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Balancing Work and Family: How to Juggle with Ease

Is it possible to balance work and family? Or is work-life balance a myth, an unending and unachievable pursuit?

The average person spends roughly one-third of their life at work, with another one-third spent sleeping. That final chunk of time is all that’s left for everything in our personal lives. And each relationship and area directly and dramatically affects the whole.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Creative professionals at work

To Achieve Work-Life Balance, Stop Settling or Tolerating!

Do you remember the last time you were short on sleep? Not as sharp or motivated at work, right? And perhaps a little more grouchy at home? Yup!

If we work too much, personal relationships suffer.

If our marriage is a battleground with constant fighting and arguments, it can sour every other part of our life!

Balancing work, life, and family is a continual juggle. Or is it?

  • Have you set a ceiling of expectations so low that you've become comfortable with stress?
  • Are you tolerating a crazy, unreasonable schedule and expecting yourself to do too much, including pleasing everyone?
  • Your high-paying job may pay for the mortgage and for some travel, but are you miserable and unfulfilled?

Once we look squarely and honestly at our lives, we can make many helpful changes.

Work-life balance is a continual juggle.Years ago, I coached a professional woman who had settled in her marriage and career. When I mentioned that the quality of each depended on her mindset and choices, she was taken aback.

And when I suggested that they both could be amazing, I really got some pushback!

I’ll never forget what she said. "I always thought that if I could just stay afloat, I’d be OK. I was never aiming for amazing, not in my marriage or my work."

The insight sunk in slowly. (You can't change anything if you don't believe it's possible.)

She was hungry for change and a thriving career was important to her.

First, we focused on shifting her work since it was the most stressful. I recommended she write down exactly what her work life and workload would look like to be amazing. Her assignment was to design her ideal work, clients, income, work schedule, downtime, creative time, and family time.

This detailed design provided her with the specific changes she needed to make for a career she loved and a family that nurtured her. Once we know an ideal, we can determine what thoughts, emotions, words, and behaviors don't match that outcome. 

Increase Self-Awareness to Enhance Life-Work Balance

The first step to change is gaining self-awareness.

An effective way to increase awareness is through simple sorting exercises, such as identifying what's working and what's not working in your life. Many times, when we procrastinate, it can act as a stop sign to alert us that there is a need for a change.

By determining what is stressing or draining you, often, small shifts will free up time and present new opportunities. Identifying those areas that energize and fulfill you, it's much easier to add more or find variations of what you love.

The following exercise will help you spot areas that need improving or are out of balance.

Awareness Exercise

Make a list with two columns (like the one below). Sort your activities and consistent responsibilities by marking them under the appropriate category.

For instance, your regular a.m. workouts at the gym are working fabulously. It starts your day off strong and energized. (Workouts go in the left column: WORKING).

However, your time allotted to the school board may be too stressful now that you have an infant. (This responsibility goes in the right column: NOT WORKING.) Or you're feeling like the division of labor in your family is lopsided, and your chores feel overwhelming to you. (NOT WORKING) You love your date night every Friday with your husband. (WORKING)

Working, not working exercise for sorting and planning.When you get done with this exercise, you'll know the areas you'll need to focus on for better work-life balance.

Once you complete it, prioritize them and pick the one that would make the most significant difference if you changed it. Or you can also begin with the easiest to shift, which primes the pump of action. Whatever you decide, pick just one and act on it!

After each change is in play and becomes a habit, convert another "not working" item. Continue until you have replaced or improved everything in the right column!

The goal is to design your ideal life, work, relationship, and family—one change at a time!

Revisiting and updating this ideal design at least once a year keeps you up-leveling and navigating a successful path forward.

Brain tip on sorting and categorizingBy applying simple practices such as the one above, we utilize the fast processing speed of the unconscious brain. These techniques use associative thinking; this part of our brain loves to sort, categorize, and make connections. We benefit from greater clarity when we apply this focus intentionally.

Life-Work Balance: Stop Juggling Too Much and Delegate!

Another common challenge and obstacle to ease, especially for mompreneurs, is a feast or famine mentality regarding income. After completing the exercise above and discovering what's working and not working, you'll be able to better shift this dynamic.

However, if you’re struggling in your personal life or at work, asking for help can feel like one of the hardest things to do. But it is often a lifesaver. If you run your own company, it’s easy to feel like you have to take on every role yourself, but delegating or asking others for help, allows you to focus on your passion and best skill sets.

Avoid spreading yourself too thin by trying to do everything as a business owner. Or trying to be a super mom. And if you have trouble keeping your work, life, and family balanced, calling in a business coach or having a heart-to-heart with your boss can be just the help you need.

Make a Digital Vision Board to Reinforce Your Goals

A great tool to reinforce the suggested actions above is creating a digital vision board to envision an ideal life. Not only does a vision board help to clarify what’s most important to you, but it will also seed your unconscious with the ingredients to take more effective actions toward your goals.

For information on our Business by Design coaching programs, try our complimentary Discovery Session or check out Heartmanity for Business.

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Jennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence CoachJennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence Coach
Jennifer is the Heartmanity founder and an emotional intelligence expert. She has two decades of EQ experience and is the author of emotional intelligence training and courses. As an emotional fitness coach, Jennifer teaches EQ skills, brain science hacks, and a comprehensive approach that gets results. She is happily married and the mother of three incredible grown children.

Posted in Business and Leadership, Emotional Intelligence & Fitness

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