Balancing Work, Life, and Family (Part 3)

(Part 1 of this series is here, and part 2 is here.)

During this season of my life, I don’t have to worry as much about young kids or the typical stresses of life. But I still have to balance my work responsibilities and my passions.

Although my business is demanding in terms of sales and leadership, I have more freedom with my time, so traveling to see my children and grandchildren is a priority. I balance my love life and time with my friends with my travels around the world. In addition, I have Spiritual Direction clients that I usually see in the evenings or on the weekends. I enjoy writing my weekly blog posts too, so I have to plan time to write, exercise, meet with my family, and see my friends. I am a learner at heart, so in my free time, I like to read or listen to podcasts.  As I get older, I find myself praying, “Lord, teach me to number my days, that I may grow in wisdom.”

I encourage you to take time to figure out what you value most. That will help you determine how you will spend your time and resources.  And be sure to carve time out for self-care, since we usually end up at the bottom of the list. We all tend to give so much of ourselves to our spouses, children, loved ones and careers, so we sometimes start to feel run down or depressed, like we’re running on an endless hamster wheel.  

Not balancing our work and private time has real consequences for our health and relationships. When you’re tired and overburdened, your body, mind and spirit will suffer in the process. Always stressed? Stress weakens our immune system and can worsen the symptoms from any medical condition. And If you’re working too much, you might miss important family events or milestones. This can leave you feeling resentful and left out. Here are a few suggestions to help you start or maintain balance:

  • Create a list of your top priorities. Put family events on the calendar and keep a daily to-do list at home and work. Having a plan helps maintain focus.

  • Manage your time wisely. Cut out or delegate activities you can’t handle. Organize your errands or chores so you do a little every day; don’t save all the laundry for your day off. Do only what needs to be done and let the rest go.

  • “No” is a complete sentence. Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to take on an extra project or your child’s teacher asking you to organize the class party, remember that it’s okay to respectfully say no.

  • Leave work at work. With so much access to technology, you may need to set limits on taking work home or answering emails after hours.

Unfortunately, we can’t manufacture time. We all get only 24 hours a day, so it’s critical to set boundaries with work so we have time for the activities and relationships we enjoy. Once you figure out your balance between work and life, you’ll find you’re more able to be productive and happy both at work and at home.

Photo: Stokpic