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Secrets To Balancing Work And Family Life

Secrets To Balancing Work And Family Life

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.

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balancing work and family life

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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