When was the last time you went on a family vacation? And when was the last time you enjoyed your weekend with your loved ones without getting incessant calls from the office? If your answer to both questions is ‘a long time ago’, or ‘I don’t remember’, then you are probably one of those individuals who find it increasingly hard to balance your professional and personal lives?
Not that you are to blame though. For in today’s world of erratic work schedules, never ending deadlines and cut throat competition, it becomes necessary for an individual to slog nonstop for long hours in order to get the recognition that he/she deserves.
And in the mayhem to reach the top of his/her professional career, an individual more often than not tends to ignore his/her personal needs, including the needs of those who depend on him/her at home for more than just their financial needs.
Effective Tips on How to Balance Life and Work
Basic Understanding of the Work/Life Balance
If you find someone out there claiming that he/she has the perfect work/life balance, you can be sure that he/she is probably lying. For in a practical world, the concept of a perfect work/life balance just does not exist! And no human in this world would enjoy a perfect work/life balance without experiencing the many ups and downs that come with it.
So before you try to figure out a way to get your professional and personal lives in order, come to terms with the fact that achieving the perfect work/life balance is near to impossible and would require you to chip in more than you normally do to get the balance. This does not warrant drastic changes in your lifestyle, but small seasonal changes here and there to get the best of both worlds. And here’s how you can go about doing just that.
Accept the Truth with Passion
Go about each day with passion instead of thinking that you need to get through another tiring day of deadlines, meetings and family time. Even though you may face disappointment and find that almost everything goes wrong, take it in your stride and try to be positive about the things that are yet to happen. Being relaxed and happy would surely make you feel more positive towards achieving a balance in life, both professionally and personally.
Make a Yearlong Calendar
Most of us tend to just plan for a week and then get all fussed up if something seems to go wrong in between. And then there are some of us who tend to plan out things on a day to day basis and end up not doing anything that we had planned to do.
Instead of trying to chalk out daily or weekly plans, try to set up monthly or yearly plans that would give you more room to focus on your professional and personal responsibilities.
A year long calendar would enable you to decide when you need to work harder and longer on the professional front and when you can squeeze in some dedicated family time. This way you can come up with apt schedules that let you concentrate well on both your professional and personal lives.
Know How to Prioritise
You are preparing for an important presentation at work and you get a phone call about a relative who is on the way to visit you. What would you do? Would you drop everything and rush home to welcome your relative or would you explain the situation and ask your relative to drop by later? The answer in most of the cases would depend on the situation at hand.
The most important part of achieving a work life balance involves learning how to prioritise your professional and personal needs. Sometimes your family would need your support more than your office (examples include a sick relative, a new born baby, a family crisis etc.). And then sometimes, your work would need your attention more than your family (examples include board meetings, company presentations etc.).
Learn how to differentiate the priorities of your professional and personal lives and how to handle both with minimum hassles. For instance, a company party can be skipped in order to take care of a sick relative. Or a family outing can be cancelled or postponed for an important board meeting.
Understand the Workplace Season
Which time of the year do you find yourself working harder than usual to achieve your deadlines? If your company works on a seasonal basis, with busy and slow schedules, you can time your personal commitments appropriately.
For instance, if your company has a busy season that runs from December to March, you can take time out to plan a family vacation during the slow season that would run from April to November, provided you work extra hard during the busy season to impress your higher authorities.
Be Pleasing at Work
If you impress your superiors at work (in the righteous sense of course), they would be more than willing to bend a couple of rules here and there to get you what you want. If your boss wants you to work harder and for longer hours during the busy season, do so without complaining.
Accept challenges thrown at you and prove your worth at the workplace. Once you secure the goodwill of your superiors, you can avail a few freebies in the form of family emergencies or breaks.
Dedicate your Family Time to the Family, not Work
Taking office calls during a family vacation is akin to not taking a vacation at all. Face it! If you keep on checking your mobile phone or laptop for work related updates during your holiday, your family would more or less start hating you for it.
Devote your free time to your family and only to your family. Don’t take work related calls, watch movies or surf the internet. Engage your family in simple activities that would keep all of you occupied and happy.
If you find it impossible to take them on regular outings, plan for indoor games, family themed dinners, barbeques, slumber parties, bonfires etc. every weekend to make everyone in the family realise that you love him/her as much you love your work.
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