Ah, that elusive balance between work and family. So many people are searching for work-life balance, and yet so few believe they can find it.
In fact, 66% of working Americans profess an inability in balancing work and family life. It makes you start to wonder if work-life balance even exists.
Well, that balance does exist, you just have to change your understanding. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, balancing work and life involves creating priorities and goals.
What Does Balancing Work and Family Mean?
While many people have tried to apply a universal definition to work-life balance, it’s really not that simple. A good work-life balance is different for each person.
Remember I said this balance involves priorities and goals? Well, those priorities are different for each person. Some people really are just dedicated to their work. Some are dedicated to their relationships above all else.
For each person, the goals created have to reflect what’s most important to them as an individual. If you focus on what other people think should be important rather than what you find important, there’s not a real balance.
Also, every person’s circumstances are different. For instance, some people are working more than one job (ahem). This means their priorities will be different than the person working one job, or even the person staying home.
While it can be a struggle, there are things you can do to help create the right balance between your different responsibilities. Let’s take a look at some different work-life balance tips.
Defining Your Priorities
Before you start making plans, you first have to define your priorities. What areas of your life are most important to you?
Be honest with yourself about those priorities. Also, be willing to be fluid with these areas. These priorities can change at different seasons of your life.
I will use myself as an example. As most of you know I have a day job.
As a math teacher and coach, this day job has to take priority during the school year. This means my writing doesn’t always get the attention I would like to give it. My coaching can also take away from normal family time.
There are times I can make these other areas I higher priority, however. The month my first book came out was one of those times.
I can also make my family a priority when I’m home with them. This means shutting off my phone if necessary and giving them my full attention. It can also mean scheduling date nights or family outings.
Create Goals for Each Priority
Creating goals is very important when balancing work and family time. Take the time daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever works for you, to establish goals for the areas you want to focus on.
I create goals for my writing so it doesn’t get pushed aside for my other responsibilities. I also create goals for my lesson plans and for training the teams I coach.
Goals can be as simple or as detailed as you want them to be. For my writing, I have basic goals in place. I create suggested deadlines for myself. For my lesson plans, I have to be a little more detailed due to time constraints.
Be Honest with Yourself
A big mistake people make is trying to take on more than they can handle. It’s important when setting goals that you’re honest with yourself about your abilities. Start small with your goals so you get a sense of accomplishment before moving on to bigger commitments.
Being honest also means learning how to say no to things that don’t fit your priorities. You may not like the idea of disappointing people, but you will burn out if you don’t learn to say no.
Is that upcoming dinner or volunteer opportunity not high on your priorities? Unless it’s mandatory, go ahead and say no. Don’t take on other people’s priorities at the expense of your own.
Learn to Delegate
Delegating some of my work is a lesson I’m learning as I go. Sometimes you won’t be able to accomplish everything you want to accomplish. If something is a priority, yet you can’t dedicate the time you’d like, learn to delegate some of the work.
For example, my books are a priority, but I can’t dedicate the time I’d like to market my work. While I can’t (and don’t want to) delegate the writing of my books, I can get help with some of the peripheral stuff.
I have an outside editor that checks my books for those blatant errors that you can miss after staring at your own work for too long. I hired someone else to do the book cover because I don’t have the time. Plus, I can get better quality work by having a professional do it.
I have even recently delegated social media management to an outside business. While I still check and respond to my social accounts, I’m letting someone else do the marketing work on these sites. I just don’t have the time necessary to keep up with all of it.
If you think about it, there are things you can delegate to someone else, so you can focus on the big picture for your priorities.
Make Time for Yourself
If you are always on the go, you will burn out. It’s important to take time for yourself during the week. Take time to evaluate your goals, relax, and focus on the bigger picture.
I like to take time each day to pray. As a child of God, it’s important to spend time in the presence of my Father. It’s a time to seek His will and lay some of the burden on his shoulders. If you feel bad about that idea, remember this is what he wants from us.
Matthew 11: 28-29- Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you will find rest for your souls.
This alone time is for you to rest and reflect. It’s the time to take a break from your burdens and find peace. Nobody can go all the time.
You can also take time alone to catch up on reading or another favorite activity. Whatever you need to refresh your mind and body to keep going.
Whatever your priorities, always strive to give your best to those things. By taking the time to understand what’s important to you, you can give more of yourself to those things. When balancing work and family, make sure you’re true to yourself.
Would you add any work-life balance tips? Let me know in the comments. For more tips, or to stay up-to-date with news on books, make sure you join my newsletter.