Balance your family life with work demands
It’s late in the work day, and your desk is still piled with unfinished projects. Do you stay late and miss your son’s soccer practice? Do you call your spouse to say you’ll be skipping dinner tonight? Will your daughter be disappointed that you weren’t there to tuck her in—again? Finding the right balance among work, family life, and personal needs is a challenge, but you can achieve it. Here’s how:
Balance Your Goals
Establish specific, written goals in at least these seven areas: spiritual, mental growth, health, family, career, financial, and social contribution. Align each goal with your personal values and current priorities. For each area, write down your objective, why you are pursuing it, and when you plan to achieve it. Get specific: “I want to coach my son’s soccer team this season so I can spend more time with him.” Brainstorm several goals in each category, prioritize the top two, and leave the rest for the future. Noted motivational speaker Zig Ziglar advises people to “say yes to the best and no to the good” when prioritizing goals. Mix short-term goals and long-term goals: “I will walk with my spouse at least three times a week in 2012. Unless traveling, I will be home early enough to read a story and tuck my daughter in each night this year. I will start investing in a college savings account.”
Achieve Your Goals
As you strive toward your goals, use these three techniques.
1. Re-read your goals daily and think about them regularly. Doing so will embed them in your subconscious. Review them each morning before you head out to work, for example.
2. Practice daily self-discipline by writing down three actions you will take tomorrow to move you closer to your goals. Add these actions to your Outlook calendar or smart phone. Want to spend more time with your family? Write down such actions as “delegate more at work,” “meet my spouse for lunch,” or “call travel agent about summer family vacation.”
3. Manage your time by analyzing your 24-hour clock. Review your work day by half-hour periods, and write down how you spend your time. Do you spend too much time chatting with coworkers? What about that hour you spent on Facebook instead of on a report? Those time-wasting activities eat into your goals. Cut the casual discussions, and you’ll have time to squeeze in thirty minutes of exercise before ferrying your child to piano lessons. Ignore Facebook and—wow—you have that time to walk with your spouse after dinner. Set a specific number of hours you will work each day, and when you hit that number—leave!
Merriam-Webster defines balance as “the pleasing harmony of various elements.” Finding balance among your family life, your work demands, and your personal needs isn’t easy; the greatest things in life never are. But if you make the effort, you will create that “pleasing harmony” in your life.
By David G. Giese