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How do you balance a demanding business career with raising a family?


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John’s Answer

Austin balancing and prioritizing life can sometimes feel like a juggling game, and even though the balance will never be perfect, it might give you comfort to know that there are others out there doing the same thing. The key is to come up with creative solutions that work for you.

TIPS FOR BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES

Don’t feel bad to ask for help, and don’t feel guilty when people offer their help to you. Get the family to work as a team. For example: Ask the children to help with the cleaning, or get a family member to help with the cooking. This can buy you some time to focus on completing an assignment or on studying for a test.

SET LIMITS – With so many demands on our time, it’s hard to be everything to everyone. You may be juggling a number of roles and goals in your life. You want to be successful at work, enjoy a healthy couple relationship, be an involved parent. You may have goals of furthering your education, maintaining a home, contributing to your community, keeping to a fitness regimen, saving for early retirement. Further, you may be juggling extended family issues, like caring for aging parents or dealing with an illness in the family. All of these things take your time and energy and often run into conflict with each other. As there are only 24 hours in a day, you may have to think about your values and set some priorities based on those values.

DETERMINE YOUR WORKLOAD – Work weeks are when most of us tend to be the busiest. By preparing for Monday’s arrival, you can ease the stress of the week ahead. Keep a family calendar posted on the fridge. On Sunday, look at what’s on tap for the week and plan how you are going to manage the week. Where you can, make meals on the weekend and put them in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick reheat on a busy evening. This can be an activity where you can involve and enlist your older children’s help. Share your issues with your neighbours and friends who are facing the same work/home balancing act. You will not only benefit from the mutual support, but can also share ideas on how you manage your busy schedules. Look to share responsibilities with other parents. Take turns walking the children to school, driving the kids to their outside activities, babysitting each other’s children.

BE FLEXIBLE – Flexibility in your work life can bring an incredible stress release to a household. If it’s financially feasible, consider the option of part-time work. It may mean less financial freedom, but it may bring greater daily rewards and quality of life. Again, you need to consider your values and set your priorities. If possible, negotiate with your employer for flex hours or job-sharing that would be more conducive to your family life. There will be special moments in your children’s lives that may happen before 5:00 p.m. – a football game, a school concert, a speech. Most employers, managers, clients have families too and understand these family situations. Talk to your boss, explain your need to be there, have a plan in place as to how they can deal with your absence or you can get the job done in another way or at another time. Perhaps you can work with a colleague and spell each other off for those important family occurrences.

CREATE TIME – Schedule time to ensure that family time happens. Establish a family movie or games night. Make meal time sacred family time when you sit down together for dinner and take turns sharing the day’s events. Taking time for yourself has to be a priority. It’s something you should do no matter how tired you are. Drag yourself out the door to your fitness class, afterwards you will be in better humour and happy that you did something for yourself. Have your one favorite show a week and protect that time. In the work/home whirlwind, it is easy for two people, while living in the same household, to drift apart. Just as it is important to spend time interacting with your children, it’s important to spend time interacting with your partner. Set aside time for one another. On Friday nights, book a baby-sitter whether you have plans or not. Even if it’s just for an hour when you can get away and go for a walk together.

Austin there are going to be times when you will have to do a little extra to get things done, but that does not mean that you have to put your health at risk. Education can demand a lot of your attention and energy, so don’t forget to reward yourself: take a day off, enjoy a movie with the family, or go on an outing. A positive thought: When it feels like you are juggling 10 balls in the air, remember that your studies are only temporary, and that the goal is to advance your career so that you can create a stable life for yourself and your family. Let this inspire and motivate you to reshuffle your time and make the necessary changes to remain focused on your future.

Hope this was Helpful Austin

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Skylar’s Answer

Austin - the challenge of having a career while also raising a family is already tough under "normal" circumstances, but it has gotten to be even harder due to the unprecedented time we are living today. That being said, three ways to help navigate your way to balance are below:

1. Knowing your schedule and having a shared calendar with your partner for anything that falls outside the realm of work. This opens the lines of communication and shows efforts are being put in to spend time with the kids/your partner.
2. Making family dinners a number one priority. As the youngest child of a big family with a father who worked rigorous hours, having him at the dinner table every single night created a stability, support, and an unfaltering belief that I was the most important thing in his life (despite the long hours at work).
3. Carve out time for yourself. Whether it be a workout, meditating, walking, a podcast - it's crucial that you take care of yourself. One simply can't give their best, to a career or their family, if they don't take care of their own personal needs.

It is more common for people to put their careers before themselves or their families, so if you apply these three tools to your personal/family life, your work life will still be there for you to get after. Remember, you're doing great and to not be so hard on yourself. Enjoy this quality time you get to have with your family.

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Nicci’s Answer

Balancing a career and a family can be a challenge. One of the greatest blessings I am lucky enough to have and I think is a huge part of balancing a career and family, is support!! Not only a loving supportive partner, but family as well. There will be times that you need to be able to ask for help and having a great support system makes that so much easier!

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Nicci’s Answer

Balancing a career and a family can be a challenge. One of the greatest blessings I am lucky enough to have and I think is a huge part of balancing a career and family, is support!! Not only a loving supportive partner, but family as well. There will be times that you need to be able to ask for help and having a great support system makes that so much easier!

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Adolfo’s Answer

Hi Austin,

Great question! I recently came across an article pertaining to this topic so thought I would share it with you....

Balancing family and career is tricky for everyone. Each is important to us, and each makes demands on our time that, at times, require that the other to take a back seat. When you work at home, this is just as true for you as it is for your counterparts back at the office. However, work-at-home parents are faced with a different set of challenges when it comes to creating healthy work-life balance. We need to be proactive and take steps to manage these challenges. Here are seven ways to help achieve professional and personal balance.

Create and Follow Some Ground Rules

Journaling
Traveler writing in their journal. Woods Wheatcroft/Getty Images
Drawing some lines and boundaries around work is essential to creating a sense of balance for everyone in the household when one family member works at home. Creating some work-at-home ground rules for family members (both adults and children) can help set realistic expectations for what you can and cannot do in a workday.

Those who work at home will need to set some guidelines for themselves as well, so they can ensure that they are not working too little or too much, and avoiding distractions. It's not always the other people in our lives who may distract us; sometimes distractions come in the form of housework, TV, or social media. Identify your most common distraction and set a daily goal to deal with distractions.


Set Goals

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Whatever goals you choose—avoiding distractions, following your ground rules, growing your business, spending more time with family, or advancing your career.

The only way to achieve them is to work hard and put them in the forefront of your daily routine. It helps to break down your goals into a series of smaller goals. Whether short-term, mid-term, or long-term, make sure the goals are based on the solid foundation of your values.

Start with your overall vision and work backward until you identify what your daily goals must be to achieve them. Check-in and evaluate your progress periodically.


Get Organized

Work from home mother
AE Pictures Inc. / Getty Images
Create systems and routines to keep you organized both at home and at work. This might apply to business-related tasks such as tracking tax paperwork or improving your time management, or it might mean setting up a system for communicating with your children's school or creating a family calendar to keep track of everyone's activities. It takes effort to think out and implement different ways of keeping your life organized. Take time to do this, but don't let it bog you down—find what works for you.

The hardest part can be sticking to a new system. Don't wait until you've completely fallen off the organizational wagon. Give yourself monthly organization reviews, and pick a day of the month (1st, 15th, last, etc.) and look over your to-do list, files, or that pile of papers on the kitchen counter. If things aren't going as planned, get back on track (with help from your family) and resolve to do better.
Embrace Change

Man contemplating a career change or other decision
Martin Barraud / OJO Images / Getty Images
The effectiveness of your systems of organization and routines will change over time. Children grow, gain new skills, and have different needs. It's easy as parents to continue to do tasks our child should be learning because it is faster to do them ourselves. As parents, we must recognize when our children can take on more responsibilities and privileges, and when we must raise our expectations.

Our professional lives evolve too. Jobs and home businesses will not be the same year after year. Professionally, we must be nimble, looking for new opportunities, or smoothing the way through transitions at work. When you work at home, these two kinds of change in your life can become intertwined, and it depends on how well you embrace and plan for the inevitable changes.

Work the Right Amount

Mother working from home
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Unfortunately, the "right" amount isn't necessarily the amount you feel like working; it's the amount of work that provides the financial, professional, and personal balance you seek. And sometimes it's hard to know what that is.

If you are an employee, it's easy to become the worker who is available 24/7 because you work at home or, on the flip side, the slacker that never seems to be around when needed.

Likewise, independent contractors and business owners, who may not have a set schedule, can find themselves burning the candle at both ends and working late into the night to keep the income flowing. The other danger is that personal obligations keep them from growing the business. Keep your overall life and professional goals in mind as you set your work schedule.
Find ways to work smarter, either by multitasking wisely or prospecting for more efficient money-making opportunities.

Stay in Touch and Keep Learning

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Getty/ArielSkelley
Don't let working at home allow you to lose touch with new professional developments or slow you down from networking with colleagues. It takes a bit of extra effort on a telecommuter's part, but it is even more important for the worker who is out of sight to stay in touch. In an office, casual conversations alert us to changes in our industry or company, and home-based employees may miss out on that if they don't make an extra effort.

Subscribe to professional journals or get in the habit of checking news and websites related to your profession. Attending a convention or conference can be expensive, especially for the self-employed, but it may be worth it. Consider certification or degree programs in your field, joining professional associations, social networking sites, or web groups, and make a habit of reaching out to former colleagues or clients every so often with a quick note or call.

On the family side, networking is also important. Other parents at your child's school can help you improve communication with your child's school, as well as let you know about other events or opportunities that might be personally or professionally fulfilling. Neighbors and friends are a good source to learn about social and community events for yourself and your family.
Take Care of Yourself

self-care is important
Self-care is critical to a Working Mom's success. Getty Images/Drazen Lovric
When you work at home, career and family can blend in such a seamless way that it seems like there's no time for yourself. However, you must make time for what's important for your own mental and physical health. Exercise, creative endeavors, getting together with friends, etc., are the kinds of things that can get eliminated from our routine because we are so busy with our family and work obligations.

Prioritize building a routine that keeps time for you as an important goal. This could be a monthly spa day, a daily exercise routine, date night with your partner, a regular outing with friends, or time spent volunteering in your community. Figure out what you need and set aside the time.

That said, spending time with your family is likely one of the key reasons that you work at home. Be sure that time is quality time and you're not multitasking too much to enjoy the people you love. Keep in mind those reasons to work from home and enjoy your family.

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