine
A helpful way to start fitting your routine into a more family-oriented schedule is to write it out day by day for a week. Take a look at what you’re spending your time on, and consider if certain time blocks can be moved around to make more room for family.
Try to consciously make time in your routine to spend with your family. Meal times are a great way to establish some “rocks” in your routine that will endure day after day. Be creative - if you’re on the road you can plan a picnic, and even the early morning hours before school present an opportunity for bonding and family time.
Turn off the technology
It may seem obvious, but many people have a surprisingly hard time with this one and it may be where you get pushback from kids, especially teenagers. Average daily screen time for teenagers is up to a stunning 8 hours per day, and this is only increasing and spreading to younger and younger ages every year.
In fact, smartphones, social media, and other technology could be an invisible culprit behind feeling like your family life is not prioritized enough. Spending this much time in front of a screen is not conducive to emotional and mental health, and as a parent, it’s your responsibility to set an example. So, set periods where the family is together with no technology, even if it’s painful or awkward at first.
Self-care is critical
While that last point may have some parents thinking about their teenagers with concern, it’s always important to remember the oxygen mask rule on planes. Namely, you can’t help your children unless you help yourself first. You must consciously choose to engage in self-care routines, however this may look for you.
Part of self-care is living in the moment. This may be a drink you enjoy like coffee, meditation, prayer, yoga, exercise, playing a musical instrument, painting, or anything else that helps you relax and return to your rightful place as the chief of your own body. Take charge of your mental health and consciously choose to partake in activities that bring you peace of mind, help you live in the moment, and bring you closer to a sense of your spiritual highest self.
Always remember, finding a work-life balance is never a “one and done” process. Rather, it is a fluid process that requires updated and different formulations to achieve success.
Allowing room for flexibility will help everyone in the family fit together more cohesively and lead to a more unified and satisfied place. The process is never complete, so take each day at a time and remember to consciously choose to strike the balance you need.
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