Finding the balance between family life and work can be the biggest challenge for most working people. It can seem that every day is a constant battle to get things done on time and meet deadlines. Even having a good daily schedule can’t allow for unforeseen problems or glitches.
Due to the latest technology, the boundaries between work life and family life are becoming ever more blurred. Being constantly connected means that you can work at home or on the move. There is also the problem of checking work-related emails when ‘relaxing’ with family and friends.
The challenges of maintaining work-life balance are especially true if you face uncertainties in life. For example, the threat of losing your job may mean working longer hours with the hope of securing employment. Also, working mums have the challenge of looking after many family responsibilities while furthering their career.
The good news is that achieving and maintaining work-life balance is not out of reach.
The first step to reclaiming your life is to evaluate your relationship with work. Then you need specific strategies to address the imbalance.
Of course, it can be tempting to work longer hours if you have a large workload, extra responsibilities, or are after a promotion. Unfortunately, dedicating more time to work will have an impact on your home life.
A 2017 study published in the journal Work found that work-life balance strongly affects health outcomes. Some of the consequences can include the following:
What are the strategies you can implement to strike the perfect balance between work life and family life?
Although there are certain matters you can’t control, there are still many that you can. A study published in the BJPsych Bulletin found that personal interventions are essential to reducing work-related stress.
Here are some strategies to regain some of your life back from your work.
First of all, it is not possible to work out the perfect schedule. However, it is possible to come up with a realistic schedule. So, aim to achieve a balance of activities over a period of time. This can work better than a strict framework for each day.
You also have to accept that there are some things that you just can’t do.
Look at your schedule to see what you can delegate to others. This should involve members of your family and also speaking to your employer. For example, your boss should be aware of the challenges you face. Also, try organizing household tasks in batches so that these don’t pile up and add to your stress.
A ‘to-do’ list can help to stay ahead of what you have to do and know how to prioritize tasks. This is one of the best ways of keeping focus when trying to maintain a work-life balance. Also, make sure that your tasks are linked to your calendar so you don’t miss out on important family events.
Having a list can help you with the 4th strategy to regain work-life balance – learning to say no.
This may be one of the most important skills to learn to get your life back in balance. Remember that it is perfectly fine to respectfully refuse extra tasks. This will make sure you don’t get sucked into a situation where other people’s priorities become your priorities.
It is necessary to leave work at the office and avoid the temptation to be connected all the time. This helps you create a boundary between your home life and your work life. Also, don’t check work-related email when you are out of the office.
In conclusion, regaining work-life balance is a continual process. So, keep examining your priorities and needs and then make changes as necessary. In the end, your health, family life, and productivity will also improve with good work-life balance.