Module 29 - Team & Personal Development Series - Work and Family Balance - why is it important?
Work and Family Balance
I am sure this is not the first time you hear about the importance of work and family balance. Personally, it is a lot easier said than done. When at work, we have a multitude of projects, various assignments, emails, and other duties that we are responsible for as leaders. We, of course, do not want to fall behind and potentially miss deadlines set for us or by us. Therefore, we spend long hours at work or our business until the work is done, so that we are not shuffling work from today to another day. Sounds familiar?
Salary vs. Hourly
When you are on salary, especially if you are managing your own business, team, or department, you are not limited by 8-hour work day. Therefore, you essentially have the freedom to create your own hours and schedule, with main objective in mind – complete the work, project(s), or other important tasks that must be completed daily, weekly, and monthly. Sometimes, when you are able to complete all of your work early, you are usually able to go home sooner. However, you may also spend 12+ hours in the office, when you are overwhelmed with work or have a large project that you are working on with tight deadlines.
What we tend to forget as leaders, is to have a healthy balance between work and family. We often spend more time at our place of business and less time with our family and children. I will be the first one to admit that it is one of my biggest opportunity areas to this day. I tend to find myself with several projects and various reports that I am working on at any given time, and simply cannot leave the work that I can do today for the next day to work on, therefore, I will usually stay I the office until the work is done. Usually, tomorrow brings new projects and tasks that would simply add more to my project management queue. I am sure there are many leaders that find themselves in a very similar situation daily. When I would go to one of my previous bosses and ask if I can go home, he would always tell me: “If you can say that you have completed 100% of all of your work today, and you can put your stamp of approval on it, then you yes, you may go home.” What that thought me was not to transfer my workload to the next day, but to complete what’s on my to do list the same day without changing due dates.
How to create more balance between your very busy work life and to spend more time with your family and friends?
What I found that works for me is to commit in taking at least 2-3 days off each month and dedicate those days to my family only, not work. Sometimes it may require to not checking your work emails, of course, in this instance you would want to make sure that you have someone in your business that will be your back up while you are out of the office, and have your out of the office reply set accordingly. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about potentially missing or not responding to an escalated situation when it arises and needs an immediate attention. Same goes for taking vacation(s) during the year. If you company or your business offers paid vacation time, then it is a good idea to take some time off during the year and visit the places that you always wanted to visit. Being able to take several days off will require good amount of planning on your part to ensure that you have enough of vacation time available, your work is complete, and there are no outstanding projects that are pending. Everyone has their own preferences for where they want to spend their perfect vacation. If your idea of a perfect vacation is to go to the beach, taking road trip and travel across the United States, or maybe it is staying in the comfort of your own home and read books, whatever it may be for you, use that time for yourself and your family versus thinking about work. Believe it or not, but when you come back from vacation, you work will be there waiting on you.
Advantages of taking time off
When you occasionally take time off throughout the month and vacation or who during the year, you will stay refreshed, energized, full or new ideas, and ready to tackle whatever task may be in front of you. Good luck to you, and remember, you are the creator of a perfect work and family life balance, so keep it nicely balanced at all times.
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