WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUL. 06, 2014
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How to Get Ahead While Balancing Work and Family

Balancing your work life and family life is tough, but it becomes even harder if you are trying to make progress professionally. It’s nearly impossible to find the time to fit in everything you want and need to do in a day, but here are some tips to help you get ahead while finding that right work-life balance:

  1. Manage your time wisely -- As a hard-working professional AND a family man or woman, time is not your friend. You’ll have very little time for extra activities, so make sure that you fill your time wisely. Let no time go to waste, and be certain that you knock out the most important tasks of the day first.
  2. Focus -- Multi-tasking is the enemy of progress. While you can get a lot done at once, you may be surprised to find it takes longer to complete ALL of the tasks if you do them all at the same time. Focus on each task, making sure to handle the priority tasks first. Do them one at a time, and you’ll get much more done during the day.
  3. Have a life NOW -- You won’t spend more time at home "after you get that promotion" or "once you complete this big project". It’s not the way life works, so you can’t let your life get imbalanced. Start taking time with your family now, even if it means that some of your personal desires have to be placed on the back burner.
  4. Take time for you -- You need time every day to unwind and decompress, especially if you’re giving your all at work. When you come home, have an agreement with your spouse that the first 15 minutes belong to you. You’ll be able to shower, sit, close your eyes, or do whatever helps you to relax and de-stress, making it easier for you to be happy with your family.
  5. Use lunch time -- How much time do you really need to eat a packed lunch? Most people have a 60 to 90-minute lunch break, but they can eat lunch in 10 to 15. If you can eat lunch quickly, you’ll have extra time to hit the gym, go for a walk, talk to your friends, or do things that help you de-stress at work.
  6. Schedule activities -- It may sound silly, but scheduling social activities is the best way to ensure that you have a social life. If you have a longstanding weekly "Guys Night" or "Gals Night", it’s a part of your life and thus is not allowed to slip no matter how busy you get. Pencil it in, and it’s more likely to happen.
  7. Hit it and Quit it -- When at the office, give your work your all. Focus, work hard, and make the most of the 8 to 10 hours you spend at work. Then walk away from your desk, knowing you did the job well and you’ll come back to work hard again tomorrow. If you put in a full day of work, you’ll find it much easier to end the day without feeling stressed or pressured.
  8. Plan your work -- Want to get the most out of your work day? Plan your day when you first arrive at work, ranking each task you need to accomplish in order of importance. Check them off that list one by one, and you’ll find you get much more accomplished!

Yes, having a good work-life balance can be tough, but you can make professional progress if you’re smart about it! The tips above will help you to find that balance while still getting ahead in your career.

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