Is work eating up so much of your time that you don’t have enough to spend with your family? Have your relationships with loved ones started to fall apart?
Hectic work schedules, extra working hours, or a job that keeps you out of town for days are common reasons why professionals sometimes don’t feel connected with their families.
But all work and no play can make you feel guilty, affect your general temperament and both your family and career. So try and strike a balance between the pulls of work and your personal life. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Get organized: If you are better organized at work, you will likely be more efficient and will meet your deadlines faster, leaving you more personal time.
Make a list of activities you have to do during the day and mark the importance of each activity. “Carry a pocket planner and spend a few minutes sketching out the day’s events,” says Dr. Jitendra Nagpal, a psychiatrist at the Child Development and Adolescent Health Center at Moolchand Hospital.
Also, try to plan ahead for the week and month and include personal events in your planning. Is there a parent-teacher meeting coming up for your child? Pencil that into your calendar and inform your employer well in advance that you may need to take some time off for that.
Remember to leave a little down time in your schedule, if you can, so you have a little room for flexibility.
2. Show that you care: A few simple gestures and words can let your family know that you love them. Talking with your spouse and children about their day, joking or gossiping, are some ways to connect with them. A gift every once in a while goes a long way to show that you are thinking of them even if you’re not always there.
It’s a good idea to call your family members once during the day, even it’s for a few seconds. Don’t forget to talk to your children during these calls.
If you have missed a call during the work day because of a meeting or urgent work, make sure you “call back when you can,” says P.V. Narasimha Rao, head of operations at Prithvi Information Solutions Ltd. an information technology firm.
3. Plan activities: Try to make the most of the time that you do get to spend with your family. Get involved with hobbies and plan outings and activities that all of you can do together. “Helping in the kitchen, playing an outdoor sport together can go a long way” in bonding, says Dr. Nagpal.
Or try going to watch a movie together, or for a picnic every once in a while.
When possible, try to get out of town on long weekends, and make it a point to take an annual vacation. Be sure to disconnect yourself from work as much as possible during such breaks.