7 Tricks for balancing work and family
Do you feel like your work time versus family time ration is all out of whack? Drop the guilt and embrace these 7 tricks for balancing work and family.
Time management tricks
Unless social media is part of your job, resist the temptation to jump on facebook or twitter during work hours. "You need every minute of your office hours and you have no time to waste on distractions and disruptions," says Heather Allard, The Mogul Mom.
She suggests you then break up your office hours into smaller chunks of to-dos. "Maybe you use the first 30 minutes to bang through your 10 oldest emails and use the next 20 to check your @ replies on Twitter. Then maybe you make a 10 minute phone call before using your last 60 minutes to write the sales page for your newest product launch. Write down these bite-sized to-do's in your daily calendar and then take pleasure in checking them off, one by one."
Ditch the daycare guilt
Many moms feel guilty that they can't stay home with their child and must send them to daycare, but think of all the positive skills they are learning!
"I learned early on that daycare is not going to make a mess of my child," says Julie Kertes, mom of three with a full-time career. "In daycare, children learn to be social, to problem solve, to soothe themselves, to share; and they also learn that not every person with whom they come into contact will be nice and nurturing and may steal their crayon or pretend to shoot them with a pretend gun. It's here in daycare where they learn to deal with it."
Take a technology break
Make an effort to give your children and husband your undivided attention after work by turning off your mobile phone and taking a break from the computer – and insist they do the same. "Spend quality time with family (Yes, that includes your husband) and when you ask, 'How was school today?' -- you'll be able to actually listen for the answer," says Kertes.
Taking care of a sick kid
It can be difficult to maintain the work and family balance when you must stay home with a sick child, but Kertes says you can stay on top of your game by working from home.
"Taking care of your family is a good thing, and it's okay to move it to the top of your priority list – above work," she says. If it is a regular check-up, such as the dentist or well visit, schedule appointments on Friday afternoons when business is slower for most companies, Kertes suggests.
Snuggle with your kids at night
"Try not to make bedtime a rushed affair," says David and Andrea Reiser, authors of Letters from Home. "We suggest building in ten additional minutes to snuggle with each of your children, to tell them just how much you love them and to tuck them in. It's ultimately the little pockets of time you're able to spend with your children that make them and you feel loved and connected!"
Plan to attend special events
You may feel too busy at work to fit in one more event into your daily calendar, but the Reisers say it is important to attend all of the sporting events, recitals and awards ceremonies that you can.
If there is a special event you can't attend, try to have another family member or friend be there in your place. "Plan ahead to have your spouse, parent or other loved one attend and make sure that this person takes pictures or videos the proceedings," says David. "Later, you can look at the photos or video with your child and ask for his commentary -- peppered, of course, with compliments from you!"
Explore working at home or as a contractor
If the commute is taking away precious time with your family, explore other options. "When people have to commute to work every day, much time is spent readying for work, commuting to and from work and unwinding from work. All of this can be avoided by working out of your home some of the time or all of the time," says psychologist and author of The Directory for Building Competencies Dennis Kravetz. "Another attractive option is to be a private contractor for your employer -- instead of working for them as an employee, you work for yourself and they pay you by the hour or day as a contractor. "