Do you struggle with balancing work and family? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey from the Center for American Progress, 90 percent of American mothers report work-family conflict. At times our work can feel overwhelming and become all-consuming.
So why do you work so hard? If you’re like most Americans, family is one of the biggest reasons. You want to provide a good life for your loved ones. Isn’t it ironic? Working long hours keeps us away from our family … the very people we’re working so hard to provide for. It’s a vicious cycle.
More important than money or a nice lifestyle, your family needs your time. Time is the most important thing you can give your loved ones. So how can we spend more time with family when we’re consumed with work? Here are some tips to help you focus on family.
- Schedule family time on your calendar. Just as you schedule important meetings, block out time on your calendar to spend with family. If you don’t make it a priority and plan for it, the time will get sucked up in other activities.
- Focus fully on your family during family time. Turn off your electronic devices, including your computer, PDA, and cell phone. Enjoy the time with your family without distractions.
- Enjoy eating dinner together a few times a week. Make it a priority to sit down to a family meal all together (and turn off the TV and cell phones). Dinner time is a great time to catch up with family members at the end of a busy day.
- Rearrange your work schedule. Take advantage of flex-time if your company offers it. If you want to see your kids off to school, come in to work a little later than normal. Or if you’d prefer to spend time with your kids after school, start your work day early in the morning, so you can leave work by 3:00 p.m.
- Hire household help. Rather than spend your weekends doing household chores and yard work, hire someone else to do it. That frees you up to spend leisure time with your family.
- Combine business travel with vacation. When possible, bring your spouse and kids along when you travel for work, especially if you’re traveling to a fun destination. They can enjoy time exploring the city while you work, and you can all have fun together once you’re off work.
Try out these tips in order to give your family what they need most – your time. You’ll all benefit from richer family relationships.
To learn more about how to balance work and family, read Passport to Priorities: Your Road Map to Balanced Living.