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Finding the Best Work-life Balance

By February 28, 2008 - 10:04am
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Have you found a good work and life balance?

I am constantly in awe of my friends and family and the ways they manage their busy lives with work and children. While most of them seem genuinely overwhelmed (especially the ones with younger children) they always seem to maintain their cool and muster up the energy to do what life needs them to. All of this started me thinking about the work-life balance. The Mayo Clinic offers these helpful tips for striking the right balance.

* Keep a log. Track everything you do for one week;
* Take advantage of your options. Can you work flex hours, a compressed work week or telecommute? Find out.
* Manage your time. Organize household tasks efficiently.
* Rethink your cleaning standards. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go.
* Communicate clearly. Limit time-consuming misunderstandings;
* Fight the guilt. Remember, having a family and a job is okay — for both men and women.
* Nurture yourself. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as walking, working out or listening to music. Unwind after a hectic workday by reading, practicing yoga or taking a bath or shower.
* Set aside one night each week for recreation. Making time for activities you enjoy will rejuvenate you.
* Protect your day off. Try to schedule some of your routine chores on workdays so that your days off are more relaxing.
* Get enough sleep. There's nothing as stressful and potentially dangerous as working when you're sleep-deprived. Not only is your productivity affected, but you can also make costly mistakes. You may then have to work even more hours to make up for these mistakes.
* Bolster your support system. Give yourself the gift of a trusted friend or co-worker to talk with during times of stress or hardship.
* Seek professional help. Everyone needs help from time to time.

Add a Comment3 Comments

I think they are but often end up sacrificing themselves for the 'good' of their jobs and families. No-one ever asks a man how he combines family and work, but they always ask a woman because she is the one who holds the family together. Women run their homes and families, not men. That's just the truth of the matter. And so many women work now, as well, that they do double and triple duty to keep it all together.

I know I am guilty of spending next to no time alone. I am probably without my children 3 hours every month which my friends say is unhealthy but what am I supposed to do - leave them home alone?

Good babysitters are hard to come by and they cost a lot of money. But I know it's up to me to simply say to my husband that I need a morning off some weekend, so I can go to the store alone (which is such a treat) or to go to a coffee shop and read for an hour. But for some reason I don't do it. I'm afraid the house will be a mess when I get home, thus causing another hour of clean up for me so it's not even worth it!

But it's me who can't walk away and just take a breather. Men do it all the time, I don't know why I can't.

March 2, 2008 - 3:20pm

Why are women supposed to be the ones who create the balance between work and family?

The reality is that most employers couldn't care less.

Moms make multi-tasking an art form. There aren't that many dads who can be as efficient, or reliable.

Women have a natural tendency to want to do it all and not ask for help. Thank goodness I had my mom, or I'd have been committed to the sanitarium, long ago.

Moms are women, first. It's okay to look like one. As Tim Gunn of Project Runway says, the most distressing thing he sees is the "slobification of American," referring to the sloppy condition the typical mom lets herself fall into, even though she may think she looks nice.

Everyone has an individual notion of what "balance" means. Letting go of things that don't really matter all that much allows you to find "balance," like not caring whether the baseboards are cleaned every week.

You know you've achieved balance when your family is happy. Happy mom or wife, happy family; that's the way it goes. Work should always come after family. You should never ignore yourself, but always keep things in perspective.

It's a tough job, and it seems women are best equipped to handle it.

February 29, 2008 - 7:38pm

The way I create a work-life balance is to think of my life as a book, with different chapters, and the overall "balance" happens when you look at the entire book. Each chapter does not have to be a forced 50-50% work-life balance. Sometimes it is 80-20%; other times it is 20-80%.

So, I had a chapter when I was in college and a young professional in my first "real" job, and worked many, many hours. My focus was work at 90%.

Then, I had a chapter where I became a mom, and slowly my work-life balance shifted to closer to 50-50%; sometimes it was 10% job and 90% "life"...

Anyways, you get the idea! I was so overwhelmed with trying (read: forcing) to make my life "balanced" that I wasn't happy no matter what I was doing. By giving my family my undivided attention when I'm with them (not thinking about work!!) and giving my work undivided attention (hee hee) when I'm at work helps me to feel more "purposeful" and "in the moment", which is how I define "balance".

February 28, 2008 - 2:21pm
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