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How Can I Balance the Demands of the Workplace with my Family Obligations and Personal Interests?

Truth is, we can’t have everything. Rather, we need to determine what we want, then "rightsize" our lives to achieve our wants. That may entail something as extensive as toggling between intensive focus on work and intensive focus on a nonwork life, giving all of ourselves to our jobs for a time, then cutting back (maybe quitting altogether) for a year to focus on our families. Or it may demand rethinking how we work, like working part-time, telecommuting, or starting up our own business from home. Once we allow ourselves to think of alternative work options, we may surprisingly find a way to balance work and family in a manner that not only gives us time for our own lives but makes what we do or how we do it much better.

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Sometimes such alternative work options—rightsizing our lives—are not available or are unacceptable to us. If our time with family and friends is critical, then we need to rethink our business priorities. The solution may be to back away from heavy commitment to our careers and focus on our families, hobbies, or other interests. This doesn’t mean quitting our jobs. Rather, it means willingly stepping off the fast track, seeking a less intense work life. If the current work doesn’t allow this, then a change in position, even with lower pay, may be worth the increase in free time to use for family.