NASSAU, BAHAMAS / The work-life balance is a difficult one, especially if you have a family. Shavon Dion Bethel is an attorney, and family man who firmly believes in the importance of balancing work and family to achieve personal goals. He recently discussed his top tips for doing so.
“You don’t need a bunch of gadgets or applications to learn how to balance your work life and your family life,” Shavon Dion Bethel said. “You just need a few simple tools to take with you through the process. The most important part is to develop positive life and family habits and continue to practice them.”
Bethel stated that the No. 1 way to balance family and work life is to set priorities. He explained that you’d never be able to please everyone or even accomplish all the tasks you wish to achieve. This is why you need to determine which relationships and parts of your job are top priorities. For many, priorities may be to be an attentive parent, as well as to continue to be promoted throughout a company. Once you’ve determined your priorities, you can focus on them.
“All parts of your life require time and money, and with only 24 hours in a day, you need to determine what matters most,” Shavon Dion Bethel stated. “For instance, you may need to prioritize attending a child’s sporting event over working overtime if you realize that your kids take priority over financing a new car.”
Bethel added that you should create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Workdays tend to be extremely busy, but by placing all the events you want to prioritize on a calendar, you can prepare yourself at the start of the week. For instance, if you know you need to leave work early to attend a child’s concert on Wednesday, you may choose to work slightly longer on Tuesday. If you put this on the calendar at the beginning of the workweek, you won’t be blindsided when Wednesday comes, and you’re late for the concert.
Bethel added that meal planning is another way to prepare for the week and save yourself time. Knowing what you plan to cook saves a lot of time that is often used for decision-making. Preparing a portion of weekly meals ahead of time on Sunday can also save you time throughout the week. This means your family may have more time to spend together because less time is spent preparing meals.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Shavon Dion Bethel said. “You’ll probably find that those closest to you are more than willing to help when they can. This could be a coworker who takes on a few extra hours, or a family member who can watch the kids while you accomplish other tasks.”
Bethel added that you don’t need to only look to your family for support. You may not live close to family, but you do live close to friends and coworkers. They can be a great support system when you need it.
Shavon Dion Bethel added that you might have to set limits for yourself and your family members. Many kids enjoy taking part in as many after-school activities as possible, and you, as a parent, may sign yourself up for a lot of volunteer opportunities. It’s important to limit after-school and after-work involvements, so you have more time to spend together as a family unit. Your children may not be able to take part in every activity they please, but you’ll be creating more memories together as a family, such as going to the movies, biking around the neighborhood, and more. You don’t need to be on the head of every committee, a coach for every sport, or a workaholic.
“Building set routines and rituals is important for yourself and your family,” Bethel stated. “Ensure that meals are eaten together around the table or choose a single night for family game night. Once these rituals become a habit, you’ll realize your family is spending more time together without sacrificing other priorities.”
Bethel finished by saying that it’s essential not to forget about “couple time.” It’s easy to spend so much energy prioritizing kids and work that time interacting with your partner gets pushed aside. This may involve hiring a babysitter one night per week or dropping the kids at a family member or friend’s house for the weekend.
“The work-life balance all comes down to prioritizing,” Shavon Dion Bethel said. “Deciding what’s most important to you is the first step toward reaching your life goals.”