How To Juggle Work and Family
Juggling work and family, or anything and family is extremely difficult. It doesn’t really matter who those family are, it could be your spouse/ parents/ children, getting a good work-life balance is just not easy.
A lot of people strive to achieve a sense of flexibility and to spend more time with their family, this becomes even more important to people when they have children. This is something which I have spoken to many women and men about this and there is often a lot of frustration. Lack of time and childcare options are often the biggest challenges people face.
So, what is the answer? How can the balance be addressed?
I have been very honest in the past about the struggles I have had with regards to achieving a work-life balance after having my son, he has been my biggest influence in starting a business and my biggest motivation to keep going.
I have experienced both the lack of time and childcare options and felt extremely frustrated by the attitude that ‘this is the way things are’. I decided that this is not how I want to continue, and something had to change.
I now have a lot more flexibility and control over how I spend my time, however, there are still struggles. My work still needs to get done; I just have more time to do it. I can work first thing in the morning and last thing at night, whereas before I was confined to working hours.
However, I now run the risk of never stopping, so I need to be careful that I do not burn out. Family and personal time is something that I now add to my schedule in a way I never used to. The challenges are still there, but they are different and more manageable.
What can you do?
I appreciate not everyone can or will want to set up their own business, however using a similar process that I did, you too can improve your work-life balance.
I essentially looked at wasn’t working for me and looked for a solution to this problem. So, for me, the root of the problem was the lack of control over my time. Now, there are other solutions to this issue which do not involve setting up a business. You just need to find a solution which will work for you and your family.
I cannot tell you what will work for you; however, I do have some possible tips/ suggestions for you to think about which may help (or might not).
Organise your time
If time is your biggest issue, then you may find that by managing your time better, that you will be able to achieve a better work/ life balance. The easiest way to improve your time management is to carry out a time audit, which basically means you track how your time is being spent and then you look for areas of change.
Keep to office hours
Now, I appreciate this can be very tough for some people, even those who work out of the home can often be expected to take work home or be on call. As for those who work from home, how can you ever get a break when your office doubles up as your living room/ kitchen/ garden/ etc.
However, as tough as it is, especially when all your messages go straight to your phone or you can access all your work tools and files at the click of the button. However, you NEED to switch off, you need to step away. The majority of things can wait, not everything that comes in will be urgent. If it can wait until office hours, then put your phone down or switch your laptop off and leave it.
If you, like me, are not confined to office hours, you should still set some. I have office hours; I may not religiously stick to them. However, my clients know that, outside office hours, any communication I have with them is at MY discretion. Even during office hours, I may not be able to respond right away.
Prioritise personal/ family time
It is very easy to forget that our loved ones should be a priority, especially if we live with them, and therefore see them all the time. However, have you ever had one of those manic weeks where you see your family, but you don’t really spend time with them, you have no idea how their day or week has gone?
Make sure you allow space to spend proper quality time with those you love on a regular basis. If you have a spouse, arrange a date night. If you have kids take them out. Friends and family make plans with them, invite them round or go out somewhere.
Whatever is taking up your time, consider if it can be outsourced. I am not just talking about hiring a Virtual Assistant, but also things like cleaning or gardening. Whatever you are struggling with, most things can be outsourced to someone else. If you are going to outsource something, make sure you do your homework. Search around, ask other people, and make sure you speak with the person and you are confident in their ability.
Speak with your boss/ HR/ coach/ mentor/ etc.
If your biggest issue is your work itself, then speak with someone about it. Who you speak with will depend on your working situation. However, do not suffer in silence, there will be a solution. It might be able to be addressed within your current working situation, however, if that is not the case then it may be time to look elsewhere.