Do you have the perfect work to family ratio? If so, please send us your secrets ASAP because this whole “business-owner + parent + spouse” thing is tough!
However, through the chaos of it all, we’ve figured out a few things that help us balance work and family without feeling guilty about either. But before we dive in, a quick reminder: You can’t be everything to everyone—let your best be your best.
Start With Why
If you’ve heard Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, Start With Why, you’re familiar with this phrase. If not, we highly suggest giving it a listen.
Whether you’re at home with your family or busy crossing off to-dos at work, it’s important to always start with “why.” Your “why” is your reason for waking up every day and doing your best. It’s a list of beliefs, values, and gifts that inspire you to keep moving through the mess even when you just want a break.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed about the balancing act of work and family, come back to your “why” and re-focus on what matters most.
Put Yourself First (sometimes)
Often, we put our family’s needs way before our own—totally normal! But it’s important to take time for yourself, too. Think of it this way: If your tank is only half-full, how can you show up 100% for those you love?
Make sure you’re taking time to re-charge when you notice your energy getting low. Do this by:
- Throw on your sneakers and head to the gym or go for a run
- Take a vacation and unplug completely
- Talking to your partner about your needs and allowing them to fill in the gaps when you need them to
Family mealtime is one of the most important habits you can commit to. Whether you’re cooking together or simply sitting down for takeout, a few minutes of laughter and genuine conversation make a lasting impact.
If your schedule means missing dinner, make it a point to sit and chat over a nighttime snack. A few rules that make family mealtime even more impactful?
- No phones or TV
- Everyone has a chance to share about their day
- Laughter is encouraged
- Clean-up is a group effort (whoever cooks doesn’t have to clean, though!)
Boundaries are important both at work and at home. They tell people what you are and aren’t willing to do. For instance, a few important work boundaries might be:
- The hours you’re willing to work: If staying until 7:00 PM isn’t feasible, let your manager and team know—and don’t say “yes” when that late-night meeting invite comes through.
- Travel: A lot of jobs require travel, but if you’re a parent, traveling gets a little tricky. Have a serious talk with your supervisor about how often and how far you’re willing to travel and be honest when a request is too much.
- Time off: Everyone deserves time off work to relax and disconnect. Next time you’re tempted to check your email or Skype into a meeting on your day off, remember: doing so sends the message you’re always available.
Home boundaries are a little different, but equally important to mitigating stress and developing a healthy routine—especially if you work from home. Two helpful boundaries are:
- Work space and hours: If there’s a specific area that’s your “office,” it’s OK to keep it kid-free. Let your family know the hours you’ll need alone each day and ensure that once you’re done, it’s family time.
- Limited work talk: If you work with your spouse or own a business together, set boundaries on when work talk isn’t allowed in the home.
Schedule Time Together
We schedule meetings and other important events because it helps ensure we show up. Do the same for your family. This might mean scheduling weekly family movie nights or after-dinner walks. It also means scheduling date night with your spouse—something that doesn’t belong on the backburner.
Evaluate your time commitments each week and make sure you’re giving your family the energy and love they deserve. Scheduling time together can also ease work stress, because instead of worrying about when you’ll see your kids, you can focus on the task at-hand knowing you already have time together planned.
If you’ve had a particularly taxing day at work, take a few minutes before walking into the house to breathe, relax, and re-center. Sometimes it’s helpful to mentally set intentions like:
- When I go inside I will be patient, attentive, and receptive
- I won’t allow the stress from work to enter my home
- Work is done for the day and I won’t respond to any emails until tomorrow
Doing so sets you up for success and prepares your brain to leave work behind and focus on family.
Find An Outlet
Remember, life isn’t only work and family. You deserve a hobby! Or even two. Find an outlet you enjoy that lets you kick back, have fun, and de-stress. A few of our favorites include heading outdoors to camp or fish, going to the course for a round of golf, or grabbing a camera and snapping photos of the outdoors.
Give Yourself Grace
Finally, give yourself a little grace. You’re doing much better than you think. If your family is happy, healthy, safe, and loved—you’re winning.
What are your best work-life balance tricks? We’d love to hear. And if it’s finances that have you stressed, we’re here to help! Drop in today and let’s get one more thing off your plate.