Dave Ramsey says, “Be passionate at work, but be more passionate at home.”
Wonderful words, but sometimes easier said than done – especially when deadlines blindside you and the world goes up in arms around the holidays. Or the other way around: in-laws and the dreams of vacation holding your focus hostage. There is no magic formula to perfect balance of work and family, but following these five guidelines will take you a few steps in the right direction.
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1. Know your expectations.
Communication is key. Always communicate what to expect at the beginning of the month, week and/or day. Make sure your spouse knows what meetings you have, if you might stay late, when you are available. On the flip side, be vocal about important family events or appointments you need to make. Keep calendars for personal engagements and work-related activities. Being open about the expectations on both ends allows for more effective planning and less conflict.
2. Keep your hours.
It is difficult to achieve a perfect 9 to 5, but shoot for the stars anyway. Keeping consistent hours does wonders when it comes to planning family events and scheduling between home and work. The more you follow the other guidelines, the easier it is to get things done at work and prioritize a busy schedule. Containing work within business hours means more time for groceries, more time for laundry, more time for relaxation and more time for your friends and family. You can be home for dinner every night. You can become a more reliable person to your co-workers, spouse, children and friends. And most importantly, your mind will be focused on work when at work and home when at home. It is a healthier life.
3. Stay organized.
Using efficient processes and helpful tools to guide decisions and actions allows more time for engaging and acting, and less time thinking and waiting. Getting your work done on time reduces extra hours spent at the office (and helps adhere to guideline number two). Not only will this expedite the process, it is also a sure fire way to increase success. And you’re more likely to make your daughter’s ballet recital and not miss your dentist appointment. No one wants cavities.
4. Find a coach.
Let’s get this out of the way first: being coached doesn’t make you weak. On the contrary, it makes you stronger. It makes you learn and grow. Life coach, business coach, financial adviser, counselor, whatever you need. An expert can help you build the areas that will lead to success and flesh out areas that may need some adjustment. Do you have co-workers, friends and family to keep you accountable? That’s crucial. But a coach or counselor can offer what they sometimes cannot: expertise and objectivity.
5. Set goals.
Not just for work, but for your family too. Goal-setting for your family can range from time spent together to a future vacation to personal growth. Family is supposed to be comfortable, but don’t let it get so comfortable that the important things slink into the background. It’s easier to not proactively set goals for your family when your boss is dogging you about deadlines – the work deadlines tend to feel more pressing. However, both are important. Setting goals at work keeps you afloat and on top of said deadlines. Goals give you something to strive for and discover the steps that need to be taken. Priorities are also brought to light- what needs to get done first and what might be able to wait until the morning if you’re about to miss dinner. (Hint: A coach can help you set goals and push you to reach them).
As admitted earlier, it is difficult to achieve a perfect 9 to 5. There may be seasons of life when work demands 80 percent of focus. You eat 80 percent of the pie and all of a sudden there is only 20 percent of the pie left. Counteract that with adjustments in the opposite extreme. Next week, try to eat more of the family pie than the work pie. Or your plan of counteraction might mean that you get up earlier or stay up later that 80-percent-work week. Maybe there is a company function at night – make time for breakfast with the family. Or maybe your boss calls you away for the weekend – plan a “weekend activity” the week you return.
You may have noticed that all five guidelines affect each other. Organization and goal-setting go hand-in-hand with keeping work hours. Keeping your hours and being organized help ground expectations. Finding a coach helps you set and reach goals. Everything is intertwined, everything requires effort. Bailing on work isn’t an option, but working at the expense of your family shouldn’t be an option either. “Be passionate at work, be more passionate at home.”
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You can’t snap your fingers, you can’t wish upon a star. Planning proactively,being aware of expectations, staying organized and consistent, setting goals and having people in place to help you reach them, can lead to a better balance of business and family.
Are these helpful? Let us know! Do you have your own advice? Please share! Leave your answers in the comments below.