Conflict between work and family life is one of the most common sources of stress for working adults. In this productivity-driven society that we are living in, more and more people are finding it hard to adequately fulfill their roles both at home and at the workplace. More often than not, workers are unable to find a point of balance between their careers and their families — there is always one that is given more priority than the other. This behavior has been associated with a number of dysfunctional outcomes — strained familial relationships, inefficiency at work, and poor physical and mental health.
Hence, it is very important that we are able to achieve balance between our work and our family life. This may seem to be a very daunting task, but a lot of people have already done it, so there shouldn’t be any reason that you can’t do the same. I myself have struggled to balance my career and personal life for a time, but eventually I was able to find success. Allow me to share with you how I did it:
I made the decision to find balance.
Achieving work-family life balance is a long and often daunting process. If you do not make the conscious decision to achieve balance, it is likely that you will fail along the way. I have learned through my experience that it is very important to make an effort to provide the yourself opportunity for balance. For instance, you need to find yourself a job that is challenging but not overwhelming; also carefully think about how big of a family you can responsibly raise at the moment. By making wise decisions on the most important matters in your life, attaining balance won’t be a difficult thing.
I involved people I trust in the process.
I used to think that I was the only one who could solve my work versus family life conundrum. But over time, I realized that there is no way for me to get things right if I only rely on what I know–or at least think I know. So I made it a point to regularly discuss with my husband and children their perceptions, opinions, and even objections with my work. This opened my eyes to a lot of things and made me better of aware of the issues that I needed to deal with and improve. I also made sure that the entire family understood my obligations and responsibilities at work. Thus, there was also more understanding on their part.
I established limits and boundaries between family and work.
It is important that we create boundaries or imaginary lines of protection between your work and family. This means determining which actions are acceptable and unacceptable. Boundaries hold the line to protect your work from the distraction of family, as well as protect your family involvement from the obligations at work. With clear boundaries, it would be easier for you to tell when your action is not in favor of one aspect of your life.
I accepted that imbalance is sometimes unavoidable.
With my struggle to attain the perfect balance between work and family, I was able to realize that there will always be times that I will have to let work or family take priority. It would be impossible to perfectly balance everything in your life at all times. For example, when one family member is sick, you may need to skip a work event; or when an important deadline must be met, you might need to miss dinner at home and stay working in the office late.
The dilemma of balancing family and work has no easy solution. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every person and family must find specific solutions to their issues depending on their own preferences and needs. But basically, a balance between work and family occurs when a person is able to sufficiently meet family commitments and adequately perform responsibilities at work. There is nothing wrong with working hard to gain some of the finer things in life, but you should also not forget the worth of the things and people that really matter most.
How can you keep up with your always-on career and still find time to do what you need to do at home: 10 Keys to Work/Life BalanceFeatured photo credit: Young woman practicing yoga on the beach at sunset with reflection in water. via Shutterstock