By Kyle Courtright
We live in a high speed, constantly moving, always connected culture. It can be hard to find a healthy balance between work and family. With all of the responsibilities we have to juggle, the line between the two can become blurred. Over the years I have had to learn how to find a good balance, and with the recent addition of our first son, the need to find that balance has become even more important.
Here is a list of four tips that have helped me along the way.
I’m not saying that you need to turn off your phone and computer all day. What I am saying is that when you are home, whether it’s a weeknight or weekend, don’t take work calls, don’t check your emails. Make sure that your family knows and comes to expect your undivided attention. Spend time with your family. You’ll never say, “I wish I had spent more time working and less time with my family.” Unplugging for a few hours during weeknights, or a couple of days on the weekend will help to restore balance to your lifestyle.
Communication is so important to balance. There are times that your workload will be higher, due to a busy season, a big project, or a picky client. When you find yourself in the middle of a busy season, communicate with your family. Make sure that they understand your increased workload. That extra communication will go a long way in returning to balance at the end of a busy season.
Adjust Your Mindset
I’m a small business owner. That means that I run all aspects of my business; there’s a lot on my plate. That being said, my mind is constantly thinking about new ways to boost traffic to my website, or ways to increase sales. It can be hard to turn off your ‘work brain’ and switch over to your ‘family brain’. I can guarantee that your family not only wants you home, but wants you to be present mentally as well.
I used to work about 30 minutes from home, that car ride became essential for me to take time to unwind, and refocus my attention on my family before I got home. Now, I work from home and my office is upstairs. When I started working from home it was hard to make the switch mentally at the end of a long work day. I now use the walk down the stairs as a time to mentally switch over.
It was hard at first, but it’s become a habit that has paid off with lots of good quality time with my wife and son. Making an effort to be mentally present and involved will be appreciated by your family for years to come. Not to mention it’s good to take a break and enjoy your family!
Learn to Say No
Between work, family, church, friends and other activities, it doesn’t take much to become overwhelmed by all of your commitments. Learning to say ‘no’ from time to time is essential to maintaining a healthy balance. When you add new things to your schedule you lose time in other aspects of your life. Guard your time with your family, all of the extras are great and are important but can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
I hope some of these tips can help you achieve the work and family balance that you are looking for. What have you done to help keep your life balanced?