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How to Achieve a Healthy Work-Life Balance: Plan Mini Vacations, Schedule Family Time, and Set Boundaries

Updated on September 21, 2012

Since you have to provide for your family's needs, you have to go to work, often long hours, so you can make as much money as possible. You keep pushing your family aside to meet the demands of the job, and pretty soon, it seems like the job is taking up all of your time. You can tell the children you will play with them later, but they will keep on growing up without you. You feel you are stretched between your work and family and don't have time for your own hobbies and interests.

You want to work to live instead of living to work, but it is difficult when work obligations keep coming and coming.

How do you find the balance between your job and your family? Here are three suggestions to help you provide more time for your family without cutting back too much on your work.

Taking a mini-vacation revives the spirit and helps balance career and family.
Taking a mini-vacation revives the spirit and helps balance career and family. | Source

Plan Mini-Vacations

We won't always be able to take long, extended vacations to travel through the country, but small, mini-vacations can refresh your spirit, help you bond with your family, and leave you invigorated to go back to work.

There are many things to do that are within a short car, bus or train ride away from home. By taking a day trip to these places, you and your family can enjoy a great time together without having to take time off from work. You can go for a weekend, or take a day off from Friday or Monday to have an extended weekend.

Mini-Vacation Ideas

These suggestions for short mini-vacations can be long or short, depending on how far away you live from them:

  • state or national park
  • zoo
  • historical site
  • amusement park
  • sporting event
  • concert
  • festivals hosted by a city
  • state fair
  • convention
  • quilting retreat
  • camping
  • local tourist attractions

Schedule Family Time

Even when you can't take time off from work, or be able to get away for an extended amount of time, it is important to schedule family time. Of course, you want to go to the kids plays, sporting events, recitals and graduation, but it is important to be available for your kids every single day. Many families have found that eating a meal together creates a bonding experience and lets them be a vital part of their kids lives. Instead of getting on the computer or watching television, you could spend some time doing some family activities.

This couple achieves work-life balance by spending family time at a restaurant.
This couple achieves work-life balance by spending family time at a restaurant. | Source

Suggestions for Family Time Activities

Some suggestions are:

  • local museum
  • plays and recitals
  • skating or bowling
  • family game night
  • go for a walk together
  • play basketball, Frisbee or toss a ball with the kids
  • arts and crafts
  • dining out

Set Boundaries

The third way to achieve a healthy work-life balance is to set boundaries. Sure you want to give your employer all your time and attention while you are at work, but eventually it will be time to go home. While working overtime once in a while is necessary to ensure that a particular project gets done by the deadline, it cannot be a regular recurrence. You need to be able to spend time with your family.

Talk with your manager and explain that you want to make sure that you can see your kids grow. Let him know your boundaries so he is prepared for them when a situation arises when you say no. Maybe you won't work on the weekends, or maybe you will only work one hour over time each day. Don't answer the phone when a coworker calls and don't look at your work e-mails when you are on a vacation. By keeping your work out of your family time, you can make sure that you are giving your family the same kind of respect and priority that you give to your employer.

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Achieve a Healthy Work-Life Balance

It is a juggling act to balance the needs of your employer and the needs of your family. This balance will need to be adjusted throughout your career. When you take mini-vacations, you can make up for the extended time you spend away from your family. When you schedule family time, you can make sure that you can keep abreast of the day to day activities of your family. When you set boundaries, you can make sure that you keep your work life separate from your family life, and give the proper attention to both.


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