How dads can balance work and family

Balancing work and family is a challenge for many dads. It often seems that the demands of the workplace can’t be met within your normal working hours, while most dads wish they could spend more time with their children and partner.

Dad and daughter laugh and eat ice cream


Trying to achieve a better balance between work and family life is one of the reasons that dads seek out a new role, enter self-employment or reduce their hours. But it’s not essential to make wholesale changes to your life. There are some steps you can take that are simpler, yet pretty effective at restoring a better work-life balance.

Here are our five tips for balancing work and family more effectively.

1. Say no more.

At work we’re always encouraged to say yes – we want to be seen as positive, engaged and enthusiastic. But actually it’s OK to say no if it means you get a better work life balance. Clearly you mustn’t decline a major project, but you can say no to after-work drinks or smaller scale, optional projects.

Another great tool is to question deadlines. Many are set arbitrarily and can be pushed back, meaning you can avoid working late or over the weekend and spend more time with the kids instead.

2. Make a move.

Moving jobs is healthy for your career and your state of mind. If your employer isn’t family friendly, there are plenty of employers out there today that are much more supportive of their people in balancing home and career.

Take a look at the options. While you might think that finding a new job is a stress you don’t need, many dads find that a well-chosen move gives them new flexibility as well as improved pay and status.

3. Relax… just a little.

No-one ever looks back at their lives and wishes they’d worked more. Being a workaholic does more damage than good. While there will be some senior leaders at your company that have worked every hour to get where they are, there are many others who’ve progressed by achieving their goals in normal working hours. Presenteeism doesn’t necessarily mean good quality work after all!

Be realistic about what you want to achieve at work. Not many of us want to reach CEO level, so perhaps it’s time to stop and smell the roses in your current job.

4. Manage your time.

Most people at work are pretty hot on managing their diaries – so adopt the same approach at home. Time management is a great way to make sure that you devote a good proportion of your week doing what you love. Whether it’s a trip to the park with your children or a monthly date night with your partner, scheduling in the time is a sure-fire way of making it happen.

5. Think ‘wellbeing’.

There’s no point in having more time at home with the family if you spend it stressed, snappy or asleep. It’s important to look after yourself – and not just rushing from work to home and back again. Decent amounts of sleep, healthy food and exercise will pay dividends in improving your mood and your physical condition. And that way you’ll be around your loved ones for the long-term too.

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