Focus on Family for a Better Work-Life Balance

In this four-part series, I discuss practical ways to help you reach both short- and long-term goals, strike a positive work-life balance, harness your self-interests and passions, and expand your network and skillset. Read the first article here: Your Job Is A Small Part of Your Career

No matter how hectic things get, it’s important to pause and think about the people who are close to you. 

It’s also critical to show them that you care. Yes, career goals are important, but so is supporting your support system—after all, none of us walk this world alone.

Why Prioritizing Family Is Important Right Now

In the aftermath of a global pandemic, it can be hard to maintain a sense of confidence about the path ahead. What’s more unnerving is the stress that comes with trying to ‘have it all’ in these uncertain times. But through it all, you’ve got your family to take comfort in. Ideally, this sense of comfort should be a two-way street—you should be there for your family as much as they are for you.

The term “family” goes beyond the immediate and current people in our lives. There can be family members who you haven’t checked in with recently. There can also be those who feel like family but aren’t related by blood. Regardless of who they are, don’t let those who matter most fall by the wayside. Reach out to loved ones often.

While it’s true that family will always be there, you need to nurture the familial relationships you have in order for them to thrive. Defining family responsibilities and goals is an important part of that. This process won’t work without cooperation, so make sure you and your family members are aligned on the goals you set. 

Identifying family goals will look different for different families, and that’s okay. Reflect on your family now, and what their needs will be in the future. For instance, think about the effect that switching schools will have on members of your family, or how moving could change your family’s needs.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer to what’s best for your family. But your family members need to feel listened to and appreciated. So, take stock of your family’s demands and include them when you plan your career goals.

Take Back Control and Outline Family Responsibilities in 4 Steps

To truly nurture your family bonds, find out how family responsibilities will interact with your career goals. This will ensure that you’re not making career goals in a vacuum and that you’re taking into account how your goals will affect others in the family. 

To be effective, you’ll want to examine three different time periods—the current one, a year from now, and three years from now. You’ll also want to include others in your goal-planning efforts, in order to keep everyone happy and healthy. 

1. Plan for the current timeframe

If you’re reading this article, you can probably already list certain dynamics in your family that you’d like to change. To make those changes effectively, create a plan that you can start implementing right now.

Include daily goals, practices and habits that can help your family feel supported and cared for. Check-in with other family members to make sure their input is factored into these goals.

2. Plan for a year from now

Envision how today’s goals will help your family succeed in the future. Doing this will help you make enough tangible changes to show measurable progress a year from now. 

3. Plan for 3 years from now

I know; it’s hard to even plan for three weeks from now. But it’s critical to establish where you and your family want to be in the future to work toward the end goal. 

When you’re putting together your three-year plan, you’ll realize how your family’s plans for the current timeframe and their plans for a year from now fit into the bigger picture. This three-year plan will, ideally, see your family at its most centered and supported, thanks to well-defined responsibilities. 

4. Include others in your planning efforts

Make sure your spouse/partner and other members of the family are part of the decision-making process when you’re putting together all of these family plans. Collaborating to set goals ensures that your family members are more invested in the success of these plans.

How to Integrate Family Responsibilities Into Your Everyday Life

Weaving specific family responsibilities into your life can be challenging at first. But with the right mindset, these responsibilities can take root organically. When they do, your family will thrive.

Enlist a Dedicated Coach

If you can, spearhead your family’s goal-fulfillment efforts (or designate someone else to lead). As I’ve learned from my daughter, who was a competitive dancer in high school, a strong coach helps to build and nurture a strong team. 

Make a Checklist

Make a checklist of everyone’s responsibilities, and stick it on the fridge. Family members can look at the list as a visual reminder of their responsibilities, and they can check off tasks as they achieve certain goals.

Have Weekly Meetings

Check-in with your team. Setting aside space to have weekly family meetings can help your coach make sure that family members are fulfilling their responsibilities, and that everyone is on track. These meetings are also a good space for family members to address their concerns or call-out specific needs to achieve the ultimate goals. You should also be sure to celebrate achievements and have fun with your family members.

Maintain an “Open Heart” Policy

Similar to an open-door policy, maintain an “open heart” policy for your family members. Let them know that they’re free to come to you with any concerns or needs, whenever they feel like it. 

While it’s important that you pour from a full cup and not deplete your own resources, setting an “open heart” policy yourself can help family members reciprocate by doing the same for you. In the end, everyone is in this together. 

Looking for expert advice to help you move your career forward? Then, head to my YouTube channel where I share short videos designed to help you better manage your career, negotiate with confidence and keep you motivated to reach your goals.

If you found this information helpful, please share it with others! You can find more articles chock-full of great information on my blog page Unleash Your Potential.

As a leadership and negotiation strategist, Elizabeth Suárez works with organizations to develop their professionals into effective leaders and influencers

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