Bringing Balance to Our Jobs
Society's pace can be dizzying. Most of us have multiple jobs. My sister has three jobs: VA, ER and nursing home. Working at least two of those every week, she keeps insane hours. We have a friend who aims to keep his managerial workload to under 55 hours/week. When he leaves work, he goes home to a wife and two young energetic children.
Some jobs we are compensated for in cash. For others the wages are paid in love. I'm referring to domestic roles as "jobs" because they entail responsibilities and duties that must be carried out. And, if I'm being honest, there are times they feel like work.
If an employee of a cleaning service is considered to be "working" when she cleans your home, why isn't it considered "work" when you do it? If an au pair is considered an employee, why is a parent's role not seen as a job to be carried out with excellence? Homes require upkeep. Families take work.
So, how many jobs do you have? You have a paying job, or three! Maybe you have a job that requires you to report to multiple bosses, so that feels like two jobs. Maybe you find working from home has benefits, but also blurs the line between your roles. You have responsibilities with your marriage, children or, perhaps, aging parents. You have duties to fulfill with your volunteer work. How do you balance them?
Setting a limit on the number of hours you spend at each is a good start. This may be a maximum, like our friend who tries to work less than 55 hours a week at his paying job. Or maybe you need to set a minimum time you'll spend at home with your family. Take stock of the requirements of each job and decide how much time you need to invest and at what point you are overdoing it.
Compartmentalizing your jobs will help you be "in the moment" wherever you are. This means you leave work at work and you leave home at home. Once you decide how many hours to devote to each job, determine to leave the cares of that job behind at the end of the day. If you are at home thinking about work, you really aren't at home...you are cheating your family out of your full attention. Likewise, if you are at work thinking about your family, you are cheating your employer. Do each job with excellence, fully invested in your responsibilities, but when it is time to go, LEAVE and take your mind with you!
Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you are someone who has difficulty leaving a task before it is completed, a home office may not be the best option for you. You may not be able to separate your responsibilities with them under the same roof. Be honest about what your capabilities are, and then structure your work environments to maximize your effectiveness.
These are a few ideas to get you started. Will you share any plans that have worked for you? Your words may be just what someone else needs to bring balance.