If you’re a working parent, you have two jobs. After returning home from the office (where you crushed that regional sales presentation), it’s time to clock in for your next job. Only this time, you’re crushing garlic for the pasta sauce. And after that, there’s a series of tasks. Tomorrow will be just as busy.
From water cooler gossip to kiddie car pools, yes, you own it most days. Admittedly, some days are a bit hectic and some days you feel like a chicken running around without a head.
You can strategize by taking a moment to pause and reflect on how you can you better manage your responsibilities at work and home.
The first step lies with awareness. You need to be mindful of your work-life balance. Adequate sleep is the first thing that comes to mind, but also important is finishing the todo list and having “me” time, such as catching an episode of your favorite Netflix series. If you’re too caught up in the frenzy of work emails and PTA meetings, you might not realize the current path is unsustainable until it’s too late. So listen to your body and pay attention.
2. Separate personal and professional life
It’s crucial to have a strict barrier between work and family life.
If you do need to work at home, wall yourself off. You’ll be significantly more efficient than if you’re surrounded by distractions.
Additionally, It’s hard to disconnect in our wired world. So if you’re trying to enjoy family time, at the very least turn off email notifications. Consider even putting the company phone away. The quicker and more decisively you detach from work, the more time you have to spend with your family.
3. Time management
When you have this many obligations, time is a scarce resource and you need to allocate it carefully. Set a time every week (such as Sunday evening) to draft a time table. How detailed this should be varies from person to person.Some parents even like to schedule everything hour-by-hour on their phone’s calendar. Every system has its pros and cons, do what works for you.
Many households have a giant family calendar on the wall. A family is an organization and managing everyone’s events and responsibilities is critical to being effective.
You can jot everything from when the electricity bill is due to birthdays. While some people prefer old-fashioned pen and paper, these days you can share and sync between multiple members of your household with apps like Google calendar
5.Manage work expectations
This might be a time to practice “managing up”. Tell your manager how vital family time is to you. Do not feel the need that you have to make excuses. A simple conversation might even reveal that there is the possibility of some flexibility in your schedule, which would be a big win.
Every situation is different. Use your best judgement, but it’s try to be as open and honest as possible.
Peace of mind is worth a lot. A proactive approach today will avert total chaos tomorrow. Small things like having meals planned and preparing the kids’ backpacks at night really add up.
Some people might think of it as slothful, but rethink of this as buying time. Although how much you can afford is going to vary according to your disposable income, some of these do not cost much. If you get held up at work on a Friday night, you shouldn’t hesitate to order takeout.
Having both parenting and job responsibilities can be a pressure cooker. Dial down the stress with proper planning and organization.