Balancing work and family life… at some point in our lives, we have all experienced the inequitably it can bring. You are desperately trying to get your business off the ground, most times at the cost of your family. You work late, long hours, and most of the time you work on weekends too. To top it all you are also a frequent business traveler with a total of air miles that would anyone jealous. You miss out on attending family events and are a no-show at your children’s plays, concerts, special assemblies, prize-givings and sports days. You never have time to socialize with family and friends like you used to. Before you know it, you no longer have close friends and have alienated your family.
1. Be Realistic in Your Expectations of Yourself and Others
I highlighted the issue of being realistic in your expectations of yourself and others in a previous blog entitled 3 Lessons in 3 Months. You need to be realistic in your expectations of yourself and of others, and then you need to lower them.
2. Take A Day Off and Use Part of it for Planning
Working 18-hours a day, 7 days a week will see you burned out (and lonely) long before you taste success. Taking a day off is an excellent idea. However, if you feel guilty, why not use 2 or 3 hours to plan your week/month.
“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today” ~ African Proverb
3. Be Smart, Don’t Work Hard
There is a big difference between Working Hard and Working Smart. Working hard is trying to do everything yourself and often going around in circles of frustration. Working smart is doing your best and outsourcing the rest.
4. Be Flexible – Not Every Situation is Covered in the Training Manual
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~ Lyrics from Beautiful Boy (John Lennon)
Nothing kills the human spirit like the constraints of being rigid. Life is not lived in straight lines; stuff happens. You need to be flexible.
5. Wherever You Are, Be THERE!
Nothing hurts your family and friends more than you being at a function in the flesh but not in mind. Being absent-minded is just as bad as being on your mobile device most of the time, checking emails and sending messages. If you think are going “just to keep the peace”, you are sadly mistaken. Take time out of your busy schedule to do something that is important to the friends and family that support you.
6. Reset yourself – unplug!
In a previous blog entitled, Digital Detox – Less Present, More Distracted, I highlight in detail, the effect of being an electronic device addict can have on your health and the relationships with friends and family.
You need to take time out to unplug and recharge. This quote from Anne Lamott sums it up perfectly: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…. Including you!
7. Give the world the Best of you, not the Rest of you!
Take yourself to a spa or do something you really love like reading, hiking, gardening, etc. This will help recharge your batteries and avoid burn-out.
8. It’s okay to ask for Help
Asking for assistance is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is a sign of great leadership. It also shows that you trust your colleagues/subordinates to perform a task that you don’t have time to do. This, in turn, will make you more human to your employees. So, adjust your ego and ask for help.
9. Make your working space a great place
Working from home affords you the luxury of moving your laptop to wherever you feel comfortable, eg. the dining room table, the patio, the study, etc.
However, when setting up your workspace, consider the following:
- Select a space based on your needs
- Plan and renovate your workspace
- Equip your workspace with the appropriate furniture and equipment
10. You can do anything, but you can’t do EVERYTHING
It is pointless spending many hours of frustration in trying to do something that you are not good at or comfortable with. Pick your lane and run your best race.
Remember: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.