Why You Should Talk About Your Obligations Outside of Work

Being candid about your family obligations can help force you to set aside time for them — time that can be valuable in helping you recharge.


We all have moments in our day or week with our families that are vital to our well-being, especially now. These moments can be anything from your nightly dinner with your children to the time you spend taking care of your live-in elderly parents. It’s important to make time for those things even when our work schedules are at their busiest, but many of us struggle to do exactly that — especially in these challenging times. 89% of employees report they are experiencing challenges with balancing work and home/life responsibilities, according to a Thrive Global survey of over 5,000 Americans about coronavirus pain points. Many of us are finding that achieving work-life integration can be one of the most challenging aspects of working from home.

Compassionate directness can be a vital tool in helping you navigate toward better work-life integration. One key step you can take is being candid with your manager or colleagues about the family time you need. That candor can actually help you prioritize it. If you’re struggling to define the end of your workday, and finding that work is keeping you away from your family life, you’re not alone. Nearly 70 percent of people feel less able to disconnect as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Thrive Global’s research, and that can make you less likely to show up on time to that standing family dinner (or log off in time to cook it!). This, in turn, can lead to an uptick in your feelings of stress and anxiety, according to the A.P.A.

By utilizing compassionate directness, you empower yourself to speak up, and you also manage to enlist others in your quest to set aside family time. Being candid with colleagues about your priorities outside of work can help force you to prioritize the family time you need to recharge, and it can also provide you with accountability buddies, who will help you draw those boundaries when you can’t quite do it alone. 

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