9 Strategies for Achieving Work-Life Balance While Advancing Your Career

Young woman sitting at her desk, raising her hands and closing her eyes while meditating

For most of us, the time we work hardest to establish our careers coincides with when we get married and have and raise children. Juggling both can seem impossible; many people argue it can’t be done. When you’re at work, you may feel you’re a terrible parent because you’re not with the kids. When you’re at home spending time with your family, you may fret about neglecting work. Unfortunately, this feeling has become more common in our ultra-connected society. If you feel that you don’t have enough time to devote to work and family, you should analyze your work-life balance.

Strategies for Achieving Work-Life Balance While Advancing Your Career

The good news is that you can improve your work-life balance with intentionality and specific strategies.

Seek Flexibility at Work

The first step is to seek flexibility at work. If you spend hours commuting because you work 9 to 5, ask if you can have flex hours. Maybe that allows you to change your work hours to 6 to 2, which reduces the time you’re stuck in traffic by half and gives you time to see the kids after school. Or, you may ask to work from home a set number of hours a week. Decide what works best and then ask your employer. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Seek a Company That Promotes Flexibility

Not all companies are flexible or respect family time. If your company does not, consider leaving your current employer to find one that embraces flexibility. Consider one of these one hundred companies considered the best workplaces for parents. When you work for a company that respects employees and offers flexibility, work-life balance is easier to achieve.

Learn to Manage Your Time

Many of us have habits that aren’t productive. Maybe you spend 30 minutes on Facebook in the morning and 45 minutes on Instagram at night. That is an hour and fifteen minutes out of your day that you could use more beneficially.

For one week, write down everything you do each day. Then, search for the time wasters. What could you be doing instead?

We all get 24 hours a day. Some people squander their time, while others do amazing things. What will you do with your time?

Utilize Your Most Productive Time

Everyone has a productive time. For instance, I do my best work from five a.m. to two p.m. After that time, I’m not nearly as productive. I prefer to work in the morning and spend time with my family later in the day. If I need to work in the evening or late at night, my work takes longer because I’m less productive or focused.

Find the time when you work best and try to do your work then. You’ll be amazed at how much better you work when you utilize your natural rhythms.

Realize You Can’t Do It All

However, you must also be realistic with your time. Understand that you can’t work full-time, raise a family, take care of a home, AND do everything you want. There is only so much you can fit into the 24 hours that you have. While you may want to read 50 books a year, perhaps that cannot happen in this season of your life. Maybe a more realistic goal is 12 books a year.

Learn to Say No

We are often asked to take on additional responsibilities both at work and home. Understand what you can say yes to, but realize most of the time, the best answer you can give is no. For instance, let’s say your child’s school asks you to organize a bake sale. You say yes, but don’t have the time the project deserves, and as a result, the event is lackluster. Now you likely look and feel bad, and the school didn’t make as much money as it could have if you’d said no and someone with more time had volunteered. You don’t do yourself or anyone else any favors by saying yes to something you can’t fit into your schedule.

Utilize Help

Man on an industrial size lawn mower mowing a lawn.

Part of saying no is to learn to delegate what you can’t or don’t want to do to make time for other activities you can or want to complete.

At home, rather than spending two hours mowing the lawn, you might choose to hire a lawn care service. You might hire a house cleaning service to come every other week rather than spend your time on mundane household chores.

At work, you might hand off the preliminary work for a project to an assistant so you can spend your time on more complicated matters.

Be Present

Whether you’re with your family or at work, be present. When you’re with family, spend time only with them. Resist the urge to check your phone or email. Your family will appreciate your undevoted time and recognize their importance to you.

Likewise, when you’re at work, don’t spend time worrying about your family. Fully immerse yourself in your work so you can be productive and not distracted. Ultimately, working this way will help you get home to your family sooner.

Make Time to Recharge

Finally, don’t neglect yourself. Make time to recharge by fitting in regular exercise and yoga or meditation. Have time to meet with friends or relax for an hour or two by yourself.

If you take the time to recharge, you’ll have more energy to devote to your work and family. You’ll be happier and healthier, so you’ll likely live longer and have more time to spend with your loved ones.

Final Thoughts

Achieving work-life balance while raising a family and growing your career is challenging, but it can be done. Utilize these nine strategies to enjoy your work when you’re at work and your family when you’re with them.

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