Ways to Manage Work and Family Life

There was once a young man who was unable to manage office and home together. He was plagued by deadlines he had to meet at work, and he always saw his children only when they were asleep. He did not know what to do! One day, the young man’s father visited them. The young man told his father about the problem. The father smiled and promised to bring him a solution. The next day the father turned up with a colorful coleus plant. The young man was puzzled. The father said – “Tomorrow when you leave for work, simply touch the youngest of the coleus leaves and say ‘To you I leave my household woes, for now I am a man of the world’; and when you return from work at night, touch the same coleus leaf and say ‘I am returning to my wife and kids – let them both find their husband and father respectively, and not a man troubled by his work life’.” And as sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, the young man regained balance in his life.

If only everyone could find a coleus like that! But the essence of the story is – problems are a problem only till we treat them as problems! Here are some easy-to-follow tips to manage your work and family life.

Don’t Bring Work Home

This is probably the gravest mistake a man / woman can make as a partner, a parent and a family person – bringing work home. It just spoils everything! Your wife is not going to be happy with it, your children are going to miss their Dad, and heck; it is going to kill your sex life too! On the other hand, if you are a woman, you are going to kill yourself by bringing work home! Your children need their mother even if she is the CEO of a really big and important company. It is never a good idea to bring work home. The best thing to do if you have pending work is to reach office a little early and leave a little late, rather than carry work home. That way, you can be completely there for your kids and for your partner once you are home.

Don’t Carry Family Problems to Work

Just the way it is important to not bring work home, it is also important to leave family problems and tensions home, before you step into the office premises. Carrying family problems to work is totally unprofessional and can hamper your performance. If you are going to come to office and still be stuck up on your child’s homework or the bank loan for your house, your boss is not going to like it. Plus, it is not a professional who mixes work and family – nah uh! Agreed, not everybody is affected as much by family problems, and there are people who can segregate the two easily and effectively, but there is still that subconscious load that we always carry. The best way to take care of this is to completely immerse yourself in the task at hand, so that you can block out anything else that may prove as a conspicuous (or even subconscious) distraction.

Two Different Phones

This is probably the best tip I can ever give – use two different phones, one for your professional life and one for your family and friends. Make sure you do not exchange the professional number with any family members or friends, and do not exchange the personal number with any people at work. That way, you can ‘choose’ who you want to be available to at what time in the day and on what days of a week. At the same time, you can inform maybe 2 or 3 of your closest family members and closest colleagues about both the numbers, in case it is absolutely necessary for them to reach you. A mobile phone can be as much of a bane as a boon! It is in our hands to be able to manage the device rather than turning into a slave of technology. Take charge, and turn things around.

Weekend is ‘Me n My Family’

The weekend is the one time in the week when you can totally be a family man / woman. Kick back and relax. Do not attend to any work related calls. The call of duty should not only be professional but should also be personal. If you plan your work well, you will be able to meet all deadlines and still be with your family without feeling guilty of having left work undone. It is all only a question of managing your time. If you are unable to give your family time during the week, then segregate the week into working days and weekends, and do justice to both of them. Be a complete professional during the week, but when it is weekend, forget you are the GM of your firm, and be the father / mother your kids want you to be, show them your love and affection. Be the husband / wife your partner needs you to be, and let her / him know you still haven’t forgotten how she / he likes to be touched!

Talk to Friends

The thing is, we get only one life. So we can never be ‘prepared’ for certain things. We do not have the experience of becoming a parent when we become a parent for the first time. We do not have the experience of being married when we get married for the first time. Sometimes, this is why certain situations in life overwhelm us. But if not your own, you can definitely learn a few things from the experiences of those around you. So do not shy away from talking to your family, friends and relatives. Do not feel like it is a failure on your part that you cannot manage to do something. Many around you also probably couldn’t manage to do it the first time they tried. But if today they have succeeded in doing something, so can you. Take inspiration, and grab the bull by its horns!
The biggest of our follies is that sometimes we fail to realize the fact that we do not always have to choose between two things; sometimes the solution to a problem is to choose both things. There can be a win-win answer to such questions; if only we look for them sincerely, they will enlighten us. Follow these tips as sincerely as you follow the company employees handbook. Just because nobody is going to penalize you for not giving your family time and attention, does not mean it is not going to have any effects. In fact, if you get sacked, you can still get another job; but a broken home is one that is almost impossible to fix. So take the time out for both the things, as they are both important in life. All the best!