Do you struggle to balance your work and home life? You're not alone! Check out these 5 tips for creating a more balanced life for you and your family.
I know first hand how challenging creating a good work-life balance can be. It’s tough to find the perfect balance between a happy employer or a smooth-running business and a happy life home.
Fortunately, there are actions that you can take, both at work and at home, to create more a balanced life for yourself. Since this is such a vital discussion, it has been covered by groups like Mental Health America, Web M.D., Forbes, and Business News Daily.
Rather than sending you off hunting all over the innerwebs to search for tips to help you manage your time and create a work-life balance, I’ve consolidated the information down into five tips you can use to develop a more balanced life both at home and at work.
1. Develop a Consistent Routine
One of the easiest steps you can take at work (or in your business) is to create a to-do task list that is ordered based upon priority. When you prioritize your work, you will find that you get all of the stuff that’s most important from the list done.
I love how using a checklist allows you to see everything you have achieved each day. Having a daily work routine will help make you feel you less stress about what you need to complete every day at work.
Routines are wonderful to implement at home too. They enable the whole family to know what’s going on and when. However, I know how important downtime is too.
Please make sure to allow your and your family some unscheduled downtime each week. I like the idea of marking down your family’s downtime on your calendar so you can make sure it stays a priority.
Ensuring you schedule in downtime for yourself and your family is a great way to make sure you have plenty of time to relax, heal and bond together.
2. Explore Telecommuting as an Option
If your boss allows you to work from home (telecommute), particularly on days where you or your kids are sick, jump on it! Some employers will also allow you to telecommute when there is inclement weather or other outside circumstances.
Some employers will even allow you to telecommute full time if you prove yourself. I started working from home in 2009 when I started this blog and I started doing freelance writing in 2010.
There are so many benefits to working from home. Not only do you not have to deal with the daily commute, which saves time, you don’t have to spend as much time getting ready in the morning. You don’t have to buy fancy work clothes. You’re not spending money on gas or eating out for lunch. It’s seriously amazing
If you haven’t looked into it before, I have found that telecommuting is an ideal way to make sure you’re getting your job done and making your boss happy while also giving you some space and breathing room to be you.
3. Start Saying No
Most people think they don’t have the option to say no to projects at work. If you’re one of those people (like me), you probably find yourself taking on more tasks than you can realistically handle, working excessive overtime and feeling constantly stressed about not being able to get clear your to-do list.
It’s time to start saying no when you don’t have the bandwidth to take on the project or it’s not a good fit for you. You might be surprised by how well your employer takes your being assertive, especially if you take the time to offer alternative suggestions on how that task could be handled.
It’s also important to learn how to say no to when it comes to outings and obligations with friends and family, especially if you’re an introvert. Perhaps you have made commitments that are simply too draining for you or don’t provide you with enough family time in the evening. Cutting anything that is not necessary out is one way to restore some balance.
I’m not recommending you become a flake. If you make a commitment to something, follow through. Simply don’t commit to things you don’t intend to follow through with or that are more than you can fit on your plate.
4. Learn Your Employer’s Policies
Understanding your company’s vacation, leave, sick and disability policies are critical. In addition, learn what capabilities your employers offer for telecommuting from home. That way you are prepared for sick days when you might want to telecommute if company policy allows.
I was very fortunate that when I still worked a corporate job we had great benefits. I had 5 weeks of paid time off, could work from home when I was sick and I got nearly full pay while I was on maternity leave. Not all companies have benefits like this, but you should understand what benefits you do have.
It’s really important to know what your child’s school's policies are too if they attend school. You should know the rules for calling in sick for the day, handing in sick notes and showing up late. It will save everyone many headaches! If you homeschool, make sure you know your state’s policies too!
5. Make a Communication Plan
Be sure to keep your employer in the loop with what’s going on. Make sure they know where you are on your assigned projects and if you will meet your deadlines. By communicating regularly and clearly with your employer, you will be able to alleviate some stress you might feel on the job.
I’m sure you already know that communication is essential at home with your family. Balancing the needs of your marriage with the needs of your kids and your own personal needs is vital.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you let your family know what is going on with you. Of course, you also need to know what’s going on with the rest of the family. We keep a family calendar on the fridge so everyone always have access to what is going on with our family.
Another tip that can help if your family is new to communicating well is scheduling a weekly family meeting to discuss upcoming events, the positives and negatives of life, things that need to be planned and other facets of life that can cause stress when they’re not planned well. You’d be surprised by how much communication enables bonding!
I hope these five simple steps can help you find more work-life balance in your busy mom life. Do you have any other tips for finding a good balance between home and work we didn’t mention?