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Balancing Your Job and Family Life: 6 Tips To Make It Work

By The ZipRecruiter Editors

Striking a work-life balance is one of — if not the — most stressful aspects of being a working adult. Our modern society is driven by productivity, both at home and at work, which makes it increasingly difficult for us to feel as though we're adequately fulfilling either role. And if you have personal goals or aspirations, you may even feel guilty for considering taking time to do things you love just for you. 

But achieving this balance between your work and home lives is not impossible. If you make it a priority to give your all at work when you're at work and to your family and yourself when you're at home, you can achieve a healthy work-life balance.

These six tips can set you on the path to a more harmonious life.

1. Create your own routine

Building a solid work-life balance requires consistency and a routine. Creating a routine for you is more about balancing the time you spend "at work" and "at home," and the amount of time you devote to yourself, which is especially important if you work from home.

If you enjoy getting up early, consider blocking out your first couple of hours for household chores or devoting this time to work projects. If you have children, getting some of your daily tasks off your to-do list before they wake up means you can focus solely on them before they catch the bus to school. 

You can also build a routine that allows you to spend time participating in extracurricular activities. For example, if your children are in sports and there's a home game, consider packing a picnic-style supper your family can enjoy at a local park after the match.

Most of all, having a solid routine helps you keep tabs on your work and home responsibilities. When you're more aware of what you must do, and you can visibly track task completions, it helps eliminate the guilt you might feel when taking time out for yourself to relax at day's end.

2. De-stress

Feeling stressed by work at home or vice versa floods our brains with stress hormones. To feel a real work-life balance, performing low-stress activities — especially right after you get out of work — is essential for a clear mind and relaxed body, and help you avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms to handle the stress.

Here are a few things you can do to ease the stresses of life in general:

  • Take regular digital detox time.

  • Practice mindfulness.

  • Prioritize health.

  • Share work-related stressful emotions with family.

  • Accept help when it's offered.

Feeling relaxed and happy refreshes you for work and family tasks.

3. Establish your boundaries at home and at work

Another must-have when working towards a genuine work-life balance (especially if you work from home) is the creation of boundaries. If you struggle with boundaries in general, this is an important part of the process.

Creating boundaries means deciding what you will and will not accept, both at home and at work, when it comes to keeping these two parts of your life separate. Solid boundaries ensure that family distractions don't impair your ability to work, and that work responsibilities don't lessen your attentiveness to your family. These boundaries help you because mentally drawing a line between work and family helps you keep the two separate — but your boundaries can also help your family.

For instance, set a boundary with management at your job to help eliminate messages, phone calls, or emails during family time, such as:

  • Certain times of the year, like holidays, vacation time, weekends, etc.

  • Before or after a certain time of day, like no calls before 8:00 am or after 6:00 pm

Boundaries, however, work both ways. Establish rules with your family members as well that illustrate situations when it would or would not be okay for them to contact you while at work.

Other family time rules you could consider for all family members include:

  • Turning off your cell phone notifications at the same time every day

  • Not allowing cell phones or other devices at the dining table

When you create boundaries, you establish your priorities for that given day or time in advance, helping you avoid surprises that can throw you off your game and upset your work-life balance.

4. Build stronger bonds with your family

Cultivating strong familial bonds requires open communication on both big and small issues, as well as support for and understanding of your family members and their individual goals, aspirations, and fears. 

You can begin by sharing your work life — your wins, losses, and challenges — with your family members. Sharing how your life at work affects you can help your family see what they can't see while you're at your job. Knowing your struggles at your job can foster a supportive atmosphere at home and a better understanding of why you might want an hour to yourself when you first arrive home at the end of the workday. 

When you lend an ear to your family's lives, such as your partner's struggles or challenges at work or at home, or your children's challenges with school or friendships, you show you care about what they're going through, too. 

When communication flows unobstructed, everyone feels heard and understood, which leads to less knee-jerk reactions when you must spend the weekend on a work project or stay late for an end-of-day meeting.

5. Understand that imbalance will occur from time to time

Striving for an optimum work-life balance is commendable, but know that there will be ups and downs no matter how hard you work to maintain that balance. There could be days you feel like an utter failure, or your family feels neglected. Sticking to your routine and your established boundaries could be challenging.

For instance, boundaries you've set with your family to outline when it is and is not okay to contact you at work (and vice versa considering boundaries with your job) may be compromised when emergencies arise. The most important thing to remember is that these things happen. Striving for work-life balance is a work in progress.

It's important not to feel guilty or consider yourself a failure if:

  • You can't attend an important event at work because someone at home is sick and needs your attention.

  • You can't make it home in time for dinner because a work deadline was suddenly rescheduled for a week sooner, and you must stay at the office later than normal.

When unexpected events take you out of your routine, it's important to refocus as often as you can and tip the scales back in favor of a 50/50 work-life balance.

Strike a balance with ZipRecruiter

Your work-life balance is a work in progress. Partnering with ZipRecruiter can help ease some of the stress of finding a job more perfectly suited to the balance you're striving for. Start your search today.

The ZipRecruiter Editors

At ZipRecruiter, our mission is to connect employers and job seekers with their next great opportunity. On the ZipRecruiter blog, we use insider experience and data derived from our AI-driven jobs marketplace to provide advice and insights on topics such as the job search process, interviewing, and labor market trends. Start your job search or post a job today and connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

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