Feeling a little overwhelmed trying to juggle the house, kids, job, school and more? Are you struggling to find a healthy balance between work and the rest of your life? Figuring out how to achieve a healthy work-life balance can be tough, but it's not impossible. If you're like most people, you may think you don't have enough time for both work and home life.
But what if you could not only meet your job responsibilities, but also spend quality time with your family? It’s no secret that juggling a career and a life is hard—really hard. But some people make it look easy. How do they do it? It may seem like an unattainable goal, but it's not. A clear understanding amidst every family member can help you make the most of your time together. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself and your family to help keep your home life and work life in balance:
What are our biggest goals as a family?
It’s not always easy and can take a lot of time and determination to maintain a healthy work-life balance, so it’s crucial that the family is on the same page and working toward a common goal. Are you saving up for a vacation, or a home? Perhaps just looking for a more peaceful day-to-day experience? Trying to tackle some educational achievements? Both work and home life aren’t one-size-fits-all, so it’s important that your goals are personalized to your family. Whatever it is that your family is working toward, get clear on how you all play into it. A defined goal will help drive you forward when things are tough.
What does an ideal day look like?
Whether your perfect work-life balance dream is to work less and play more, or to push hard now for retirement later, you should know how those goals play out in an everyday sense. What time do you want to wake up and go to bed? Do you want to volunteer, be involved in a church, or dedicate time to other community activities?
Too many people seem to live life without a plan. If you are doing totally different things every day, without a clear idea of when your priorities should be, that’s a problem. Envision every hour of a typical day with a healthy balance of attention to work and home, and communicate what that looks like to your family so that you’re all on the same page. This will make sure you end each day feeling satisfied, looking forward to the next.
How can we help each other more?
While many people start with a task-oriented problem solving approach, assessing your potentially-untapped strengths is one of the biggest ways to make meaningful change within your home. Have each person look inward with a truly honest eye, and ask themselves what they can do to make the situation better.
If you’re all feeling burnt out, it may be time to start rethinking the way you spend your time and focus on what you can control. This action-focused question will help kids and parents alike think about their capabilities in a positive way, and think through how their unique strengths can be used to further the family’s goals.
What items tend to be getting lost in the shuffle while at home, and how can we better prioritize them?
Luckily, managing a household really involves a lot of simple tasks that don’t require much strategy or thought. It’s time to start making small improvements to your routine, in order to see big changes in your life. You may find that very simple things such as dishes, clutter, or bills are piling up. Making sure that each person takes some ownership and responsibility for things like that can help everything be happier and less frazzled.
What tasks can we outsource to help things flow more smoothly?
If mealtime is becoming maddening, consider scheduling grocery delivery, joining a meal planning service, or just budgeting for pizza night once a week. If deep cleaning never seems to get done, you may consider budgeting for a housekeeper every other week - and at the same time, planning a fun outing for the family to get out of the space! This can help preserve a little extra sanity for everyone, and can also strengthen your family bond and communication skills so that future issues are handled with more ease.
Remember that outsourcing doesn’t always mean hand-picking the best person to do the job. Whether it’s a tedious cleaning task or organizing a specific area of the home, usually you simply need any human with the ability to take instructions. Don’t spin your wheels with extensive interviews! Ask a neighbor or friend for a recommendation, look on college job-seeking boards, check on Facebook Marketplace for people offering services or try out any of the numerous home task helper apps available.
And if you can't afford to hire someone, there are a lot of ways you can use technology to help juggle home tasks, too.
What specific needs does each person have in order to feel most fulfilled?
Asking this question can help ensure that everyone’s needs are being met. Kids may have certain hobbies that they want to get on the schedule. Mom or dad may need time for self-care or a date night. Make sure that the needs of each individual are not getting lost as you focus on work and household tasks.
Always remember that a career, home, and relationships are interconnected. Ultimately, success in life often stems from finding a balance, and we fail miserably at achieving that balance when it’s heavily tilted in one direction or the other. Always put your family’s peace first, and the rest will work out.
Your personal answers to the above questions may vary, but one thing is certain: your answer to these questions can only be discovered through open, honest conversation. Work-life balance is a journey that differs from person to person, and what works for one may not work for another. Whatever your unique path to balance is, know that you are not alone in your quest.