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» How to Balance Work and Family Commitments

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Considering the hectic schedules that many people are forced into thanks to the increasing demands placed on them by work and personal commitments, it’s little wonder why so many experience trouble trying to find a successful balance between the two. A weak economy doesn’t make it easier to achieve a balance either, as many workers feel compelled to put in long hours or risk becoming a victim of a layoff or cutback.

However, even if you can’t control the amount of time you spend working each week, you can still search for ways to enhance the enjoyment you experience out of life. Instead of resenting what you can’t control, mental health experts recommend people spend more time focusing their attention on those things they can control.

Here how to bring a little more balance into your daily routine.

Incorporate Downtime Into Your Schedule

When planning out your week, make sure to incorporate some time to spend with family and friends doing activities that help you feel recharged and refreshed. Whether a date night with a significant other or watching a sporting event with friends, whatever you schedule on the calendar will give you with something to look forward to during the week, while also providing you with an incentive to properly manage your time so you don’t need to cancel.

Productivity experts agree that it’s import to be proactive when scheduling so precious time isn’t wasted. You might also considered always blocking off a portion of your week, such as Sunday afternoons for example, as a time to spend with family. Having a consistent time to spend with family will help easy any guilt you may experience from spending so little time at home.

Don’t Waste Your Time or Energy

For most people, comparing the amount of time spent at work to the amount to time actually spent working shows a glaring lack of efficiency during the day. To free up some additional time for yourself, make a point to eliminate activities from your day that steal away precious time and focus.

Instead of spending 20 minutes listening to a coworker complain or gossip, checking your Facebook page once an hour, making personal calls, or paying bills at work, focus on getting as much done during your normal work day as possible. This will help prevent you from needing to put in extra hours at the office, while also keeping you focused and efficient.

Prioritize Errands

When searching for every free minute possible, it’s important to consider which errands need running and which ones can be outsourced. For example, if you need stamps, try purchasing them online instead of making a trip past the post office. Find a kid in your neighborhood you can pay to cut your lawn. Look for dry cleaners that offer pickup and drop off service and have your laundry delivered at home or at work.

You can also look for common errands you and friends share. If you find each other having common errands, suggest that you divide them evenly. You drop by the post office and mail each other’s package, while she returns books to the library. Sharing errands this way can help to free up each other’s time.

Exercise

Even if finding time to exercise seems impossible within an already booked schedule, research shows that individuals who exercise at least two hours a week have more energy throughout the day. By finding time to get a little exercise each day, you’ll experience more energy and better concentration during those hectic days when only time seems in shorter supply than energy.

If you don’t have time to exercise during your day, try finding time before your day even starts. Getting up early to exercise in the morning can help you feel more alert and rejuvenated for the rest of the day.

Relaxation the Key

Despite the how much stress may start to buildup, it’s important not to become overwhelmed and assume you need to make sweeping changes to provide more balance to your life. Instead, look for small goals you can achieve, such as leaving the office early at least once a week or not working through lunch. Also start finding ways to slowly incorporate activities that interest you into the week, such finding time for hobbies or joining a book club.

Even the most hectic of days offer small windows where you can find time to relax. Spending 15 minutes reading a book, taking a walk, or just listening to music can play an important role in helping you stay refreshed and relaxed.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. Nathan Austria, a dentist in Portland, OR. 

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