The working world has changed greatly, which has placed more workplace demands on parents and families. Take these facts into consideration:
- The amount of full-time workers who were parents who worked full-time has grown from 18% to 26% since 1968
- Almost one-fifth of the working population gave care to a person over age 50 in 2008. Most were women.
- Americans worked an extra 40-hour work week in 2000, compared to the ten previous years.
- Three-fourths of employees believe they have more on-the-job stress than the previous generation.
- Anti-depressants and anti-ulcer medications are the top selling drugs worldwide, and stress is said to be the major need for both.
Given the challenges people have to face when trying to balance the demands of work, family, personal life, health and mental well-being, how can people manage it all in a 24-hour period?
It’s easy to get frustrated with the highs and lows of life. It’s critical to define what is most important to you. Create a personal and family value statement. It will help you think about what is most important. Defining what is most important will make everything else seem easy.
It’s important to think about the long term views when you are thinking about your work-life balance. You will only have your children with you for one quarter of their lives before they have their own lives. The guidance you give them while they are growing up is indispensable later in life.
We are regularly faced with choices that are good, better, and best. To increase the value of your time in any situation, consider all of your choices and choose the best one. You have to invest time in an activity in order to get most value out of the time.
Some activities may not even qualify as a good use of time. For example, sitting at your computer and surfing the net with no purpose is not a good use of time. Think of ways to make your life easier and realising your priorities will be a worthwhile experience. Look for the things in your life that have no value and figure out how to leave them behind.
Practice good time management skills. Some people waste a lot of time waiting for things to get done that are outside of their control. Others have a tendency to get in, get something done and then get out. Most of the time, though, there are barriers that keep them from finishing what they start. Using a type of “getting things done” model will change the way you think about time management and being productive. A good way to manage time is to use a calendar for all the demands on your time. It will help you miss fewer important things and have fewer scheduling conflicts.
Whatever strategy you have, make time management a priority. Be flexible, though, because things do sometimes change. Even with all the planning and thinking ahead, it’s important to remember that things don’t always go according to plan. There will be things that may be more valuable that need your attention. Don’t feel bad if that happens because it does happen from time to time. But do remember to work toward your personal mission, and if you feel that you are out of balance, get back in line.
Try to work for an employer who shares your values. Sometimes the demands our employers put on us can be disruptive to our ability find balance in our lives. Family friendly employers are highly sought after and they are out there. You just need to ask when interviewing. If you work for a company or in an an industry that demands your 24/7 focus, you may want to think about making a change to one that mirrors your mission and values.