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Balancing Work and Home
The reality of today’s workplace is that more is being demanded of virtually everyone. At the same time, raising a family and maintaining a home can also be difficult and all-consuming. Too often, you may feel caught in the middle, with no time left over for yourself.
How can you regain control and achieve some balance between work and the rest of your life? The well-respected Mayo Clinic has some tips to help you get back on track:
- Write down everything you do – work-related and non-work-related – for a week. Review your list. First, see if there are things you can cut or delegate to others, either at home or at work. Then note what activities give you the most satisfaction, and see if there are ways you can increase the time available for those activities.
- Find out if your employer offers flex-time, telecommuting, job sharing or other options that may help you free up time that you currently are spending at work. Would it be practical for you to take advantage of any of these options, even once in a while?
- Organize your home jobs in a more time-efficient manner. Plot your errands so that you can do several at once. Do a load or two of laundry every day, so the mountain of dirty clothes does not overwhelm your weekend. Keep a calendar showing the important dates for everyone in the household.
- While you’re at it, consider whether your housekeeping standards are too high. An unmade bed or a few dirty dishes in the sink do not constitute a crisis. If you can afford it, hire someone to do the big cleaning jobs.
- Communicate clearly, both at work and at home. Take notes if you need to. Clearly understanding what needs to be done can keep you from having to re-do later on.
- Don’t feel guilty. You are not alone in trying to balance work and the rest of your life, and you have a right to both.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. If you have to, schedule time each day to do something you like. Exercise, take a bath, read a book.
- Plan one night a week for fun. Don’t do the laundry, don’t finish up that report for work, and don’t spend the night surfing the Net. Instead, spend time with the people you love, doing things you enjoy. Go bowling, play golf, go for a walk, see a movie. The important thing is to have fun together.
- Keep sacred your days off. Although you may have to work once in a while on your days off, you should not make it a habit. And don’t spend your whole weekend doing chores, either. Have fun.
- Get enough sleep. You think more clearly, are more productive and feel less stress when you are well-rested.
- Find and nurture a support system. Everyone needs people to talk to. Your partner, your family, your friends are all important to your support system. If you belong to a religious or social community, you probably also find refuge there. Value these people, and call on them when you need help.