Updated: Nov 5, 2020
The imbalance between personal and professional life can lead to burnout – a syndrome recently recognized by the World Health Organization as a disease. When you become a parent, your priorities change. Your personal life becomes more demanding, and it becomes equally more difficult to cope with job demands.
Studies indicate that at least 1 in 3 employees perceive a high level of stress caused by the conflict between work and personal or family life. Interestingly, the way work influences parents also has significant effects on children's development as a high level of stress at work has a negative impact on the child. However, the relationship is also inverse. The stress caused by the problems of interaction with the child or in the family equally affects work performance.
The most common sources of stress as caused by the workplace include role ambiguity, overload, career management difficulties, etc. There's also the case of personal beliefs and aspirations, emotional health issues, but which stem from home - needs to secure financial or material resources, maintaining interpersonal relationships, involvement in raising and educating children, health problems of a family member, etc.
Thus, the first step in reducing conflict is good management of professional and personal resources.
Three practical ways to balance work-family life
1. Organize your time and prioritize
You should be realistic about where you put your energy and what limits you should set so that your week or month meets the personal and professional goals. One way to fix this is to prioritize your goals and decide which ones are more important in the short, medium, and long term. After determining which goals are most important to you, start working toward them first. Don't lose sight of your other pursuits, but try to focus on the ones that require your immediate attention.
Also, at some point, you will be forced to decide, as situations will arise and will require to split yourself in two. If your child gets ill, you will surely choose to stay at home to take care of him. However, if someone else can do it and you have an important work meeting, you may choose to go to the office. In cases like this, the support of your partner or a close member of your family will be essential. Therefore, you should establish shared responsibilities that fit into your routine.
2. Learn to ask for help
Home care or supply are not the duties of a single person; use the time gained to rest. Of course, you can also turn to someone who takes care of the children for a while, or who helps you clean the house.
Many working parents reach extreme exhaustion because, after their workday, a second workload awaits at home. Even if you believe that you are the only one that can do certain things, find out that that's not the case. Talk to your partner and your children to divide the tasks fairly and efficiently, if possible. This will not only make your life easier. It will also give you more time to spend together.
3. Set goals
This is something that you surely apply at work, but it also works in family life. If there is a problem that needs to be solved, establish objectives and strategies to solve it. A communication problem can be addressed by talking every day at lunch or organizing at least one family outing a month.
Also, if you have the opportunity to delegate tasks at work, feel free to do so. Learn to trust the ability of your colleagues and to collaborate as a team. This will make you more efficient, free you from work overload, and from spending more hours than you should in the office.
As much as possible, set a clear time limit for spending time at work and choose a fixed hour to get up from your chair and head home, both body and soul.
Learn to leave work problems at the office, not read work-related messages during dinner, not to answer the phone when you spend time with your child or your partner. Be present in your family life both physically and emotionally and enjoy the moments spent with them, so you can get motivated and energized for a brand new day.
Regardless of how you achieve that much-needed balance in your life, it is essential to know that it results from good organization and discipline. It is an ongoing process in which you consciously engage and in which you need clear and achievable goals, adapted to your values, be they professional or family-related.