By guest author Ani Chibukhchyan
There are many people who have successful careers, stable marriages, happy kids and who at the same time look good, find time for everything and are not stressed out.
I always admired them and wondered how on earth did they manage to do it? Many of us have much less responsibility and still feel tired, stressed and not always cope with the situation.
Then I went back to my experiences, recalled some mistakes and came up with a list of tips that will help us join the group of can-do-it-all happy women and men.
1. Stick to your working hours
Make a rule for yourself that you will not be working overtime. There is almost never any justification for working on weekends or holidays. Nothing will collapse at the office if you don’t, believe me.
2. Evenings are yours
Do not check your mail or pick up your corporate phone in the evenings.
If you are home only physically the effect will be the same as if you have not been back from the office yet. Evenings are for you and your family.
3. Schedule your housework
There are always many things to do at home. Things most of us do not like doing. So it is better to dedicate a specific time to them, get them done and enjoy your free time. It always works better than dragging out the unpleasant housework for the whole day.
4. Lunch time
If you take a quick bite you will be able to use the remaining lunch time to get some things out of the way. Take that dress to the dry-cleaner’s, buy that present, go to the bank, even fit in a 20-minute workout or simply meet your friend for lunch. A small task completed every day will free up your weekends.
5. Do not mix
One should realize that personal life and career are completely different and, even more, separate aspects of your life. They should not be mixed. Make sure you don’t bring your personal problems to the office and vice versa. The quality of your work should not suffer because of personal issues and your personal life should not suffer because of your career. If you don’t manage to separate the two then at some point you will have to make a choice. So do your best to keep the balance.
6. Get a hobby
Make sure that you have something else besides the household and work to be involved in –get a hobby. It’s important to have an enjoyable activity for the times when you are not at work , otherwise household, TV shows and kids will drag you into the state of a lazy lifestyle. You will not spend your time productively. In order to avoid that make sure that you have something exciting to do. Anything you like will do – reading, sports, writing, working on cars, whatever…
7. Include fun
If you stick to the schedule work-home-work life will not be exciting enough. At some point you may end up feeling like a robot. It will be very nice to get involved in different activities, which will make you get out of the office and the house. This will refresh your state of mind, make you change the usual environment and help you gain positive energy. Spend time outside with your family, go to dance classes, book club meetings – choose whatever fun is for you.
Needless to say that I do not believe when people say that having both career and family is not possible. It definitely is. Simply balancing the two needs extra organization, energy and commitment. And of course a desire, since many are quite happy by choosing only one out of the two.
What about you? What keeps you insane while balancing between home and career? Let’s make this list longer.
Anastasiya’s Note: I agree with Ani completely, finding a perfect career-family balance is challenging but not impossible. It means making decisions and sacrifices that help you live according to your deep priorities.
As I am writing this, my husband and I have just finished rewatching one of our favorite movies The Devil Wears Prada. It couldn’t remind me more about the importance of making the right choice that helps you be your authentic self. Some of us are Mirandas, while others are Andies and Nates. We can keep our balance only as long as we accept our deep life goals and priorities, and of course be prepared to deal with the consequences of our choices.
To continue Ani’s wonderful list I would add a few tips that I personally found helpful:
8. Learn to be assertive
Nothing can be more important in the work environment or even at home. There is no hope for balanced living if the only answer that you give anyone is “yes.” You need to be able to reject requests that are not important to you or interfere with your life (like hosting a family reunion at your house during the busiest week of the year or planning an office party because no one else wants to mess with it.) I talk more about how to be assertive and regain your life balance in my ecouse Reclaim Your Life in 15 days.
9. Schedule time for the unexpected
Try to plan only for 80% of your day and leave the other 20% for the last-minute project at work, a flat tire when you are taking your child to school, or a romantic surprise for your spouse. If you have any time left over at the end of the day try to get a head start on the next day’s tasks or enjoy a little break.
10. Have weekly talks with your spouse or your kids (if they are old enough)
Don’t make it official or too serious but schedule some time to talk over some household matters, discuss your work load or give some feedback about the relationships in your family. If all members of the family are living busy lifestyles it’s easy to lose the communication line and get lost in the chaos of misunderstandings and false assumptions.
How do you balance career and family? Share your tips and questions below.
Ani Chibukhchyan has left her 10+ year career behind and is in the transitional period of transforming her writings from hobby to lifestyle/career. Her blog Life Probabilities is about how to increase possibilities of fulfilled, happy and successful life.
Ani is also the author of Emotional Moments – her first book of short stories about life.