Let’s face it – being married and raising a family is hard work. Add in demanding work schedules, children’s activities, volunteer work, and making time for family and friends, and it can be overwhelming. Here are three ways we’ve discovered to keep our work-life better balanced.
Learning to Say No
Steph: No matter what stage you find yourself in – newly married, children at home or empty-nesters – finding balance between couple time and life’s demands can be an ongoing challenge. Paul and I thought once our children left home we would have plenty of time to spend together, but the reality was we filled up extra time with new commitments. Volunteer activities and extra projects at work replaced time spent at our kid’s sporting events. Open spots on our calendar quickly filled. We soon realized that our relationship was once again on the back burner. We realized that in order to say ‘yes’ to our relationship we had to say ‘no’ to some other things.
Paul: Since I am a task oriented person, it’s easy for me to put projects before people. I get focused on accomplishing my to-do list and sometimes forget that there are people (with feelings) involved. One way I strive to keep our work – life balance in check is by setting limited times for things like answering email and doing extra work from home. I’m also intentional about making my relationship with Stephanie a priority by having regular date nights, asking for forgiveness when there is a hurt between us, and making time each day for us to talk.
Even when we are intentional and say ‘no’ to extra stuff, the busyness seems to creep in unsuspectingly over time. Without realizing it, we still manage to get ourselves back on the busy train and things get out of whack. The tool we use to set this right is re-evaluation. We use a calendar reminder every three months to discuss this question: How are we spending our time and what adjustments do we need to make? Having that regular gut check helps keep us focused on what’s most important – us. When necessary, we make a list of what we’re going to let go of in order to keep our relationship a priority.
What is your secret to a healthy work – life balance? Please share in the comments below.