In our few years together we have experienced the demand of juggling our jobs and the rest of our life. There was a period where I had a work from home job and didn’t know how to shut down and “leave work”. Since I had my work computer and my blackberry at home, it was easy to work around the clock. Whenever I heard an email come through I opened my laptop to respond. If we went out I would take my blackberry to do work. My husband hated it, he was always yelling at me to put my phone away and close my computer.
However, I wasn’t the only one struggling with a work-life balance. My husband at one point was working a job that required mandatory overtime. He was required to work Monday-Saturday 8 hours days. It drove me nuts that we only had one free day together. He eventually moved on from that job, but the over 40 hour work weeks didn’t cease. He finds it hard to leave work left over for the next day, so he’s often working 9 or 10 hour work days.
To further disrupt the work-home life, my husband was (and at times still is) guilty of not sharing with me when he had a rough day at work. Thinking all is well, I’m obviously more likely to say or do something that will set him off, not knowing that he has already had a bad day. On the flip side, I never hushed when I had a bad day. I was guilty of spending way too much time discussing how a co-worker pissed me off or how bad of a day I had. Bottom line, we both are guilty of carrying over our workplace frustrations into our home.
If I had to guess we are not alone in this struggle. So I wanted to share ways we have worked to not mix the house environment with work environment. Here are 5 tips we’ve found that help us work towards a better work-life balance.
1) Leave work at work – Work is left behind when we walk out the door or sign off. Any incomplete work remains at work. I eventually realized that I was devoting my evenings to my blackberry and laptop and missing out on valuable time with my husband and knew that had to stop.
2) Drop activities that take up your time – We all at times spend countless minutes/hours throughout the work day checking our personal email, gossiping with another coworker, browsing the internet, or in me and my husband’s case emailing each other back and forth. We had to commit to stop wasting time doing things non-work related, which in turn caused us to have to stay later to get the work complete.
3) Release the frustration –The downfall of bringing frustration home is that you often take it out on an innocent bystander. Before walking in the door we try to make sure the negative energy is left behind. When I was working in an office, I would stop and have a cocktail with a coworker to relax before going home, or I would go run 30 minutes on the treadmill in my building before my husband got home.
4) Communicate but don’t dwell – When I had a bad day at work, my husband knew it because I would talk about it until I talked us both to sleep. This became a big no no. We’ve learned that it is necessary to communicate to each other when we’ve had a bad day (just to make the other person aware); however, get it out and let it go. I was wasting our alone time discussing how so and so had pissed me off.
5) Take a day off and have a day date – My husband and I are really keen about having a sufficient amount of “us time”. We’ve experienced periods where work has kept us from having a good amount of undistracted time alone, to just reconnect. This was happening recently and my husband just took a full day off for us to enjoy a nice day date. It was such a relief to be able to spend a full day focused on us.
Please share with us in the comments some of your tips for maintaining a work-home life balance.
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