Home in the Work-Life Balance Equation

Kathie is a regular contributor to the Naples News in Naples, Florida.  We want to share her latest article!

How do I balance work and home?  This is a question frequently felt if not actually asked?  It is one of the big challenges of our modern society.  Today, more women are working outside the home than ever before;  recent statistics indicate that 70 percept of couples have both spouses working.  For those who stay home, they too feel the crunch of balancing the workload with their many outside commitments.

Because we are a very mobile society we have a tendence to over commit, not taking into account the time involved in each of our outside interests.  When there are children in the family, their activities take a great deal of our time as well.  This reality highlights the need for an understanding of time management skills with a deep and honest look at our priorities.

Being realistic about the time needed to manage your home can lead to taking control of time rather than letting endless chores take control of you.  To quote Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “time management is really not about managing time but managing yourself.”  Let’s face it, we have no control over time–it just keeps marching on whether we are active or not.  All of us have the same amount–24 hours.  So the trick is to use it to our best advantage.

One of the first ways we can use this precious time to manage the house along with outside work is to honelstyl schedule our priorities for the home so they don’t get lost or relegated to less than they should be.  We all have a tendency, when pressing matters begin to squeeze, to tell ourselves tht the responsibilities at home are not all that improtant.  There is a wonderful man that I admire who once said “get used to saying no.”  Rather than a negative it is a positive that can help us to take control and live according to our priorities.  The number one material priority most of us cherish is our home; thus, saying yes to its needs while saying no to some other matters can be the answer to freeing us up to take control of the work/life balance question.

A quick and obvious aid to taking control is to, at least monthly, write down those priorities for your home that need to be done on a daily, weekly and monthyl basis.  There is nothing like seeing things in black and white to make them real.  In professional life we do this automatically; we have our goals and our checklists.  Why not transfer those organizational skills from the workplace to the home?

Second, an understanding of how to do things the right way will contribute to doing things in a timely way.  Knowing how to do something goes a long way to making it easier to do!  We are expected to have a command of our responsibilities in our professional employment, so it is reasonable to expect the same at home, right?  Well, not necessarily.  In the workplacce we usually have a mentor and a timeframe to understand our responsibilities whereas at home, we may find ourselves alone, with just “me, myself, and I” to get the job done.

Avoid this pitfall of “it’s all up to me” at home.  Often it just leads to discouragement.  Try including others in learning helpful household hints and techniques.  Having the “know-how” at home makes it easier to manage others who are involved in daily home tasks.  Whether that includes family members or using outside resources, the delegation skills we use in the workplace are the hidden secrets to getting things done in a more timely way at home.

When we look at the care of the home as something equally as important as our outside work we will find the time to handle it in a professional way that will make coming home a pleasure.  An added plus to being able to manage a home amid the outside commitments is not being distracted at work or elsewhere because we know we have home under control.  After all, isn’t a sense of freedom what we all really crave, but let’s face it, realistically, that freedom can only be achieved through a sense of control!

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