Striving for excellence motivates us but striving for perfection is demoralizing.” Harriet Braiker
As a career woman have you found yourself in situations where you are pulled in different directions at the same instance, each having equal priority ? Say, your children beckoning you to attend the Parents Teachers meeting or buying some stationery or gifts for friends, elders requesting for replenishing exhausted medicines, spouse reminding you to pack his belongings for a business trip the next day, boss requesting you to attend meeting with customers on his behalf, when you yourself are required to schedule an important Go live or meet an important client besides keeping the appointment with the doctor for your aggravated health problems. Don’t despair, because, that is exactly what is happening to every career minded individual trying to balance work and home. You are put into a dilemma, which you are unable to cope with, resulting in increased stress and imbalance.
Agreed that Work, Family, Self, Society, Spirit are all equally important, and visualizing life to be game in which you juggle these five glass balls, you can imagine what damage you could do, if any one was to be dropped. As each of these are equally important, juggling them and keeping each one safe is what Work Life Balance is all about. Women are expected to play multiple roles throughout their life and work-life conflict occurs due to time and energy demands imposed by the diverse roles in equal proportion. She finds herself juggling many priorities, responsibilities, relationships, & pressures. Attaining Work Life Balance at all times, is difficult as it occurs all the time, but, we can develop practices that will warn us, when we go out of balance and help us to return to balance quickly and effortlessly.
One method which can be tried is the development of 3 essential ingredients which are: Awareness, Choice, and Energy or A.C.E which is a simple 3 step process with neither any investment nor any drain on your time.
First step is to listen deeply and become aware of 1) what brings you calm and fulfilment and 2) what throws you off balance. Be aware of those human needs which will bring fulfilment to you like the need for attention, the need to be more productive, esteem in the workplace, contribution to society, a sense of competence and achievement, being emotionally connected to others ( friendship, love, intimacy), and so on and those that will drain you like being stretched, physically, emotionally and mentally.
Then exercise the power of choice. Choose to release what drains you, and embrace what nourishes you and allows you to create the life you want. For making your choice you may be guided by your goals, relationships, ambition, environment, level of commitment, and your capability to focus, to achieve the same.
Next step is to act with energy to strike a balance, and experience more energy and power in your life. The more you realize that your life is created by your choices, you become more energetic and powerful.
By raising your awareness and exercising your choices, you will increase your ability to trust in yourself and reclaim more energy to create the life you desire . Your life is in your hands. Once you know that you have what it takes to achieve a work life balance that works for you, you’ll trust yourself to make better choices in other areas of your life and you’ll be able to change every aspect of your life. That’s right. You’ll have the life you want, not the life you end up with.
Some tips on how women can balance work with family
- Love what you do
- First and foremost make sure you’re passionate about your job, otherwise it’s impossible to do your best work, let alone balance it with family obligations, social engagements and hobbies
- Be organised and avoid procrastination. For many people, most of the stress they feel comes from simply being disorganized and procrastinating.
- Learn to set realistic goals and deadlines, and then stick to them. You’ll find that not only are you less stressed, but you work better too
- Take charge and set priorities. When overwhelmed, make a to do list, Set priorities, and then enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off the list as and when they are completed .
- Time Management ,
- Budget your time both in and out of the office – Schedule your time efficiently at work. Keep some time for you, your family and friends. Leave work on time at least few days per week. There are times when working late just can’t be helped, but schedule your time to leave on time at least few days a week.
- Don’t schedule your Personal or Work time so tightly that you can’t respond to unanticipated events and opportunities.
- Control interruptions and distractions – Stay focused while in the office.
- Learn to say no. Get rid of the clutter and baggage both in your house and in your life.
- Be in the moment at work or with family. When you’re at home, do the best you can at just being a mom. At work, do the best you can at being committed to your job.
- The key to creating an achievable work-life balance is setting expectations that are reasonable given your circumstances, and appreciating that at times these might need to be compromised but can be evened out in the future
- Try to schedule a block of time during the day without meetings when you can focus on your important tasks with minimal interruptions.
- Learn to manage your time by Planning, Prioritizing, Working Smart and Using Technology
- Get Help
- Delegate, even though we may sometimes feel we’re the only ones capable of doing something, it’s usually not so. Please delegate. Initially some coaching, mentoring, hand holding may be required, but it saves a lot of time for you.
- Share the workload fairly. Take time to negotiate responsibilities with your partner. Avoid conflict as much as possible by communicating with your partner, when you’re not angry, about how to distribute the work fairly. Who’s going to do the grocery shopping and the laundry? Who’s going to pick up your child from day care? Get your partner or other family members to help you, with your personal/ family responsibilities.
- Explore your Options. If you are feeling overwhelmed with family responsibilities, please get help i.e. if you can afford it. In many cases, you have options, but you need to take the time to find them like say , find a sitter for your children, explore options for aging parents, and seek counselling for yourself.
- Learn to outsource whatever you don’t like to do, or have no time to do. If you don’t enjoy cleaning the house, then pay someone to do it for you. If you don’t have time to bake homemade cake, make sweets or pickles, buy them
- Have fun and enjoy,
- Seize the weekend – Plan your time off as you plan your work week like say for your Hobby.
- Schedule activities with family and friends, a weekend trip, or just something fun. Make your time away from work count!
- Schedule in down time with your partner. You need to be more than parents once in a while. Treat yourself to a night out, or watch a movie together.
- Schedule in time for yourself. Busy working women need to recharge, so don’t feel the least bit guilty about taking time for yourself. Get out of the house with your friends once in awhile. Go for a new hairdo, or a picnic, or on window shopping
- Don’t neglect yourself. If you need to fit in a daily jog or exercise, relaxation, meditation, set aside some time for it .
- Lose Guilt
- Lose the guilt. You’re at work. As a career woman, you’re serving as a breadwinner for your family, and that’s an essential role. It’s not like you’re going to a resort every day.
- Don’t feel guilty. Take time for yourself, and try to have a sense of humor!
- Don’t feel guilty about making time for your family. Both work and family are important, and there will be times when you need to prioritize one over the other. This is normal over the course of a career and if you choose your workplace with care, your employer will respect your choices.
- Slow Down. Life is simply too short, so don’t let things pass you in a blur. Take steps to stop and enjoy the things and people around you. Schedule more time between meetings; don’t make plans for every evening or weekend, and find some ways to distance yourself from the things that are causing you the most stress.
- Let Things Go. (Don’t sweat the small stuff). It’s simpler said than done, but learn to let things go once in a while. So what if the dishes don’t get washed everyday or that the house doesn’t get swept daily. Learn to recognize those that don’t really have much impact in your life and allow yourself to let them go.
- Put housework lower on your list of priorities. Your child could care less if your kitchen floor doesn’t sparkle.
- Simplify and Work Smart
- Simplify. It seems human nature for just about everyone to take on too many tasks and responsibilities, to try to do too much, and to own too much. Find a way to simplify your life, and change your lifestyle
- Change work habits • Prioritize, Plan your time, Differentiate important from the urgent tasks, Organize, Don’t procrastinate These can increase productivity.
- Communicate with your boss and your co-workers. Open a good line of communication with your boss to make sure you are fully aware of expectations on job and of any concerns about your work. At the same time, inform in case you may need to take off, for your child
- Find a good child care. This can be a challenge. However, you’ll feel much better at work if you know your child is in good hands.
- Celebrate your successes and don’t dwell on your failures. Nothing is more important than happiness. Life is a process, and so is striving for balance in your life.
- “Plan, prioritize and Schedule as efficiently as possible… and don’t be afraid of hard work!” .
- Finally you need to find the right balance that works for you.
- So WLB is in your hands to be Aware, exercise the power of Choice and reclaim Energy
You may go through this book to find more tips and hacks