Unfortunately, there is no one formula for how to survive juggling a family and a career. It is more of personal decision for what works best for each individual in how one combines family, spouses, work, friends, kids and a social life. And if you’re like Amy Rees Anderson, author and CEO, balancing them all is a pipe dream that she let go of long ago:
One of the questions I am asked the most is, “How do you do it? How do you balance work life and home life?” The honest answer is, “I don’t.” No one can.
So while balancing everything in your life may seem an impossible challenge, in reality there are many techniques and approaches that can help you strike a balance that works.
1. A Support Network
Nothing will get you through a tough time like a strong support network that aids you in your time of need. Get your kids involved. Work together with your friends, co-workers, bosses, etc. and ask for support. Between career and family, surprises are inevitable. Have backup plans for emergencies, and structures in place to make things easier. It will also work as peace of mind.
2. Forget the Guilt!
Guilt is perhaps the greatest waste of energy there is. It causes you to become stagnant in the present, because you are stuck in the past. Take a lesson from Amy Rees Anderson when she says, “Rather than constantly feeling guilty and stressed in your pursuit of balance, turn your focus toward doing the very best you can do every day with the time you have.”
3. Establish Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations
Boundaries are like an invisible line drawn around you that helps others determine what is acceptable. This way, it helps you to determine what you deem as acceptable behavior from others in every situation. Boundaries and limitations are the deciding factor in how you rule your own time. They are the ultimate expression and extent of your responsibilities and power. No limits means that saying “No” is difficult. Boundaries and rules help you balance work and family.
4. Cut Out the Negative People
Gossips, negative Nancies, and complainers will consume your positive energy, and drain your ability to keep that delicate balance you have created between your career and your home life. “Don’t give them two seconds of your day,” says Amy Anderson. “Because if you give two seconds they will take two hours.” Avoid them at all costs.
5. Schedule Downtime
Take time for yourself. Being a good parent, a good professional, and a good spouse means you have to consider yourself first. Ever heard the phrase “It’s hard to love when you don’t love yourself?” The same rules apply. Relax, relieve tension, and center yourself to help minimize stress. It is a benefit that you need, but often forget to give yourself. Don’t forget, and reap the reward.
Many of the same skills and strategies you use in your work day can apply to your home life. Planning, communicating, and setting limits are effective at both junctures. Creating a positive balance, in any way you can, will help you have a happier home and a healthier heart.