How Do You Balance Your Work Life and Your Home Life?
This blog is written in response to a question posted at lifehack.org. The question was: “How do you balance your work life and your home life?” Since my work is my house, I think the balance between these is mostly a matter of seeing the difference between “work in the home (or housework)” and “home life.” Housework is what I do to maintain the physical property such as cleaning, laundry, buying groceries, repairing items, and so forth. Home life is the relationships I maintain with the people who live here, i.e. my husband and two children.
Balancing these two things is not always as straightforward as it would seem. For example, trying to enlist the help of my children in “cleaning up” walks the fine line of getting a task done and helping them to learn responsibility as people. In the end, it won’t matter much that I have an immaculate house if the only way to get there is to nag and yell at my kids. This would destroy the very people I want to have a good relationship with. So the balance between “housework” and “home life” is maintained by keeping the difference in mind. It means prioritizing people needs over task needs.
90-Day Strategic Thinking
Beyond this basic balancing principle, probably the most important idea I have tried to implement lately in my work/home life is strategic thinking. For me, this means thinking ahead to where I want to be in 90 days instead of just coping with the current day or week. What could I be doing now that would prepare me for the next season? What would help me to reach goals that I want to have achieved by 90 days from now?
One summer, I started a 90-day clutter challenge on June 1 with the goal of decluttering my entire house by September 1. Of course, some things came up along the way that altered this goal to some degree, but I made significant headway in most of the rooms of my house which otherwise probably would not have happened.
The State of the Mama
Another thing I periodically do is write up what I call a State-of-the-Mama address. This is where I think through my “job description” as the chief runner-of-the-household as well as personal goals and outside commitments. It gives me a place to think through my mission in life and how well I am doing it.
It also helps me evaluate various commitments and projects. I ask myself questions like “Is this something only I can do?” and “How does this advance me toward my goal?” This keeps me from over-committing myself or wasting time on projects that really don’t help me get where I want to go.
In many ways, I find that applying basic “business” principles to my household works well. My “business” is to run a household. And though my primary objective isn’t to be profitable financially, the underlying principles still hold true for running anything well.
I like to think of myself as a household executive whose chief objective is to
- create an efficient physical household
- so that the members of the household can enjoy the resources of the home
- and pursue their personal missions
- with maximum efficiency
It’s a great way to have work/home life balance! What things do you do to keep the balance between “housework” and “home life”?