A version of this post was originally featured on Career Optimist.
I often get asked how I manage to balance work responsibilities with the responsibilities of a growing family. The truth is, it's a challenge everyday and it's something I have to continuously work at. But, there are some tips I've learned over the years that help me achieve some balance, or at least enough where I'm satisfied. Here are some of my tips for maintaining work-life balance:
Forget The Perfect Balance
Yes, achieving the perfect balance between your work life and home life is a great idea but the truth is it's not realistic. Just like it's unrealistic for partners to expect everything to be 50/50 in a relationship, you're not always going to get the perfect balance with work responsibilities and your outside of work life.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Whatever can get thrown on the calendar can and the more in advance I can plan, the better. It's much easier to fulfill a to-do list or a project when it's on my calendar and I can anticipate it, whether it's a new client meeting or a fundraiser at my daughter's school.
Use Your Breaks
I always see employees forfeiting their lunch hours to get more work done. Sure, there are times when you can't pull away from your work but many times, we forgo lunch to give others the appearance that we're working hard or that we're dedicated to our jobs. Trust me, no one thinks less of you for taking a break. Whenever possible break up your day. If I'm not able to take a full lunch hour, I always make an effort to at least take 15 minutes for a walk or to clear my head. I always go back to work refreshed, and less stressed.
Make Time For Self Care
Self care is especially important when you're balancing different acts. Foregoing self-care in the name of work will not get you ahead, it will make you resentful! Self-care can be anything that recharges you and makes you feel like you're taking care of yourself and that you're making yourself a priority. That can be making time for working out 30 minutes a day or reading non-work related books or maybe taking up a new hobby.
Just Say No
I'm a big advocate of saying. "No." "No" to parties I can't attend, "No" to projects I'm not interested in or "No" to volunteering if I simply don't feel like it. The truth is, for the most part, I want to attend a lot of functions and be involved in a lot of things but part of managing my time effectively means being picky with how I spend my time. Quality over quantity, right? The good thing about this is that if I'm somewhere or with someone, I truly want to be there.
What are some things you do to maintain work-life balance?