Brightbulb Design is a family business and we believe hard work will get you everywhere, however sometimes it’s not as simple as being able to just work hard. Before you have children, you don’t think that your work life balance is an issue. Most of your time when you are not working, is spent with your partner doing things you enjoy. You have more patience and understanding of eachothers needs so you get by, knowing that its all in aid of a better future.
We have found that having children completely changes this. Not only does starting a family change your work dynamic, it changes your relationship, testing you in ways you never thought imaginable.
You can no longer go out and socialise whenever you want to, and you can’t work whenever you want to. You have to work together with your partner and find the balance that works best for your family as a whole.
Our children are 3 and 6 years old, and I don’t think that we have the perfect work life balance, however I do think that we have found the secret ingredient to make it work for us! Communication! I truly believe that communication is the key to a happy home, marriage, and work life. If you are struggling and feel a bit lost and lonely, or you are working extra hours and you feel exhausted and need a break, talk to your partner! Explain exactly how you feel, as talking things through allows you to open up new ways of improving things for the future.
I don’t think anyone can really say they have the perfect work life balance. While you may be feeling like your coping fine, your partner may be working every evening after a long day in the office.
You are a partnership, so if one of you is unhappy, this will ultimately make you both unhappy. So here’s a few tips I have for making an “almost” perfect work life balance…
- Put by at least one evening a week that is a “no work” evening. This can be for you and your partner to spend some quality time together, whether it’s to sit and watch a film, or just sit and chat. Make a rule that you cannot discuss work on this evening. A full night off can do wonders and will leave you with a fresh mind for the next day.
- Communicate! Talk to your partner if you feel you are swamped, or lacking family time. If you are single, talk to a friend and find ways to take your mind off work now and then. Perhaps a new hobby so you have something to look forward to in between huge workloads.
- Holidays, make sure you can take at least one, if not a few small holidays each year. Now I know we are not made of money and this is not always an affordable option, however there are ways to go on very low budget trips that will work for you. We have often been on 3 night breaks via the “sun holidays” ranging from £30 to £120 for 3 nights. You could stay close to home to avoid extra travel costs, or if you have more to spend, a longer break at a further distance is an option. Having a small break to look forward to gives you a real incentive when you are working long hours. Taking a few days away from home and work, allows you to separate yourself and devote quality time to your family.
- Learn how to let go of things. Trying to be perfect and be everything to everyone only ensures failure. Learn how to say “no” when it’s warranted. Cut out the things in your life that are stressing you out and just don’t matter. The weight lifted will likely be heavier than you had realized, and it’ll free you up for more important things.
- If you have young children, try to stay patient! You may be feeling run down, stressed and like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. You should remember that your children are innocent and have no idea how hard you are working. They should be allowed to be free of stress and worries at their age, so try not to use phrases like “Im working, you will have to wait” and “Do you know how much I have to do, just leave me alone for a while”. They don’t know how much you have to do. All they want is to share their day with you, or show you their latest drawing. Let them be children, and teach them work ethics when they become teenagers.
- Lastly, be selfish about your “me” time. You can’t be the best version of you if you’re run down and don’t get a chance to recharge. You are only human and it is likely that you will become stressed at times. If you are attempting to have a healthier diet, lose weight, work, raise young children, look after a home, as well as trying to run a business, give yourself a reward! You deserve it. Take an hour to relax in the bath with your favourite magazine and a glass of wine, go to an exercise class, do whatever you feel you need to do to help you keep the stress under control. Making time for yourself is just as important as making time for your family.
I hope these tips can help if you have been struggling with your work life balance, and remember, You are doing a fantastic job!