We live in a society where our jobs demand a lot from us. As someone who wants to succeed and over-achieve, it can turn you into a workaholic. However, it’s essential to make sure that you don’t put aside family time for work.
It’s essential to have a healthy work-life balance. Many divorces happen because a spouse is never around. In fact, according to a study done by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a marriage with a workaholic spouse is twice as likely to divorce.
You can avoid this statistic by taking steps to keep your work balanced with your life. Here are 15 ways to ensure that your work doesn’t overtake your family time.
1. Have a cutoff time for work.
When you’re really into your work, and you’re making significant progress, it can be tempting to keep working. You may think that if you push, you can get the job done well before the deadline, making you the star employee. Maybe if you just put in some extra hours, you’ll get that promotion, raise, or recognition you’ve been craving.
This desire to continuously work is simply ambition. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. There is also nothing wrong with being a workaholic – when you’re single.
However, when you have a family, you need to spend time with them. You need to have a cutoff time for work so that family time can begin. If possible, set this time in stone so you’ll have an exact transition point.
2. Focus on work during work hours, so you get it done.
If you have a fair bit of freedom with your job, sometimes you may get distracted during the time that you’re supposed to be working. With so much happening around you each day, it’s easy to lose focus. Social media, friends and family, events, news, and more can take up some of your focus.
When this happens, it can distract you from getting your job done promptly. Then, later in the day, you may find yourself rushing to get your work done. You may end up having to work late because you didn’t manage your time efficiently.
Don’t be a victim of time mismanagement. Find a way to focus on work during work hours, so you don’t have to work overtime. This will allow you to prioritize time with your family like you should be doing.
3. Don’t miss important family events.
Work is always going to seem like it’s so vital that you can’t put anything above it. However, you need to remember that it’s not an essential thing in your life. Your family is the most crucial thing in your life, and you don’t want life to pass you by while you’re stuck in the office.
This means you shouldn’t miss out on important family moments. Birthdays and anniversaries should never be put off because of work. Your kid’s recitals or baseball games should never be missed because you must go into the office.
Remember, these are moments that you can’t get back. Work will still be there tomorrow.
4. Don’t bring your work home.
Unless you have a work-at-home job, you should never bring your work home with you. In fact, that goes against the first point – having a cutoff time for work. If you follow the first bit of advice, you won’t have to worry about bringing your work home.
Work is work. Home is home. You should never mix the two. Give your family your full attention at home. Your family understands that your job is essential, but they need to know that they aren’t second-place in your life.
It’s understandable if you need to bring work home once in a blue moon. However, it should never be a regular thing.
5. Set work boundaries.
Your job, boss, and coworkers will take as much from you as you allow them to. This means if you don’t set clear boundaries, they’ll contact you and demand from you around the clock if they need to. Even if you’re not at work, they’ll continuously contact you, which can eat into your family time.
You’ve probably seen people on vacation, but their phones are constantly ringing with work-related issues. Perhaps you’ve seen that person at a family function, but they’re obsessed with a flurry of emails. Don’t be that person.
When it’s family time, work should be put on the back burner. Let your boss and your coworkers know this in advance, and stick to it.
6. Take days off.
If you have days that are scheduled off, take them off. These are days where you can focus on family and other parts of your life. Don’t let your job drag you in on those days.
Your days off are meant for you to recharge, so you don’t burn out. After all, what good is working if you never have time to enjoy the fruits of your labor? These are days where you can put your family first, so don’t boot them to second place if your job calls.
Your job isn’t going anywhere. It will be there on your next scheduled day. Plus, not going in on your days off will help your bosses learn to manage the schedule better. It seems like you’re helping everyone by not going in on your days off.
7. Remember, you have a life outside of work.
Work isn’t everything! Or at least it shouldn’t be everything. If it is everything, you really need to get a life.
There is a whole world outside of your office. If you’re always working, your family is out enjoying that world without you. They probably won’t even get to tell you about it because you’re not even around for a conversation.
Work is important, but you only get one life. Take the time to enjoy all that it has to offer and make lasting memories with your family.
8. Make sure you’re valued at work.
You may not have thought about this, but your happiness at work can have a direct impact on how you interact with your family. If you’re miserable at work, a place that you’re spending a large chunk of your day at, you might bring that feeling home with you. Your family will be able to tell if you’re feeling miserable.
Make sure that you love your job and that you’re valued at work. You’re human – dealing with bad vibes and emotions all day will end up wearing you down. You don’t want those vibes to affect your family life. The best way to keep this from happening is by avoiding them altogether.
9. Make your family feel special.
If you know you’ve been working a lot lately, maybe it’s time to do something special for your family. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive (unless you can afford it). Small surprises go a long way.
Although doing extraordinary things for your family makes them feel good, it can also keep you grounded. It will remind you why you’re doing what you do.
Seeing how much they love your special gesture, and more importantly, how they love sharing that special gesture with you can make family time that much more special. You’ll begin to crave that time and affection, so you’re more likely to make sure that work doesn’t overtake that particular family time.
10. Remember why you’re working in the first place.
Working when you’re single is vastly different from working when you’re married with children. When you’re single, your primary focus is probably something along the lines of promotions, raises, being the MVP at work, and climbing the corporate ladder. However, having a family changes that focus (or at least it should).
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be ambitious if you have a family. It merely means that the most important thing to you has changed. You’re working for your family. You’re working to make sure they’re taken care of.
Your family is not okay if you aren’t around. They need you. Yes, they need a house and a car and other things, but keep in mind that the reason you’re working so hard in the first place is your family. Don’t ever put your job ahead of them.
You love your job. That’s wonderful, primarily since you’ve worked so hard to get where you are. However, you may find that your job isn’t as fulfilling if you don’t have anyone to share the successes with.