Question: "How do I strike a balance between work and family?"
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
I think one of the biggest issues facing both workers and employers is this issue of finding a balance between the demands from home and work. From new college grads who feel entitled to work-life balance to the baby boomers, many of whom are struggling with multiple family issues, there is no question that this topic is at the surface of many workplace discussions.
No matter where you are in life, everyone seeks a personal life outside of work. And as employees feel more and more demands to work harder and longer hours, this issue simmers and grows in importance.
Of course, only you can decide how to best balance work and family obligations. If you are dealing with a mortgage, college tuition payments, and financially assisting elderly family members, you will have much less flexibility than if you are more financially secure.
Still, achieving some sort of balance between work and family is critical to your mental and physical health.
Wondering if your life is in balance? Take our Is Your Life in Balance? Work/Life Balance Quiz. A Quintessential Careers Quiz.
And if your work and family life is out of balance, take the time to fix it before one or both aspects collapses.
Here are a few tips for rebalancing your work and family life. You can find more details on each of these tips here: 10 Tips for Getting Your Work/Life in Balance.
- Negotiate a Change with Your Current Employer. Cut back your hours or responsibilities, consider job-sharing, or other tactics.
- Find a New Career. If your current career path is too demanding, make a career change.
- Find a New Job. If your employer is unwilling or unable to change your job responsibilities, seek out a less demanding job elsewhere.
- Slow Down. There are opportunities every day for us to take a deep breath and slow the pace of activities around us.
- Learn to Better Manage Your Time. Avoid Procrastination. For some of us, it's not the workload as much as it is simply putting stuff off until we go into panic mode to get it all done in time.
- Share the Load. If you have a partner, don't hold it all inside where it bubbles and brews and only grows worse; instead, enlist your partner to help you deal with the tough stuff.
- Let Things Go. (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.) You can't change the people around you, so if there are people are policies that annoy you, find a way to just let that stuff go. Let small people continue to be small -- that's their problem, not yours.
- Explore Your Options. Get Help. When necessary, seek professional help.
- Take Charge. Set Priorities. Obviously some things are more important others.
- Simplify. Easier said than done, but find ways to simply your job and your life.
This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor's Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments. Read more.
See a list of all the most common college, career, and job questions -- and Dr. Hansen's solutions.
Who is the Career Doctor? Learn more, read his current career column, or browse the column archives when you visit the Career Doctor's homepage.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.