Succeeding at Work While Making Home Your #1 Priority
Balancing work and family is probably the number one issue facing workers today. While it’s certainly possible to succeed at work while still making your family your number one prerogative, it will take some planning and commitment on your part. Read on for some ways to help you prioritize what really matters most.
Make a to-do list
Writing items down that you want (and need) to get done at work can give you a visual idea of what your priorities are, and the time needed to get them done. This provides a general overview of what your schedule will (roughly) look like day-to-day.
Be sure to include both short-term and long-term projects on this list. ThriveYard suggests even making a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly breakdown so nothing sneaks up on you at the last minute. Breaking down your list into tasks, due dates, and priority levels can further help you refine your mental picture of what lies ahead.
Be sure to check off items you’ve done daily so your list doesn’t become outdated. It might seem like one more thing to do when you first get started, but after a while it will become second nature to you—and having an organized compilation of items will help them take up less brain space, giving you more time to focus on family.
Don’t use work as an excuse
When things are hectic or stressful at home, it can be tempting to stick your head in the sand (paperwork?) to avoid dealing with it. But part of making home your priority is being present when you’re there—and that means making time for yourself and your relationships, even when it gets a bit bumpy. Set firm work hours for yourself and stick to them. Otherwise, those “just one more thing” excuses will slowly creep into your family time, eventually crowding out the hard-earned structure you created. Work can be fulfilling—just don’t use it as a crutch.
Get in tune with your productivity
Do your eyelids fly open with the rising of the sun, your body jumping out of bed in anticipation of the new day? Great! Roche suggests scheduling all those difficult, mentally taxing, focus-needed tasks for the first thing in the morning. Knock them out of the way so you can feel a sense of accomplishment, even as your afternoon slump sets in.
Do you need at least three cups of coffee and a shower before you can even consider tackling eating breakfast, never mind complicated work tasks? That’s completely fine! Schedule those aforementioned difficult tasks for midmorning or afternoon and ease your way in with simpler tasks until you get to your peak performance level. Adjusting your work schedule to fit your individual circadian rhythms will increase your productivity while reducing your stress about them.
Plan time to decompress
Switching from work mode to home mode can be a big challenge for some people. Work+Money suggests taking a moment to consciously recognize the shift in mode that is needed to be the best “home” version of yourself you can be. The commute home is the most logical (and convenient) time to do this. Whether that’s putting away your phone while committing to not checking emails and taking work calls anymore or listening to soothing music to get you into a more relaxed mindset—figure out what works for you and do it. And if you absolutely need to finish some work when you get home? Give yourself unfettered family time first, then set aside a certain amount of time later in the evening, and get it done. The more separation you give between work life and home life, the more relaxed you will feel during either one.
It can be challenging to compartmentalize our personal and professional lives, especially in this unprecedented age of pandemics and remote work. But deciding your family is the most important thing to you—while also acknowledging success at work contributes to your overall sense of fulfillment—can and should spur you to seek a sense of balance that works for your life.