One of the unavoidable pressures of adulthood, especially when one decides to settle down, is the challenge of balancing both work and family. You may feel the pressure or the need to be successful in your career and in achieving goals, while also wanting to be a responsible parent and spouse when you get home. In an imperfect world, is such a thing possible? It might be challenging at times but it is definitely not impossible or too ambitious to desire it. After all, who doesn’t want a satisfying work and home life? With a bit of guidance and advice from us, you can take note of the important reminders or techniques that you need to know to get yourself the work and family balance you’ve been dreaming of!
Why should I balance work and family time?
Being able to give enough time and attention to your relationship between work and family is important in making sure that your personal well-being is taken care of, and that you are satisfied in most aspects of your life. Maintaining a good work and family balance means having fewer health problems, increased productivity and creativity, a strong bond with family, and being more mindful and at peace.  Meanwhile, a poor work and family balance can lead to a shorter temper, poor health, high-stress levels, a weakening connection with family, and less productivity. 
Many adults have different ways of balancing work and family time or responsibilities, and it’s not wrong to customize based on your personal situation. However, there are 5 key factors that are common and essential for a work and family balance to function in the long term:
Time Management and the Power of Setting Priorities
From catching deadlines for work presentations to making sure that you arrive on time to your child’s first theater play, juggling roles and tasks is a reality that adults must face every day. At some point, the number of tasks and responsibilities can be overwhelming and if not planned properly, can be forgotten and compromised. It is important to understand how time works for you on a daily or weekly basis so you can create a strategy that can help you manage your time and set your priorities for both family and work. Here are some things you can do to help you distribute your time and tasks effectively:
- Develop a Routine – With so many tasks at hand you can plan out a daily routine to make sure that you are setting time for yourself and your family especially if you are at work most of the day. Sticking to a routine can help you get used to attending to your priorities so that you never forget or spend too little time or attention on the other. For example, you might want to start the day by doing a 5-minute meditation to keep yourself focused for the whole day, and after that spend at least an hour having breakfast and quality conversations with the whole family to strengthen your bond. In whatever way you choose to split your time, make sure that you always have enough time for your family.
- Make a to-do list – A routine is a good and generalized guide but can change and become more complex depending on what tasks you have for the day. To make sure you are updated on the things you need to do or finish in a day, you can make your own to-do list. You can make a separate list for both work and home or you can combine them together depending on urgency. Big tasks can be broken down into smaller ones so you don’t get lost or feel overwhelmed.
- Plan and work on things ahead of time – When things get extra busy especially at work, it can also be best to plan or schedule activities for yourself and your family ahead of time so you can have enough time to prepare for them and not forget. You can plan out meals you will be cooking for the following week and schedule grocery shopping a week before so that buying ingredients will be much more convenient. You can also have movie nights with the kids every Saturday or a couple’s night every Friday. To make your plans easier to visualize, you can make a calendar of activities that you can post on your refrigerator or inside your room.
Setting Boundaries Between Work and Family
You can’t be everything for everyone always, and it’s a reality that you won’t have the time to do all the things other people may want you to do. The importance of setting boundaries between work and family is to create a protective circle around your time and energy so you can only give it to what matters to you. At work, you can set clear boundaries with your co-workers or clients about your working or consultation hours and be firm about not responding beyond those times except for urgent matters. This way, when you’re at home, you know that you can truly spend quality time with your family or with yourself without interruptions.
If possible and applicable to you, you can also use an autoresponder for emails so that you can eliminate the pressure of constantly checking your work emails whenever you’re offline or spending time at home. This can also alert them when you will respond.
Treasure Family with Quality Time
Of course, for a successful work and family balance, you must spend just as much time with your family as you do with work. All work and no play or family time will drain you and can weaken your connection with the family. However, spending time with them does not only mean extra hours, but more on spending quality time where you get to talk, enjoy experiences, and grow together. Make this work by devoting parts of the day and/or the week where you can spend time to relax or share an activity. If possible, you can even block off a certain day or days of the month for family time where you can go watch the movies, swim at the beach, or cook a new recipe together in the kitchen.
Aside from spending quality time with them, valuing your family or loved ones can also be shown through giving them a phone call or video call just so you can check in with them and see how they are doing, or informing them when you’ll get home. Quality time can also be present at events where your children or spouse may need your support or presence like sports games, competitions, visiting the doctor, and many other instances.
Seek Support and Delegate Tasks
Although you have already set your routine, made your to-do list, and set your boundaries, there may be times when you need an extra hand to help you lessen the load whether it be your workload or family duties. If you are managing a team or have members you can rely on, you can delegate some of the tasks to them especially when you’re on a tight schedule or if you have something important to attend to. Not only can it be beneficial to you as you can spend more time with your family, but you can also give them the opportunity to learn and grow with new responsibilities. You may also discuss with your employer regarding flexible work schedules.
At home, you can distribute chores or simple tasks in the household to each member of the family and have them agree on it. You can also take turns doing certain chores to make it fun, and for your children to learn new things as well. Seeking for support may also be in the form of using convenient tools or applications that can accomplish tasks faster like using a productivity/workspace app where you can collaborate with your colleagues online to lessen the hassle of sending in emails or documents back and forth. It can also be ordering groceries online and having them delivered to your doorstep so you can save time and cook early. Never hesitate to seek support in whatever way you can as it can make things easier for you.
Unplug and Recharge: Prioritize Health and Self-Care
Another important key to achieving a successful work and family balance is taking care of oneself. Just like how our smartphones need recharging, we also need to unplug from work and other stressors and regain energy. Apart from having quality time with family, you may also need to practice self-care activities that do not necessarily involve other people. You can set aside time for your skincare routine, taking a walk, or meditating thrice a week or even daily. Reward yourself with a nice bubble bath, buy your favorite dessert on the way home for a job well done. Setting boundaries, just as mentioned earlier, is also a form of self-care by respecting the time that you should devote to fulfilling personal needs and wants.
Of course, self-care does not only mean rewarding yourself, but also taking care of your physical health by making sure you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, or even get a good laugh to reduce your stress levels. There are many things you can do to prioritize your happiness, health, and overall well-being, so make sure you also make time for yourself.
There is no straight road or shortcut when it comes to achieving long-term work and family balance, but it’s never a sign to give up. Just remember to manage your time, set boundaries, spend quality time with family, seek support, and practice self-care. You can start with small changes, make adjustments, and get yourself used to these techniques, and your efforts will definitely pay off in the future. Good luck!
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