If we are honest, some seem to do it better than others.  Balancing work and family while striving to advance your career can seem like a 25 hour project in a 24 hour day.  Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem possible. Yet, as mentioned earlier, some people seem to be masters at the craft of discovering lost time in the day.  However, if you were to sit down with these masters of time, you would likely find out that they are but mere mortals with a little bit of honest about what is important to them. And here in lies the key to your path down the same road.

What Do You Value?

People are amazingly self-actualizing.  Namely, they do an excellent job of pursing what they value with amazing resiliency. However, the conflict in the busy employee often comes from not being clear about what they value.  Moreover, if they are able to list out their priorities, they must then ask themselves if they were truly being honest.  If you are having trouble identifying what you truly value, then simply look back over the past 60 days to examine where you spent your time and money.  That might have produced an “ouch” moment in you, but the path to balance goes through an honest road.

You see, if you are going to start prioritizing limited time you have with family, it’s important that the time is spent in the ways that give you the most bang for your buck.  Do you value eating dinner with your family every night or getting home in time to read stories to your children before bed? For it has to be considered, that if work is only going to give you a few precious hours every weeknight with your family before bed, then making them count is step number 1.  Then, when you find joy in these limited hours, you will be amazed at how you start to find more way to grow that time.

Contribute to the Whole Person

When you start evaluating what you really value, you will come to the realization that you are more than who you are the 8 to 10 hours you might work every day.  Consequently, the question of finding work/life balance begins with contributing to this whole person.  Franklin Covey would identify it as “Sharpen the Saw”, but the premise of contributing to these often neglected parts of yourself will help both work and family.

When you are at work, it will always seem like a draining experience if you feel that the job has nothing to offer you as a whole person. Moreover, the joys of family can easily become burdensome if there little attention given to the other parts of your life that bring you joy. Consequently, an essential element in balancing the work and family balance is ensuring the version of you that shows up to each place is whole and complete.  The truth will always be that no more than 24 hours exist in a day.  So if you have chosen a career path that is going to put work and family in a constant competition for those hours, then you simply must evaluate how to maximize the time you spend with each. Showing up a complete person who knows what they value will be a huge step in the right direction.

Written: January 2015