Balancing work and family
We need to learn how to simplify our lives and ask for help
It’s not uncommon to feel completely overwhelmed by things, and to wish that life were simpler and less stressful. Do you feel like you never get around to all the things you’d like to do?
Dealing with life’s countless demands is a constant challenge for many people who can’t ﬁnd the time or the means to balance their work obligations with their family and social activities. A lot of the time, it’s certain beliefs that prevent them from ﬁnding the desired balance. The most common belief is that the situation is only temporary, and that “as soon as this project is ﬁnished, I’ll have more time for my family and friends.” This belief may be sincere, but most of the time, it’s not realistic.
We also like to believe that our family understands how stressful things are at work, and that our indiﬀerence, impatience and irritability towards them is normal under the circumstances. A certain level of understanding is possible in the short term, but if the situation persists, relationships often become strained. If you’re one of those people who ﬁnd it diﬃcult to balance your personal and professional life, and you recognize that the situation could lead to negative consequences, it’s time to step back and evaluate your priorities.
PINPOINT YOUR VALUES
How many times have you heard yourself say: “If only I had more time…”. Of course, you know perfectly well that time is not elastic. The real question to ask yourself is what your priorities are in relation to the time that you do have. In other words, you need to determine how much importance you place on your work versus your family. Then you can adopt an action plan that will allow you to narrow the gap between your current situation and your future goal.
REDUCE YOUR SOURCES OF STRESS
Once you’ve given it some thought and determined your goal, a simple way to start the process is to identify those behaviours that really eat up your time and energy (see test on back). Tackle those factors that are within your control and that you’re able to change, such as:
• proper planning of tasks and activities;
• discipline and precision in carrying out your tasks;
• clear, ﬂuid communication at work and at home;
• assigning tasks to people who can help you;
• turning down additional tasks that are not your responsibility.
Establish clear boundaries between work and home. Use some kind of small ritual to help you make this transition, like listening to music or planning a family activity on your way home, changing your clothes when you get home, etc. The idea is to take advantage of the transition time between these two worlds to focus your thoughts on your family or your work, as the case may be.
ASK FOR HELP
The more you try to do everything yourself, the more your stress can mount! But asking for help requires having conﬁdence in the people you delegate to.
If you can’t get anyone to help you, it may be because you’re a perfectionist or your expectations are too high. If you’re one of those people who think you’re the only one who can do the job right, you’re missing out on an opportunity to get help from other people. As a result, you won’t have the time you need to do things right, and you’ll be frustrated that your family, friends and co-workers seem to be letting you down. Be open to the idea that even if things aren’t done perfectly or the way you would have done them yourself, it’s the result that’s important: the time that you’ve saved and that you can now spend on things that are truly important to you.
LOWER YOUR STRESS
By simplifying your life, pinpointing your values, reducing sources of stress and delegating some of your tasks, you’ll achieve the wonderful feeling of being in control of your life rather than being ruled by your watch and your appointment book. You’ll see that with practice and a bit of discipline, you’ll be able to ﬁnd and maintain a balance between your work and your family life. Over time, it will be easier for you to set your priorities and take the necessary steps to realize your dreams.
Used with permission from