Today’s guest post courtesy of Matt Llyod CEO MOBE.
“It’s not surprising that women and men alike say balancing work life with family life is an ongoing challenge. Juggling kids, a spouse and a career aren’t as easy as carving out time for each; it’s more like playing a 3-D chess game, which requires skill, advanced strategies and integrated thinking.
Instead of moving chess pieces on multiple boards, however, balancing the demands of work and family—especially for entrepreneurs—requires careful coordination, organization, communication and delegation. The good news is; it can be done. To help you attain a richer, more rewarding and balanced life, here are nine tips for balancing work and family:
1. Rally your troops.
If your goal is to find balance, you’ll need to integrate your needs, along with those of your kids, spouse, career and friends, into a whole. But don’t do it alone. Get help from family, friends, neighbors and others when you need additional support. If you prepare for the unexpected by putting a solid contingency plan in place, you’ll find those last-minute emergencies to be a little less jarring. The key is to allow yourself to ask for and receive help.
2. No bad feelings.
Everyone has been subjected to programming, and one of the ways people become conditioned over time is to feel guilty when problems arise. If you want to balance the ever-changing demands of work with your family responsibilities, start by saying bye-bye to guilt. It does no good because it keeps you rooted in what went wrong instead of what needs to happen to make it right—and it will only delay your progress toward attaining balance.
3. Know when enough is enough and spread the word.
In a perfect world, you might not need to set boundaries … but here on Earth, you do. The limits you set are the only thing that could protect you from the actions of others. By defining what’s acceptable to you, you can determine how to manage your time, space and emotional availability.
Establishing clear boundaries makes the extent of your responsibilities clear. It also signals others regarding the types of demands you’re willing to accept. If you don’t set boundaries, you’ll find it much harder to say no. Remember, these are reasonable boundaries that you’re implementing for the well-being of your loved ones, and they’re necessary to balance the demands of work and family.
4. Whose standards? Your standards.
The key to living a richer, more rewarding life is to set your own standards. That means ditching any illusions of perfectionism. Aim for small compromises that don’t undercut the interests of your spouse, kids, boss, friends or close family members. As long as you’re comfortable with the standards you’re setting for your work and home life—and your family’s needs and boss’ expectations are being met—you’re golden.
5. Find Your “Alone Zone.”
With so many demands placed upon you, it’s easy to lose sight of your own needs. So, go for a walk, soak in the tub or find some other way to unwind, de-stress and ease the tension. Carving out a little “me time” will do wonders for your state of mind and overall health, and it will also benefit your family and co-workers.
6. Everything should be in its place.
To effectively balance work and family, you’ll need to get organized. Start by setting your priorities, and be prepared to delegate. Remember that lists are your friend (and they’re re-usable!). Be sure to make room for an easy-to-reach calendar, so you can map out everyone’s activities.
7. Stretch to stay flexible.
When you decided to have kids, you basically traded your what is for a giant what could be. So, embrace it. Cut yourself some slack when you miss an occasional goal or deadline. Just don’t get too comfortable, and be prepared to assume responsibility for any must-have projects or tasks that need to be completed, whether for work or home.
Staying flexible like this is one way to reduce the stress that comes with juggling multiple responsibilities. Another is to stretch your idea of success to allow for changes to your original game plan. Sometimes you have to revise your goals to allow for different-but-just-as-challenging ones. And that’s okay.
8. Enjoy time with your family.
Your family is your greatest source of love and strength. By setting aside time to do things together, you’ll be investing directly in the people through whom all of your successes have relevance. So, commit to being with them and enjoying that time together. Create family traditions, play together and develop relationships with your spouse and children that will fuel your achievements in other areas of your life.
9. Integrate for balance.
To find harmony in your life, you’ll need to integrate your work, family and friends into a unified whole. There’s no one way to do this—it depends on what you deem acceptable—so strive for balance and maintain perspective when the road gets bumpy. It’s all about finding ways to blend the needs of your loved ones with the requirements of your career.
Managing kids, a spouse and a career is never easy, especially for entrepreneurs. But you can attain a richer, more rewarding and balanced life if you develop a creative way to balance your family responsibilities with the demands of your career. Keeping these nine tips in mind should help.