What is the key to work and family balance?
Unyielding pressure from family, high-pressure jobs, recession money woes and social duties can make even the best multi-taskers feel robotic. Multi tasking has its place (e.g. unloading the dishwasher while talking to your mother) but when it comes to the important work, it can do more harm than good. We can learn to minimize our frustrations of feeling out of control of our lives by incorporating more balance into them. You will be ready to tackle any challenges that life throws your way if you feel even-keeled. The trick is to find yourself, focus on what’s important and sharpen your time management skills in order to have a chance at finding balance.
This will be a series of discussions.
To say, “find yourself” sounds funny. It is so easy, especially for women, to lose our identities once we become mothers. We are so busy doing for others that we forget about ourselves, and even worse, who we are! What happened to that talented young woman with her own dreams? She was buried alive by Doctor Appointments, PTA meetings, sports schedules. Men suffer from their own form of this too, when they become solely work focused. It is not wise in this economy to tie self-worth to your job. It can disappear overnight taking with it the man’s sense of identity leaving him grappling with a real sense of loss. We all need to take time for ourselves and assess who we want to be in this world (besides our roles of parent or a worker bee). What is important to you today? Where do you want to be in five years? Ten years?
Many people have great difficulty answering these type questions when pressed. Can you give specific answers? It’s worth taking the exercise seriously because clarity truly is power. If you don’t what you are aiming for then balance will be elusive and time will be wasted. Why? People without a sense of direction have a big tendency to over commit and have trouble saying “no”. If it’s clear to you that in one year the goal is to have built a successful part time business, (or whatever the goal is) than it becomes simple to say, “I’d love to help out but my calendar doesn’t allow it.” You are staying true to yourself by turning down unwanted requests and isn’t that a large part of achieving balance?