How to Balance Home and Work

3 steps to finding a happy medium between, family time and "me time"

Balancing home and work is an act worthy of the circus tightrope. As more and more households include two working parents and children of various ages, balancing work and your relationships at home, as well as your “me time,” can be difficult. However, there are some strategies you can use to balance work and home life. Because our bodies and minds seem to crave balance, these techniques just might be helpful in improving your physical and psychological health as well.

Step 1: Plan well

In order to perform any kind of balancing act, planning is necessary. Deb Gebeke, a Family Science Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service, suggests several ways in which you can make preparations in order to succeed. For instance, you can remove some of the stress and hassle of getting yourself and your kids ready in the morning by going to bed earlier, waking up earlier and planning outfits and packing lunches the night before.

Planning also includes grocery shopping and anticipating the struggles of the day so that you don’t have to make rushed, last-minute decisions, which can lead to more stress. When you’re less stressed, and you’ve planned more, you can devote more of your time to both the necessities of work and home.

Step 2: Schedule your priorities

Balancing work and family time can be exceptionally challenging when you have large demands coming from both areas. The best way to make sure everyone — including yourself — gets the attention that they need is to prioritize.

According to Federal Occupational Health, you can prioritize by making a list and ranking items in order of most to least importance. You don’t want to forget to schedule time for yourself and for rewards on the list, though. Gebeke recommends rewarding yourself when you plan well and manage to make your life easier because of it. For instance, she suggests scheduling a reward for being at work on time. When you build all of these events into your priority list, you can manage how to take care of what is important to you and how to restructure your time to give more of it to those people and activities that top your priority list.

Step 3: Give yourself a sense of accomplishment

In order to avoid burnout, you need to take some time to be happy. That means giving yourself a pat on the back once in a while. Write goals and to-do lists, and then physically cross the items off as they are done, or as your goals are achieved. You’ll be surprised how good you feel when you’ve accomplished something, and this can remind you that what you’re doing is worthwhile.

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