Work-Life Balance—Fact or Fiction?

We’re all familiar with the term ‘Work-Life Balance’. It’s an outdated phrase. At the very least we should call it Work-Life Integration. But it’s still the phrase that gets used the most.

Whatever the name, it’s tough to manage competing responsibilities. We have all felt those moments where our attention is fully on something – maybe it’s work, maybe it’s time with our spouse or partner. Everything is going great – until something interrupts it. That’s everyday for working parents.

So how do we achieve something that is so essential yet so easily broken by interruption? We reached out to our Dad Community to see what balance looked like for them. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Be patient. If you’re new to the Dad world (welcome! It’s nice to have you here), it takes time to integrate so many different parts. While that process looks different for everyone, you’ll find a groove that works for you and your family.
  • Think in pie charts. Picture your responsibilities in terms of slices of pie. Work and family are bigger slices, whereas, fitness/health, hobbies, home, and all others are most likely smaller pieces. Some days your fitness slice might be bigger but it’s important to recognize that by making any of the pieces bigger, you are making others smaller—that’s the balance.
  • Learn to let go. There are days where you are going to have to let some things go. Our Dad contributors reported that their family was top priority and sometimes that meant in order to put them first, they had to let go of working out, playing video games, or other things they enjoyed for that day. Just remember, you don’t need to give up any one thing forever, but sometimes it’s okay to let something go until it fits again.
  • The rule of 3. This is practical in your career as well as in your everyday life. Each day, list your top 3 priorities for the day. Get those things done and with the time you have left, use it on the other things that fill your cup.
  • Create a schedule. If you have a partner, sit down weekly and create a family calendar. Scope out everyone’s responsibilities, time together, and time apart. It helps keep everyone accountable for their time/tasks and ensures that everyone is getting quality time together and on their own.

And when all else fails, there’s always caffeine (or beer or wine!). Work-life balance looks different for everyone and isn’t always possible every single day. Strive to find the balance as much as possible to allow yourself time to be fulfilled by different parts of your life. Cut yourself some slack when you fall short.

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