Life’s a balancing act. We are constantly juggling the tasks of life, and while it may be a struggle at times, it is not totally impossible. Many of us are working parents, working hard to provide a steady life for our children to thrive in. I use to think that when I became a parent, that my goals and aspirations would have to be placed on the sidelines and forgotten. My children are first, but that doesn’t mean that I have to give up working or doing something that fulfills me outside of being a mom.
We live in world where it is more than possible to do it all, and be successful at it. This digital age has made it easier for us to do our work, right from the comfort of home or in our business office. We can multitask better than ever, and also be more present in our children’s lives and their activities. As entrepreneurs and business leaders, you can make this happen, and set the stage for your employees to have a stellar balance in their own lives as well. Here are some important lessons that I have learned in balancing my professional and personal life. Hopefully they can help you as well.
Be flexible; Work from home once in awhile
This is an important aspect for both you and your employees. Our world lets us be more accessible with our work and project deadlines. We can work anywhere at any time. As you know, issues come up that may keep you at home; kids get sick, childcare falls through, etc. Being a flexible company or manager, ensures that work can get done while taking care of those that matter most.
This also helps in the longevity of the employees. Being flexible for both yourself and your team, shows that you care about them and their outside priorities. Your employees will appreciate the flexibility, and in turn, have a greater loyalty to your company.
Use programs that can be utilized from anywhere
Programs such as Google Docs, Google Excel, Forms, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc. are excellent in flexibility and telecommuting needs. If you can, and are able to, utilize these accessible programs so that your work can be done and reviewed from anywhere. The Google cloud has great features; it’s shareable among people, saves on its own, and you no longer have the hassle of “waiting until you get home” to update and send it out to your team or manager.
If you can promote a more mobile and flexible workplace at your company, than make sure you give your team the tools they need to be as efficient and prepared as possible should they need to work outside of the office.
Have a company picnic or get-together for employees & their families
Outside of work, having a company picnic or get-together is something that can reinforce and bridge together the balance of work and home life. This is a great way to see each other out of the workplace and in a more relaxed setting. I always thought it was so nice to see my coworkers with their kids and partners. It helps you connect with everyone on a personal level, and relate to things that aren’t just project or company centered.
Pick a day and promote the event to your team. Have fun and be sure to know that everyone is welcome to attend. When you open the door to their families, then you really make it feel more like a family than just a company that they work for.
Take a vacation day just to hang out with your kids
While we can easily say, “I hate to take day off because I’m swamped,” the truth is we only have one life to live. Is it really worth it to have to work all the time? Our families need us, and that’s why it’s essential to take a day off once in a while, regardless of what needs to be done at the office.
You don’t need to do anything lavish, just make it a day that’s about being a family. Take your kids to the park, out of town to do some shopping, or just hang out with them for the day. Taking time off to relax and focus on your kids will teach them that while work is important, it’s not what life’s about or what truly fulfills us.
It’s about the quality of time, not the quantity of time, you have together
I have always told myself this, especially when I went back to work after giving birth to my first born. I use to think about how much time I wasn’t giving them, that I was putting my own needs first as opposed to theirs. I soon realized it wasn’t about how much time I was giving them, but the quality of time I gave them when I was home.
I won’t lie, it’s hard to be focused on them all day at 100% and I am not always successful at it. However, if they want to read a book, tell me a story, sing a song, or play for a little bit, then I will do my best to be present for them. They are only little once, so even when I’m in the middle of writing, their needs are still my number one priority. My work can wait, as I know it will still be there when I get back.
Family is first. As much as work can consume our day and our lives, it’s not what we will remember most about our lives. It is the memories we make with our kids and our spouse that we will cherish the most. Take the time to be with them and to support your employees with their own families. This world gives us the opportunity to enjoy both our personal and professional life in unison, without missing out on what’s most important. Life’s a beautiful balance, and it can now be lived without the major sacrifices of time or memories.
Read Summer Anderson’s book: 50 Things to Know About Being a Working Mom