Being a parent is tough; we all struggle to learn how to balance work and life. We must work to provide for our family…but at what expense?
Learning how to balance work and life can be the difference between living a life of joy or a life of failure. We all struggle to find the right balance. I know I struggle on an almost daily basis; it’s inevitable for us all. But it is not impossible to learn how to balance work and life.
I recently wrote a post about the Leadership of Boone Pickens. His son, Michael Pickens, quickly commented, “Boone Pickens is a farce.” No doubt about it, Boone did not know how to balance work and life. He’s admitted it a few times, though he’s taken steps to improve. You can see the comments on my post: Leadership Lessons from Boone Pickens.
The fact is, you don’t need to be a billionaire to have a good family life, in fact, billionaires rarely do. What you need is to understand how to balance work and life. Most people rarely give it any thought.
Here are my ideas on how to balance work and life:
1. Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work – We all need passion – I’ve written about its importance. Without a job and goals to pursue, you’d live a boring life. But what do you really gain by putting your passion before your family? Approach your job as a means to providing for your family. It’s ok to be passionate about your job, as long as you’re more passionate about your family; this is how you balance work and life.
2. Learn to Shift – I recently wrote on this as well. It’s important not to bring your troubles with your wherever you go. The same is true about your focus. I’m the worst at this. It’s hard to turn off my work-brain and turn on family-brain. However, if you neglect to shift your focus, you’re robbing both work and life.
3. Accept your Stage of Life – Knowing where you are in your life and what should be important to you now is critical to understanding how to balance work and life. The truth is, I can’t and shouldn’t bring my work home. There isn’t time for it. Perhaps, if I was older and my children were on their own, I’d have more free time. But that is not my stage of life. If I try to live outside my current stage of life, I’ll miss out on everything I should be enjoying. Time goes by too quickly for you not to learn how to enjoy the here-and-now.
4. Take Vacations – It’s ok to work late when you need to. It’s also ok to put your job before your family in a time of crisis. But you better turn around and make a deposit for those withdraws. You have to pay the piper; this is part of balancing work and life. Your family can only be placed on the back burner so many times. The same is true about your job. Don’t be the guy who works all day and doesn’t spend time with his family. Additionally, don’t be the guy who is always late to work, leaving in the middle of the day, and then clocking out early. Both situations will only lead to stress and discomfort.
5. Create a Routine – Just as you don’t have to think in order to breathe, you don’t have to think in order to do things you do on a routine basis. His is an important trick to helping you learn to balance work and life. Start work at the same time – end work at that same time. This creates bold barriers between work and life. The more you try to intertwine the two, the muddier the waters get and the harder it is for you to enjoy both separately.
Learning how to balance work and life is a daily struggle for most of us. It isn’t easy, but it is possible. The best way that I know to separate the two is by using the five practices above.
Why do you need to more balance between work and life?