In many households where both parents work, it can be nearly impossible to find the right balance between work and family. The threat of losing your job makes it ever easier to work longer hours and devote more of yourself to work rather than family.
According a report in Phycology Today, roughly 95 percent of top breadwinners in the family work more than 50 hours per week and nearly half work 65 or more hours per week. The experts agree on this, the stress of a seemingly never-ending work week will not only damage your health but relationships and your chance at happiness. The Japanese have a name for this, it’s called karoshi, which literally translates to “death from working too much”.
Whereas we cannot propose a way to get you to leave work every day at 5 pm or whatever time signals the end of your working day, we can provide these 5 tips to improve your work-life balance.
1. Unplug & Unwind
After work, let your mind slip out of the work mode and into family or social mode. You don’t have to unplug the phone but unplug from the need to hover over it waiting for it to ring and set aside a time in the evening to respond to work emails, not while you are spending time with your family. You need to devote as much attention to your family while you are with them as you do work while you are there.
According to Dr. Robert Brooks in The Power of Resilience, you can build a better work-life balance through cultivating your inner-strength and self-confidence. Don’t allow work or your employer to monopolize your time.
Unwind and enjoy the time with your family.
2. Exercise & Meditation
Make time for yourself. Exercise breeds energy, so make time to get your exercise. Normally, when we are busy the first thing to get eliminated from our calendar is exercise. That’s unwise because exercise will give us more energy to complete the tasks we have on our calendar.
And, a good 15-20 minutes of meditation can clear our minds of the clutter. You may think sitting in front of the TV is a good relaxation tool and sometimes it is OK for 30 minutes or an hour, but our mind needs to be cleansed of the rubbish through soul-searching meditation.
Normally, the best time to get some “me” time is early in the morning before everyone else gets up and things start happening. Getting up earlier, getting a 45-minute workout or walk, and then getting a shower, not only do I have time to meditate (mostly while walking), but I have enough hot water for my shower.
3. Not Everything Needs to Be Perfect
Life as an adult is much more complicated than as a student, even those that have an afterschool job have much fewer responsibilities. As a student, we learned to make everything we could perfect, we wanted that 4.0 GPA to get scholarships so we could continue our schooling and make a better life. As an adult, if we spend the time to make everything perfect, we will most likely fail at something else. Instead of trying to make everything perfect, settle instead for excellence in everything you do. Trying to make everything perfect can be destructive and filled with self-induced stress.
4. Limit Activities that Waste Your Time
Identify and prioritize what is most important in your life, such as family, work, and friends, then limit how much time you spend doing things that are not in those categories, such as TV, email, phone chatting, Facebook or other social media. Spending too much time on any of these activities detracts from those things many people identify as the most important things in life.
Social media and our phones, for instance, have become almost a necessity, or at least many people believe they are. When you stop and think about how much time you spend mindlessly scrolling through your Newsfeed on Facebook or chatting with friends on the phone, it is probably a lot more than you would like. Limit your phone time or Facebook time to one hour per day. 30 Minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening, or whatever schedule you decide for yourself. Then, you will have more quality time for your family or other important things on your list.
5. Start with the Little Things & Build a Better Life
If we try to change too much too rapidly, we can ruin our chances of success at a work-life balance before we even get started. We didn’t go from working 40 hours a week to working 65 hours a week overnight and trying to cut back from 65 to 40 will not happen overnight either. We must make the changes gradually to be successful. Think about what happens when you slam on the brakes in your car. Even our co-workers, partners, and employers would think something wrong if we try to cut back from 65 to 40 too abruptly.
Start by delegating or outsourcing more of the work you should not have on your plate. Certainly, there are things that you are doing at work that are not in your job description but when you got promoted you just continued to do those because you were good at it or you enjoyed doing it. Stop! You cannot do everything and you need to make more time for your family.
CP Slippers & Relaxation
Remember to make time for yourself, stop doing things that waste your time, make time to exercise and meditate, unplug and unwind, and be present with your family, don’t text or make work-related calls while you are spending time with the family. Draw a line in the sand and create a good work-life balance.
Shop for a new pair of slippers while you are relaxing.