We would all love to balance our work and family lives. But as many of us already know, living a balanced and enriching life is harder than it sounds! And although many companies are helping us to balance our time, the rest is up to us.
Creating a better life for ourselves and our family doesn’t happen by itself. (Although it would be nice!) It is our job to step it up and make it happen. If you are an entrepreneur, work remotely, or a freelancer, shutting off the noise of everyday chaos can be even more difficult. There are plenty of interruptions, emails, phone calls, instant messages, social media, etc. that never shut down. Not to mention the kids, dog, cat, deliveries, and on and on.
So, how do you turn the volume down?
Plan ahead, add structure.
Use a calendar (digital or not) and start filling out the important events that will require that needed time off. Let your employer know asap. If your married, include what community tasks you will each be responsible for (e.g., driving to soccer practice, play rehearsal, ballet practice, etc.). This is important even if you work from home. It’s so easy to forget what needs to be done when you’re sitting in front of your computer regardless of where you are!
Start the day off calm.
Rushing out the door is not the best use of your time. If anything, you can easily become stressed, start to forget things, and find yourself trying to beat the clock. Allow time to savor the beginning of your day. Kiss your loved ones before leaving after sharing some coffee or your favorite beverage. Of course, to do this, you’ll need to plan for it. Get to bed early, set your alarm 20 minutes before you want to actually jump out of bed. Shower the night before to give you back some extra time.
Include quality time.
Make dinner an important cornerstone of each day (or almost each day) to help build a solid foundation. Plan events together and put them on your calendar! Schedule routine outings like taking Fido to the dog park together, going out for a bike ride, or walking under the stars. These simple outings are easier to come by when you’ve made them a regular event. Whatever you do, take time away from your work and go have some fun.
Turn off the work day.
Once you accomplished what you set out to do in your work day, turn it off. Leave the emails, turn off your Slack messages, and enjoy the rest of your day. Take this time to reboot and refresh. You’ll find yourself better to handle work when you step away from it for a while. So, make it a point to get yourself off the work grid. Unless, of course, you’re expecting something critical to happen that will need to be addressed as soon as possible. Key word here is “critical.” Everything else can wait until you get back.
Work smart to play more.
Find ways to cut down wasted time on the job. Look for more efficient procedures to keep you on track and your work running smoothly.
Time lost can never truly be replaced. And the old saying still applies—you only have one life.