How to Maintain Balance Between Family & Work

Effective ways to Maintain a Balance Between Family and Work
Photo by George Rudy

It is vitally important to establish a healthy balance between family and work. This is becoming more and more of a priority as many people are having to work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak. This can create problems when some of us prefer to “leave work at work” but there is no physical workspace to leave work at. Work has now been brought into the home. However, there are a few practical things you can try to help balance home and family life.

Scheduling

This is one of the most important components to help keep family-work life balanced. You can create a chore list for things that need to be done around the home during the week. If you are working in the morning, it would be best to wait until later in the day to tackle chores. A single parent may need to do one chore at a time instead of trying to do multiple chores. As an example, dishes could be done after dinner or vacuuming on the weekend. In a two-parent household, one parent can take care of the children and some chores while one person works and then switch off to the other parent.

If you need to answer e-mails, take phone calls, Zoom meetings, and other due dates daily, try to schedule them and work on them during a fixed and planned period of time. Do set a reminder for that important call – you may not always be able to keep all events in mind.

Find Productive Methods That Work for You

It can be challenging to stay productive at home with the distractions of family. However, there are several different methods you can try to help you stay on task and keep up productivity.

The first the Pomodoro Method. This method has the user set a timer for every 25 minutes with an interval of 5-minute breaks in between. Pomodoro Method can be used in conjunction with a schedule to give a person twenty-five minutes to complete a short task or to break up a long task into chunks of time.

You can also try Time Blocking method. Plan ahead your day by dividing it into blocks of time. For example, your morning may consist of two parts, with the first part made of 1 hour and the second one of 2 hours. Dedicate first part on a specific one goal (spend time with kids) and the second part on sorting out and answering all work letters.

What about “Eating Live Frogs” method? That one suggests to handle the most difficult tasks first and to have easier tasks later in the day. That way you will easily be able to control your time and devote more of it for the family later in the day.

Seek Help from Others

grandparents help in childcare, life-work balance
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The choices for help may be more limited at the moment of the COVID-19 outbreak. You are really lucky one if you can still ask others for help with childcare and errands. They can be your family members or older children in the family, who may help with basic errands such as picking up groceries, picking up laundry, and other necessary trips.

Although a bit off the topic but crucial to remember: when difficulties arise, it is best to have people who support and care for your mental and spiritual health. Even though in-person get-togethers may not be possible, have a virtual movie night, game night, or other activities with friends.

It is important to devote time and attention to recreating yourself in order to be able to devote more quality time to your family in the end and also be productive at work. Otherwise, you may accumulate fatigue and get nervous out of nothing. It is especially vital if you have to take care of household chores and kids all alone.

Take the Evenings Off

It may not be practical to take weekends off, but if possible, then do it. A person should set a time to stop working. If you normally get off work at 6 p.m., this may be the time to stop working. Do take some time to spend with the family doing quality activities. This can be playing with the children, walking the dog, making a meal, or any other activities that would normally be done.

Don’t forget to make time for your significant other to feel connected.

Parents should take time to participate in their child’s activities such as helping them with homework, extracurricular activities, or even reading a book together. Be sure to keep digital interactions to a minimum as it can be tempting to keep working.

For a person’s mental health and their families, it is important to take time to be together.

family-work balance, ways to maintain the balance between family and work
Photo by freepik

Be Willing to Make Compromises

Compromise and flexibility will be key during working at home. For example, if you normally go grocery shopping after getting off work or picking up the children from school, you could use online grocery shopping and either has the groceries delivered or picked up.

You should prioritize only necessary trips, and you may have to teleconference or virtually meet your colleagues only in the latter part of the day instead of staying late at the office.

You can look for services that more easily coincide with your schedules, such as being able to do drop off appointments, or services that visit the home (laundry, yard, etc). This can help ease the stress of needing to work around the work schedule. 

Time for Relaxation – Key to Maintain Balance Between Family and Work

Relaxation is often overlooked when trying to create a family-work balance. Repeating this over again: you literally must take time to take care of yourself. Otherwise, you will not be 100% productive worker, partner, or parent.

This can be at any time during the day that you find specifically enjoyable. You may want to spend it either yourself or with anyone else. Some such activities include a warm bath, light exercise, reading, art projects, writing, dancing, singing, and more. There are also more spiritual routes such as yoga and meditation.

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One day a week should be scheduled for relaxation as an individual and with the family and can include games and other fun activities. Personal care should not be neglected and you need to be sure to eat healthy, exercise, and get a good night’s sleep. It is absolutely possible to keep the balance between family and work and it all starts with you. ❤️

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