It often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. And on top of work, there’s also family time that needs your full attention. So, how do you strike a balance? It’s not easy, but it’s important and completely doable to find time for both work and play.
For starters, wake up early everyday in order to maximize your time. And another key to achieving this work-life balance is prioritization: making sure you not only prioritize family but also yourself. That means making time for exercise, hobbies and healthy eating. The best ways to achieve these things are by creating habits and allocating certain times of everyday to do them.
To learn how you can effectively balance work time and family time, here are nine tips.
1. Wake up early
It’s not rocket science to figure out that waking up early gives you more time in the day to spend with family or to get things done at work.
Whether you wake up early so you can help your kids get ready for school or head into the office early so you can leave early, having those extra few hours will make it easier to balance work and family.
2. Make your to-do list the night before
Don’t wait until the morning to make your day’s to-do list. Instead, have the last thing you do at work be making your to-do list for the following day. That way, you won’t have to worry later on, you can leave work at the office and once the morning hits, jump right into things.
3. Make time for exercise
According to the American Heart Association, a healthy person should get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times per week. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
However, if you plan your days correctly, begin waking up earlier and being more productive, then hitting the gym right before heading into work or immediately after is entirely achievable. One tip for finding the time to exercise is by making it a habit and going to the gym at the same time everyday.
4. Have a sharp email cutoff time
Choose a time at the end of the day when you log out of email and don’t check it again until the following morning.
This time should be around 30 minutes before you leave the office. Depending on deadlines or current projects, there will always be exceptions but having a general cut off time for most days will help you be able to switch out of work mode and into family mode.
Another important tip for successfully doing this is by letting your colleagues and clients know the time that you won’t be accessible on your work email. That way they can plan accordingly too.
5. Establish boundaries
So you don’t get worn out and drive yourself into burnout, it’s important to establish limits and boundaries at both work and home. At work, make sure you’re 100 percent there for your clients, colleagues and teammates, and then at home, give your full attention to your family. Make these boundaries known to all parties, and most importantly, don’t feel bad by saying “no.” Being able to say no is exactly what will help you in establishing these boundaries.
6. Plan your meals in advance
So you don’t waste precious time thinking about what to pack for lunch or cook for dinner every morning and night, plan out your meals in advance.
Lesley Pyle, the founder and president of the National Association of Home-Based Working Moms, told Everyday Family in an interview, “Plan out your meals for the week ahead. Double your recipes and freeze meals for later use.”
7. Assign all of your errands to one day
Choose one day of the week to complete small errands and housework. That way you don’t spend precious time everyday running around trying to get the small stuff done. Also, don’t be afraid to rely on your family and delegate some of these tasks.
8. Find time for your significant other
When people think of balancing work and family, they typically only think of kids. However, your spouse needs attention too. If you have young kids, try allocating some time after they’ve gone to bed to catch up and see each other.
An article published in Family Life recommends having a regular date night, reading a book together or cultivating a common interest.
9. Let go of being perfect
We all strive for this idea of “perfect,” however it’s a harsh reality when we realize how far-fetched it is. That’s why you have to let go of perfectionism and instead, just be the best you can be.
Author and executive coach Marilyn Puder-York told Forbes, “As life gets more expanded it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to keep that habit of perfection going.” Puder-York suggests striving for excellence instead of perfection.