Finding a balance between work and life can be challenging and frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. Having the right tools that work for your family is critical, and we’ve created a list that will give you a few tips on how to make your life easier.
Organisation is key
Your kids are crying, you can’t find your keys, their lunches haven’t been made and none of the bags will stay on your shoulders – and you want to rip your hair out. Starting your day like this never ends well, you are frazzled, grumpy and so not in the mood to work. Remaining organised can solve all these problems and can make your household run just a bit more smoothly. Now, how do you do that? Well, there are a few options!
Calendars are one of the easiest options to implement as you probably have a work-schedule you abide by. Creating a calendar (whether physical or digital) into your home life will make for the perfect balance. Jotting down when you and your partner work, any events your kids have (e.g. school and birthday parties) and appointments, allows the entire family to be involved. A digital calendar can be shared between you and your partner or even your children’s carer.
2. To-do list
Writing down a to-do list every Sunday night can also help you keep on top of what’s coming that week. Give yourself realistic goals for the week (e.g. Laundry and meal-prep). Creating a to-do list for every member can help you balance your life while you work, and gives responsibility to your kids and partner. Even if your child is a toddler, you can make a simple list where they have to pick up their toys or try to read a book with minimal help.
Getting ready the night before is another great way to stay organised and can help you balance the load. Making lunches, organising clothes for the next day, pre-packing their bags and leaving them by the front door can help avoid a chaotic morning. Try having your kids involved in this process too; they can learn to pack their bag and organise while also spending some time with you.
Sort out your priorities
Prioritising your life is another critical step into perfecting your work-life balance. Finding ways to be organised in both worlds can be a challenge, but it requires you to prioritise. Making a list of the prime concerns at work and home can help you focus on the things that matter immediately. As an example, if you have a report due for work in three weeks and your child needs help preparing for a school project due in one week, your priorities at home should be helping your child not working on your report.
Setting strict boundaries
When you’re home, your family should always be a priority against work; turn off your work phone, or remind your boss that you are home and you have finished for the day. And vice versa when you’re at work, make sure you are focused and stay on track. Setting boundaries can also help you achieve a healthy work-life balance.
So you’ve returned to work, or you’ve transitioned into a new position and you might be struggling to balance the demands of your job and the demands of your home life. Communication is vital in this situation and can help you create terms at work that will give you the balance you’re looking for. Having regular chats with your boss about your situation and being clear about the expectations around your role, responsibilities and hours is important and can ease your stress at work. Reviewing their leave (sick and annual) policies is also important to do.
Working from home
Working from home can seem like a great option but it can also be tricky and can blur the lines for work-life balance. It can cause you to either prioritise work when you should be home – or home when you should be working. Which ultimately causes you to then work longer hours. While sometimes WFH can be ideal for you to achieve the balance, there are some ways to make it work well. Creating a strict schedule of hours you dedicate to work is crucial, wake up early and give yourself a proper morning routine with your kids, getting ready yourself can help you prepare for the day. After you finish work, turn off your work phone and computer. Completely separate yourself from work, and pull the focus back onto your family-life.
Switching between work and home life
So how do you focus back? If you’re working from home, going for a quick walk to clear your head and focus on the afternoon ahead can be a great way to transition back into family life. If you’re working at an office or away from home, calling your kids on the way home can be another way to reconnect to your family and get out of the work-mindset. Reading a book or listening to some music on your commute can also help you transition into a more relaxed version of yourself and switch off from thinking about work.
Quality time with your family is essential for that work-life balance you crave for. While this may be difficult during the week, create fun activities to do on the weekend. Go for a drive, to the beach or on a mini adventure at your local national park. Spending this time with family can help you centre yourself back to your priorities. A tip for during the week is having them be involved in tasks that you might usually do alone. An example can be having them help out with dinner or even folding a few clothes while having a chat. These tasks can act as a great way for you to bond whilst also knocking some things off your list. If you pick them up from daycare or school, talk to them about what they did and what they learnt that day. Being interested in their lives will once again strengthen your relationship and give you that balance. Spending quality time with your partner (if you have one) will help you both reconnect and talk about your lives. Your partner may be feeling as overwhelmed as you and can give you advice and tips on what they do themselves to achieve their work-life balance. You both need to understand that your family is the priority and that you have to work together to create the perfect balance.
What about you?
You are exhausted yourself, and even with all the tips and organisation, it can still be tricky to balance. Taking care of yourself is really important for you to remain motivated to keep going. Pamper yourself, go to a spa, get a massage or even just going out for a solo walk can help you re-centre yourself and remain focused on what’s important to you. Reminding yourself that you’re doing the best you can is essential, don’t compare yourself to your friends or other parents. You are doing a great job, and your kids will love you for it!