A sprinkle of planning and a dash of ‘me time’ – is there a recipe for creating the perfect work-life balance?
Date: 08 Sep 2015Creating the perfect balance is a little like adding weights to a set of scales: as we increase one part of our lives, the other part often suffers; if we spend more time at work, we spend less time at home. After a busy day in the office, we might find ourselves at home and being an engaged and happy parent, but our chores and household tasks might be put on hold.
So what’s the recipe to create a perfect work-life balance? Does a recipe exist?
One thing is for certain: there’s no such thing as a perfect work-life balance. Finding a balance is not finding perfection and there’s always a small trade-off – which is absolutely fine. Every day doesn’t need to be a perfect balance of work and life but perhaps it’s possible to find a balance in a week. Rather than focus on perfect, try to look at your success instead.
There is never going to be enough time to achieve everything you want to but maybe, just maybe, that’s okay.
5 ways to achieve a successful work-life balance as a working parent
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Bright Horizons Clapham Nursery’s motto “it takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb and reflects our partnership with our families, practitioners and community. Everyone has an important part to play and a wonderful new set of skills and experiences to share.
Similarly, asking for help can be a key contributor to success and sometimes, recognising the benefits from helping one another with care can have a positive effect on our ability to ask for help and support at work. Securing peace of mind knowing your child is being cared for helps to ensure you are relaxed and confident at work; making you more productive and efficient.
• Perfection – it’s a myth!
As much as we would like to think otherwise, there is no such thing as a perfect balance. One day, we may find ourselves tied up with urgent work commitments while on other days, we may be faced with parental responsibilities. Being successful parents means understanding where you can be of most help and also where you are able to have the most benefit. Try to remain flexible, adaptable and positive and you will find you will automatically readjust to meet the demands.
• Spending a little time on yourself
Children require lots of time and energy and it’s fair to say that unless you’re running at full strength – you may struggle to keep up. Taking a little time for yourself can have an enormous effect on our overall happiness, capability and productivity, both at home and at work. Make sure you find time to engage in a few hobbies and interests you enjoy; you will more than likely find your positive energy transfers on to your regular responsibilities – giving you lots of energy and drive. Similarly, it’s also important to get plenty of sleep and relaxation, which will help you to recharge for the next day.
• Setting clear expectations
For many parents, developing a successful work-life balance is also about setting realistic expectations for your family and for your work. It’s OK to say no and to be clear about when some tasks are unachievable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with household chores or set responsibilities at an appropriate level for your child. Often, your behaviour will set a precedence on what you expect and you will find that through a little teamwork, you have more time to spend elsewhere.
Success can sometimes come as a result of acceptance and many parents who successfully balance their work and home life don’t waste time and energy thinking or feeling guilty. It’s crucial to remember you’re not alone and also to use your spare time and energy productively and enjoy lots of fun, family time.
As a parent, you may feel challenged when trying to create a balance between home and work but it’s important to remember that finding a balance does not mean finding perfection, and one unbalanced day can easily be remedied.