The Best of Both Worlds: 5 Tips for Balancing Work and Family
We all want to excel in our careers, but also be there for our families. As a career-driven mother, I feel the pull between my kids and my work on a daily basis. No matter your rank or role, balancing work with family life is a struggle.
October is officially Work and Family Month. Most people that work in the U.S. are parents. In fact, we make up 71.5% of the labor force. This month offers an opportunity for businesses to assess how they support their employees as family members. It’s also an opportunity for each of us to evaluate how we can improve the way we balance these two important roles.
The balancing act is not easy. Here are five tips to help you make it work:
1. Don’t try to be in two places at once
I know it’s hard. You’re sitting at dinner with your partner and you get a message from your boss. Even if it’ll just take a minute… Resist the urge. When you’re at home, be at home. Give your partner, kids, or pets your full attention. When you’re at work, be at work. Being present in each setting will alleviate the feeling of needing to be in both places at once. Keep them separate.
2. Schedule family time
At the beginning of each month, make set dates for activities with your partner or family members. Mark these dates on a calendar and put effort into planning them. Whether it’s a dinner date with your wife or a surfing lesson with your kids, making plans to look forward to throughout the month will ensure that your family members feel prioritized.
3. Communicate with your employer and team
You don’t need to bear the burden of this balancing act alone. Everyone has a home life and bringing up struggles with HR or your direct manager will prevent misunderstandings. If you know that one day a week you need to get to work early and leave early, fill your team in on that plan. That way they can support you and enable a schedule that allows you to get the most done in the time-frame that you have.
4. Use your tech for the good
Utilize the endless amount of apps to actually enhance your family life and decrease stress. Schedule a video chat with your partner when you have to stay late at the office. Stay updated on appointments so that you don’t end up missing something important. But also remember to turn off notifications when you get home. Try putting your phone on silent and away during dedicated family time.
Even those of us in high-tech know that sometimes you need to unplug.
5. Stick to your values
Don’t take your goals and core values for granted. Make sure that your life is aligned with who you want to be and how you want to be living. Sometimes we need to take a break and evaluate our priorities and wellbeing. The clearer you are about your values, the better equipped you’ll be to make decisions that bring you satisfaction both at work and at home.