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Balancing Work and Family

Are you finding it difficult to create a good balance between work and home life?

When you are working in the same place where you play with the kids, cook dinner and do your housework, it can be hard to separate the two. That’s when you end up doing laundry when you should be finishing a report, or spend your evening working just because you walked over to check your email.

But, this picture is not bleak! It is hard to manage all your priorities and isn’t it better to do it all under one roof? When everything you have to do is in one place, the possibilities are endless. Even the President of the United States does it!

Setting a schedule of when you work and when you are available for the rest of the family is another great tool. Sit down with your significant other and come up with a few blocks of time each day or week that you can work uninterrupted. Sure, you may need to check email or take care of some simple tasks outside of those blocks of time, but having a few hours each week when you can expect to work while your husband, mom, or babysitter takes the kids to the park or plays with them) will allow you to get the majority of your work done.

Ensure that the entire family respects this time and understands that you still have a career role. This does depend on your career and the clients you work for, but setting a work schedule will keep you free from stress and in balance.

At the same time, set aside some that is just for the family. Don’t forget to give yourself one or two days a week off from work, just as you would if you worked outside of your home.

Once you have a schedule in place, do your best to stick to it.

Set some rules for the rest of the family. Make sure they know this is serious work you are doing and that you expect their support. For example, if the rule is don’t bother mom while she’s working unless it’s an emergency, don’t let them interrupt you to find out what’s for dinner. If you stand your ground on your work rules, they will quickly become habits for you and the rest of the family, making it easier and faster for you to get your work done. Don’t forget to reexamine every once in a while if you are still achieving a good balance between work and home and adjust accordingly.

You may feel that finding the balance is difficult, but you don’t have to let it be difficult. Schedule each day and follow it. Yes, there may be times that you may need to be flexible and change the schedule, but as long as you remember what is important to you personally, you will be in balance.

GETTING IT ALL DONE

Your list of things that need to be done seems to be getting longer each day. Here are a few things you can do to get more done in less time. Give them a try and see if there aren’t enough hours in the day after all.

Avoid Productivity Killers
We all have some things that just kill our productivity. This could be anything from having a radio or TV playing while we try to work, to having too big of a to-do list or knowing there is still something on the list you just don’t want to have to do. Find those things that kill your productivity and do your best to get rid of them. Find a quiet place to work or adjust your to-do list. Do whatever it takes to keep you motivated and productive.

Prioritize
Before you start any work, take some time to determine what is most important and most urgent. What will make the biggest difference to your bottom line. Grab a pen and prioritize what you need to get done today and then sort by importance and urgency. A great way to do this is to number the items on your list 1 being the most important, 2 the next important one, etc. Then just work your way down the numbers until you run out of time. This way you know the most important things keep getting done, no matter what.

Automate
Periodically take a look at what you are doing and see if you can’t automate some of those tasks. There are all kinds of software available that will make your life easier. Set up a helpdesk for customer inquiries and use a shopping cart to have electronic products delivered automatically.

Outsource
If you can’t automate it, see if it you can outsource certain tasks. Anything that’s repetitive, or that you simply don’t enjoy doing is a task that can potentially be outsourced. It may be worth paying someone $10 an hour to take care of those tasks if it allows you to focus on higher paying work, or growing your business.