Balancing career and family obligations is an evergreen topic – yes, of course it is difficult to leave work at work and home at home. However, I know the smallest changes can produce significant impacts. There are several keys that go hand-in-hand with personal and professional balance. They are time and stress management; self awareness and balance.
So, how do we find that balance? There are several things you can do to help at work.
- An attitude of gratitude! Get yourself in a positive energy flow at the start of your day. Your attitude controls what happens to you, and vibrations (negative or positive) dictate what you will attract. Gaining that calmness at the beginning of your day puts family obligations into perspective. Morning exercise will also aid in a positive start to your day. I previously stated that exercise is an internal motivator. Once you are calm you can do many things to internalize on the happiness of your family. Look at family pictures in the morning and several times throughout the day. It will help to remind you of the importance of staying balanced. It also gives you something to look forward to when you are frustrated at work and long to be with those you love.
- Limit personal phone calls. One mistake people make is getting caught up in phone calls. That phone call takes up valuable time. And in the case that it ends negatively, it will cause you to redirect your focus from the task at hand. Limiting your calls will actually aid in strengthening your relationship(s) because it prohibits any negative situation. When we experience a negative phone call we tend to stay stuck in it throughout the day because there isn’t adequate time for resolution.
In addition to that, there are many ways to keep your relationship strong and healthy. For instance, remember this: it takes one minute per day to make a relationship successful. A kind word or act can be done in that one minute or less and creates a positive start. Learning balance from a personal level will help you with it professionally.
- The power of effective communication. Clearly discuss your family obligations with your superior. This allows you to establish a plan of action with your boss and will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and strained between the two. It will also help your boss to understand your level of priority, especially if you have a special-needs child, new parenting responsibilities, educational requirements, or multiple sports obligations. These are all areas that require additional levels of commitment.
- A key idea to assist in multiple areas is to keep a journal. I suggest you have two separate ones—one relative to work and one for personal use. It is important to track your ability to eliminate negatives, and journaling will gauge the length of time you stay stuck in it. It will also allow you to keep track of your PA (productive actions) and NPA (non-productive actions). Eliminating time wasters will alleviate stress.
- After work socializing. After-work socializing can interfere with your personal life, but there are times it is a necessity in your career. Find ways to balance those after-work socialization functions successfully. It is difficult and stressful to try to participate in multiple events, so prioritize them relative to importance. Also, if your spouse is a stay-at-home spouse you need to think about their needs. That spouse is probably looking forward to good conversation and quality relationship time. If you can include them in the after-work socialization functions, it creates a way for the two of you to spend quality time together and still meet your corporate needs.
- Unwind. On your way home from the office try to unwind: make a
- It is important to utilize your time wisely on the way to work and it is equally important for the drive home. Use this time to minimize your stress and eliminate the negativity from your day. If you take negativity home with you it will create additional stress within the family. Once you arrive at home engage yourself with family. Again, eat dinner together and turn off cell phones and TV so that you can be engaged in family discussions about their day.
Better balance helps to create a positive marriage and a less stressed family life. Additionally I can open up some additional “me time,” which is something we all need. We take the decision-making process for granted, but it is of the utmost importance in every aspect of our lives. Starting with these simple steps can make an immediate change.