If we’re honest, some seem to do this better than others. Balancing work and family while striving to advance your career can seem like a 25-hour project in a 24-hour day. Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem possible. Yet some people seem to be masters at the craft of discovering lost time in the day. However, if you were to sit down with these masters of time, you would likely find out that they are but mere mortals with some honesty about what is important to them. Herein lies the key to your path down the same road.
What Do You Value?
People are amazingly self-actualizing. They do an excellent job of pursuing what they value with incredible resiliency. However, the conflict in the busy employee often comes from not being clear about what they value. Moreover, if they’re able to list out their priorities, they must then ask themselves if they were truly being honest. If you are having trouble identifying what you truly value, then simply look back over the past 60 days to examine where you spent your time and money. That may produce an “ouch” moment for you, but the path to balance must go down an honest road.
You see, if you’re going to start prioritizing the limited time you have with family, it’s important that the time is spent in the ways that give you the most bang for your buck. Do you value eating dinner with your family every night or getting home in time to read stories to your children before bed? If so, you have to realize that if work is only going to give you a few precious hours every weeknight with your family, then making them count is step number 1. When you find joy in these limited hours, you will be amazed at how you start to find more ways to grow that time.
Contribute to the Whole Person
When you start evaluating what you really value, you will realize that you are more than the 8 to 10 hours you work every day. Consequently, the question of finding work/life balance begins with contributing to this whole person. Franklin Covey would identify it as “Sharpen the Saw,” but the premise of contributing to these often neglected parts of yourself will help both work and family.
When you are at work, it will always seem like a draining experience if you feel that the job has nothing to offer you as a whole person. Moreover, the joys of a family can easily become burdensome if little attention is given to the other parts of your life that bring you joy. An essential element in balancing work and family is ensuring that the version of you that shows up to each place is whole and complete.
The truth will always be that no more than 24 hours exist in a day. So if you have chosen a career path that is going to put work and family in constant competition for those hours, then you simply must evaluate how to maximize the time you spend with each. Showing up a complete person who knows what they value will be a huge step in the right direction.