How to Balance Work and Family
As we celebrate Father's Day, this is a good time to bring up work-life balance. For many, as we've moved into a business culture where being available 24/7 is the norm, work-life balance can be an issue. With dual working family households at close to 50 percent, it is an issue that both working fathers and mothers face. But balancing responsibilities between the needs of your job and those of your family can actually help you maintain good career success. The recruiting experts at America's Job Exchange offer some tips that you can use to create some work-life balance today.
1. Schedule ahead and schedule in downtime. As you plan out your work week, be sure that you are including time that is solely devoted to friends and family. This could be anything from family game night to date night with your wife. Agree that you will not use your cell phone, Blackberry or go online during this time. The goal is to plan out your week and be sure to schedule time where you can regroup and recharge - work-free.
2. Try to negotiate flex time with your employer . Today it is not considered unacceptable to work from home or ask for flex time. In fact, many employers are willing to be flexible with schedules for productive employees. If you have a long daily commute, approach your boss to determine if you may be able to telecommute one day each week. If you are on long conference calls with overseas clients, consider conducting these calls in the comfort of your home. You will need to determine your company's policies before you bring up your request. In fact, there may be some flexibility in your work schedule that you may not be aware of that can help you achieve more balance.
3. Control the time you do spend at work. While you may not be able to control the need to be in the office 9 to 5 (with no flex time built in), you can control how you spend that time. For instance, instead of spending excess time in long meetings that may mean staying at work later than planned, suggest that meetings be cut down or as efficient as possible. Limit time spent for personal errands or discussions during working hours - which may also prolong your day. These activities may be causing you to be late for after-work appointments or add undue stress towards the end of the day. Managing your time at work can help minimize stress and the time you spend at the office.
4. Exercise relieves stress. Studies show that people who exercise frequently reduce stress, not to mention improve their overall health. Exercise is also linked to helping improve your energy level and focus. This can help you be more productive at work. When stressed, take a few minutes to stretch your legs and recharge. Also try to schedule in a regular exercise routine into your daily schedule, if possible.
5. Get creative and reduce errand time. What errands can you conduct online? What errand can be split between each family member? Can you have someone else cut your lawn so that you are not spending your weekends working at home? When you spend all your time "doing," you create more stress in your life. Simplify and see which of these activities can be outsourced or eliminated completely.
6. Take time to smell the roses! It may sound cliched, but sometimes it's best to just keep it simple. Being over scheduled, over planned and having your weekends maxed out with errands and other activities can add to the daily stress of life - all of which can manifest into poor work performance. Be sure to take time to just relax.