Do you need a better work life balance? Listen to your family

Better work life balance listen familyDo you need a better work life balance? It feels as if it should be easy but sometimes it isn’t. Even if you go out to work then come home to spend time with your family the edges can still become blurred.

When you have your own business keeping to office hours can be almost impossible. You spend your evenings finishing off the paperwork or doing background reading. Your best new ideas pop up at the weekend. It’s not confined to business owners either; even employed professionals take work home. It all eats into the time and energy you could be devoting to your family.

The terrible truth

I’m just going to come out with it. If you don’t make time for your relationships, they will suffer.

I’m not suggesting that you need to make all the running. You should be able to have a sensible conversation with the adults in your life.

The key word there is ‘conversation’. Everyone’s relationship is different. Some people need to be in each other’s pockets, others can live apart all week and get along perfectly well. Finding a better work life balance can start with finding out where you stand. How much of your time does your partner need? Is it a joint dinner every night or something else?

It’s a bit different with young children. They tend to be pretty good at letting you know when they need you. I can’t get away with more than 20 minutes at my computer when my kids are around. They either want to play on it themselves or drag me away to look at a dinosaur.

How do you find a better work life balance?

Start simply. Set your work hours and finish on time. I know, it sounds impossible but give it a go. If you’ve got too much to do start looking at productivity tools or outsourcing. Block out the time and put it in your diary as you would any other commitment. Doing it this way can feel artificial but forming new habits sometimes does.

What should we do?

How you spend your time is up to you. The easiest way to start is to listen to your family. Working parent guilt sometimes leads us towards the most expensive activity but it isn’t always needed. There are days when mine just want to potter around the house making stuff out of Playdough. Some of my best memories have come from the simplest activities.

Paying attention to the simple things can work with your partner too. (Generally they’re less keen on Playdough though.) Turn the TV off and have a conversation. Go out without the kids now and again. If you’re skint or you don’t have a babysitter, cook something delicious at home. It can be so easy to let the daily grind take over. Suddenly you realise that you have no idea what’s going on in your partner’s life outside the house or how they feel about anything. To make it better you just need to start talking.

How are your friends?

I know, it’s hard enough finding time for family members without factoring your friends in too. If they’ve given up inviting you out, ask them round. The friends that I’ve stayed in touch with since having kids are the ones who understand that my life is different. They’ll come round for barbecues or invite us all out during the day.

How do you find time for your loved ones? Drop me a comment and let me know!

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Further reading

For more resources to help you find a better work life balance, visit the Balance Collective website here