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Winter 2020 Edition

Tips to Improve Work and Family Balance

Improving Your Life

Finding the right balance between work and family is a difficult and ongoing challenge for all working parents. If you’re struggling with the demands of work and family, the following ideas and suggestions may help:

The Most Important Thing to Know

Work and family don't “balance” automatically. Achieving balance is an ongoing process that takes careful listening and communication, planning, joint-decision making and effort. Understanding this can reduce frustration and help you take the actions necessary to create and maintain the right work-family balance for you.

First Things First

First and foremost, clarify your values and use them as your guide for planning and making choices regarding work and family demands. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is most important in your life?
  • What gives your life meaning?
  • What do you want to be and to accomplish in your life?

Clarity on these issues is critical because the answers to these questions affect everything else in your life – especially the decisions you make regarding work and family and the way you spend your time.

Establish Priorities

There is not enough time to spend doing things that aren't important to you or your family. Identify your various roles and attach a level of priority to each. Make sure you are putting your time and energy into only those things that are truly most important to you.

Make a Plan

Discuss work and family balance with your partner on an on-going basis. Develop a plan that integrates your individual and mutual goals with the responsibilities and issues of work and family. Start from a macro perspective that includes your values and goals and work toward a micro view that describes in detail the roles and responsibilities for each family member.

Discuss Expectations

Unspoken expectations and assumptions about how things “should” be done are often the cause of work, family and relationship conflict and stress. When our partner or others do not meet our expectations, often we feel hurt or anger. To avoid upset and improve work-life balance, discuss with your partner what you want and expect of each other. In particular, discuss your expectations and attitudes about the following: housework, house maintenance, meal preparation and meal times, child care, elder care, parenting roles and parent involvement, the nature and amount of couple and family time, time devoted to work and career, money or financial issues.

Involve the Whole Family

Make sure your family knows that their needs take a high priority despite the demands of your job. Talk about the difficulties of meeting work and family responsibilities and let other family members try to help find solutions. Children can also be given tasks that will help the family accomplish what needs to be done. This sharing of tasks not only teaches children responsibility but also gives them a sense of belonging.

Share Responsibilities

Divide parenting and household tasks appropriately among family members. Be sure that everyone in your family understands that household tasks are a responsibility for all family members to tackle. Organize the division of labor with your partner so that you each cover those tasks that are the easiest and most enjoyable for you to accomplish. Make a list of “don’t-want-to-do” items that are aversive, a waste of your time, or sap your energy. Delegate these tasks or consider paying for some services to be done.

Bolster Productivity at Work

Organize your work life to maximize your productivity and minimize workplace distractions or unproductive work habits. If you’re putting in long hours at work are you making your time count? Working long hours causes stress that often finds relief naturally through workplace distractions or procrastination. Learn to better manage your time at work and avoid procrastination. Not only can you create more time for family, but you’ll find that you’re less stressed and performing better at work.

Keep Clear Boundaries

Whether you are at work or home, do your best to stay fully invested in that place during that time. If you are at home with your family, set aside thoughts of work, turn off your cell phone and give your full attention to your family. Spend some time each day with your partner and each child. Even if it is only for a few minutes, talk, read or participate in an activity together. Everyone, including you, will feel refreshed and loved in such a positive environment.

Recognize the Benefits of Balance

Balancing the demands of work and family will have positive pay-offs for your children, your relationships with your spouse/partner and children, and everyone’s future happiness. Recognizing this can help you keep in mind the critical need for balance in your life.

The Need for Balance

If you don’t think that balance in your life is vitally important to your happiness, success and health, consider this: There is considerable evidence showing that mishandled stress at home interferes with work performance, and mismanaged on-the-job pressures create or magnify problems at home. Other research shows that the quality of personal relationships strongly influences job productivity, disease resistance and longevity. Conversely, people who value power over family and friendships appear to have a harder time fighting off disease.

Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • Can success in one area of your life compensate for failure in another?
  • Can success in your profession compensate for a broken marriage or ruined health?
  • Can success in the community justify failure as a parent?

Success or failure in any role you play contributes to the quality of every other role, and your life as a whole. Keep balance in your life. Identify your various roles and keep them right in front of you so that you don’t neglect important areas such as your health, your family, professional preparation, or personal development. Evaluating your various roles and attaching a level of priority to each is another important step toward making more intelligent decisions on where to put your time and energy.

Your EAP is Here to Help

Remember, your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to help you or your dependents with your personal, family or work-related concerns. All EAP services are prepaid by your employer and strictly confidential. If you need help, why not call an EAP counselor today? We're here to help.



Healthy Exchange is © Jenican Communications. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: This newsletter is not intended to provide medical advice on personal wellness matters. Please consult your physician for medical advice.