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In today’s North American society, families are in a constant search for the perfect balance of work and “life”. Of course, this concept means something very different to each person and each family and most people are never satisfied with their current balance of work and life. However, if you are aware of it and make an effort to achieve it, then you are probably already doing a great job of balancing both aspects of your life without even realizing it.
 
Social worker and television personality Joe Rich believes that “over the past decade, the idea of balancing work and family life has been portrayed as a notion one should consider, if not put in place immediately”.

Mr. Rich understands that over the past few decades, this “imbalance” of our lives has been increasing and is “likely due to the changing family, the increased prevalence of women in the workforce and the needs of the family constantly in juxtaposition with those of the workplace”.  In addition to changes in the family, changes in the workplace itself have been occurring as well, “including the increased need for travel, the frenzied pace of email, the internet, wireless devices, etc., and the need to respond to global conditions to be successful”. Mr. Rich believes that “all these workplace changes likely made it necessary for us to invent a place where everything is ticking along smoothly, a state of blissful equilibrium between our working selves and our family selves.  However, as terrific as it may sound, we may be aiming for this workplace/home life nirvana just a bit too enthusiastically”.

Experts on this topic, including Mr. Rich, have some practical suggestions for how to help get started towards a path of work-life balance.  Here are three to illustrate: 

Get Organized
In this area we have great advice on organizing your life, your closets, your family and your day.  Get a day timer, get a trainer, get a nanny, go to a closet organizing store, and hire a dog walker.  Use organizing yourself and those around you to create time, find time and use your time more wisely.

Make Time for Family & Relationships
Always a good idea! Suggestions range from having a regular date with your adult partner to turning off your phone in the car during car pools. Family time is about things like love, laughter, fun and intimacy. These things are there to relieve the stress of the workplace and to release hormones like ‘endorphins’ to make it all happen for you physically and emotionally.

Time for Yourself
Difficult to do but still a good recommendation and the suggestions are endless. Generally, advice in this area will include everything that is good for you to everything that you may have ever wanted to do but told yourself you were too busy, too poor, too old or too scared to approach. This is very much the ‘just do it’ of the balancing work and family life scene.

Maybe it’s time to take a fresh look at the issues of balancing work and family life. Joe Rich’s advice is to take the suggestions and recommendations above and “take a stronger look at the personal and work relationship issues we face within the balance and imbalance equations in order to create a workable checklist of dilemmas each of us may face in the chase for balancing our respective work and family lives in the years ahead”.

Reprinted with permission from Workopolis.com



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