Balancing work and family can be difficult. In a survey of working parents, 56% cited difficulty balancing work and family responsibilities. In fact, 60% of mothers and 52% of fathers report that it is hard. There are times when you have to choose one over the other, and that can be tough.
You may feel like you are letting someone down if you do not spend enough time at work. Most people are worried when they have to ask for time off work to deal with family issues. Apprehensive they would end up losing their jobs or be skipped for a job promotion.
However, it does not have to be that way; many companies after the COVID pandemic have flexible working solutions that fit. Balancing work and family is becoming a little easier; resolutions exist which make it possible for work, you and your family. It takes a little effort, but it is possible. Here are some thoughts on balancing work and family after existing in this collaborative world.
Effectively balancing work and family:
It’s essential to define your work-life boundaries and stick to them. If you’re working too much, it’s probably because you don’t set limits for yourself. There are blurred boundaries with work playing an active role at home on weekends or vacations. Not being able to switch off by sneaking in the odd email checking whilst you should be enjoying the company of your family.
Setting limits on how much time you allow yourself to be “on-call” at work can make a big difference in balancing work and family life. You should avoid working during off-hours, such as evenings and weekends (or at least try not doing any high-priority tasks).
Even if someone needs something urgently, let them know they’ll have more options if they wait until regular business hours to get it. Then, you can decide which tasks are most important for that moment; a healthy balance needs to be established.
Get organised to help with balancing work and family life
You can’t do everything at once. The key to managing your time and balancing work and family effectively is to make decisions about what’s essential and then stick to them.
If you don’t already have one, create a schedule for yourself that includes all of the things you need to get done in a typical week. I have found that daily routines are effective. Past and present notable individuals use this to produce their best work.
Using schedules as your guide lets you know when things are due and how much time each task requires. If necessary, break large tasks into smaller bite-sizes so that they fit into your schedule more quickly (and remember keeping track of deadlines can help ensure those tasks get completed on time).
When creating a schedule, don’t forget about other important aspects of life outside of work: make sure there is time for family activities such as dinner together or playing games with the kids—these moments are just as crucial as any office task or money!
Speak up for yourself:-
Assertiveness is an integral part of balancing work and family. But unfortunately, it’s also a skill that most people don’t learn until later in life. Assertive communication involves being honest about your needs and wants without being accusatory or aggressive towards others.
It may be tempting to avoid conflict by saying yes to everything, but this can cause resentment towards your job and your family and stress for yourself. I am highly cranky and often snap on the kids when I feel workload spirits have taken hold of me. Once stress loading subsides, and I enter reflection mode, I see clearly all my undesirable actions towards my family and those closest to me.
Avoiding conflict doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening; instead, the conflicts are being suppressed until they finally explode into something more than a simple issue of power dynamics between two people with differing needs and priorities.
To be assertive at work:
- Be clear on your priorities (your work/career path versus time with family). This will help everyone involved understand where each party stands within these vastly different worlds.
- Be explicit about how much time each activity takes in your schedule; this allows others to know when to expect updates regarding upcoming deadlines.
- Be frank about why certain items aren’t possible under certain circumstances. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with saying no! But, on the other hand, there is no point in being overly apologetic unless warranted.
Planning ahead will help you with balancing work and family demands
Planning is the key to successfully finding a balance between your work and home life. By planning, you can anticipate events and ensure you have enough time to complete them.
Planning for the long term
To maintain the equilibrium between work and family for the long term, you should create a calendar. So the first thing you should do when it comes to planning for the long term is to create a calendar that can keep track of everything going on in your life at any given moment.
Having this information in front of you will make it easier for you to plan out what needs to be done and the time availability. You can avoid stress and adjust if something unexpected occurs (like an emergency).
Unplug from work once you get home
Once you get home, unplug. Leave your work phone (if personal phone, avoid work-related calls or messages) out of sight. If you need to take calls or check in on work, ensure it is short, sweet and does not become a habit.
Keep connected with friends and family outside of work as much as possible. The more connected you are with people who aren’t involved in your career or business pursuits, the better off everyone is!
If surplus time remains at the end of the day, it can be used for anything that tops your energy tanks!
Put your family first
When you have a family, you need to put your family first. This means making time for them, prioritising them overwork and other commitments, and not neglecting them. Getting wrapped up in work and forgetting about your loved ones at home is easy. But remember: if you don’t make time for them, they may grow up not knowing who their dad or mom is! Family is the buzzword when it comes to spending time together.
When you’re at home, it’s essential to be present!
Make time for yourself
It’s easy for you to get caught up in work, but you must also make time for yourself. You should schedule blocks of time to relax and unwind at home. Do something that you love, whether it be exercising or spending time with friends and family members. Whatever you choose, make sure that it brings you joy!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We are all human, and none of us is perfect. You can’t do everything yourself, so don’t try to. Instead, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it—from your partner or kids if they can help out, from other family members, and even from friends who know what it’s like to juggle work and family life. We all need a helping hand sometimes!
If you set limits on your work, doing other things in life becomes more manageable.
These checkpoints can help you get a handle on balancing work and family.
- Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. If you’re working too much, try to stop at a reasonable hour so that you have time for other things in life.
- Get organised. Just knowing what needs to be done will make it easier to manage your time effectively and not feel overwhelmed by all the tasks on your plate at work or home.
- Speak up for yourself if someone else is encroaching on your territory—and don’t let anyone guilt-trip you into doing something when it’s not part of your job description!
- Plan ahead as often as possible, especially when figuring out how much work will be landing on your desk each day or week. It will eliminate any surprises further down the line when deadlines loom closer than before (which happens more often than we’d like). Your boss might need some convincing here, but planning is always better than not!
A closing note on balancing work and family: –
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this quandary, as everyone has different needs and preferences. However, I hope some of these words can help you find a balance that works for you and your family.
Do your research, set realistic expectations, and be flexible – those are the key ingredients to getting everything done without feeling like you’re sacrificing your time or sanity.
- Jessica Howington, ‘12 Stats About Working Families and Work’, Flexjobs, [Accessed 01 July 2022]