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How to maintain a work life balance

how to maintain a work life balanceAs Dads, we all have different views when it comes to maintaining a fair and reasonable balance between our work and our private family life. A father needs to be able to ensure that he puts in enough time and work to progress in his career and keep finances strong to raise his family, however he needs time for his children, their mother and importantly himself also so that he can hold onto some sanity. So how can you find the right balance, and when do you know you’ve succeeded?

Many new dads feel that they need to work overtime, perhaps due to pressure from the boss and colleagues after taking off some well-deserved paternity leave, or from his own expectations of himself in that he needs to be earning more now that he is responsible for another life. Obviously we should prioritise our own family and social life as this reflects better on our health, whereas our employers have the option to sever the relationship with their employee – but we will always be needed by our families.

Outlined below are some tips shared by our readers who feel they have finally come to maintaining the right balance;

  1. Prioritise work during the working hours in the week

If we aim to put in our 100% during the working hours of the week, then we will usually find that our productivity goes up in this time. A quality amount of work can be produced which will reflect well with the boss and other colleagues, and you can rest assured that work is left at the office when you come back home. This allows you to feel mentally relaxed without the pressure of work and once you are in this habit you can then learn to associate your home as your personal time with family and friends, and the office as a place solely to work.

  1. Set aside days off

Some readers pointed out that before they had children, they would pre-plan their time off from work, however many dads have realised that they need some off days available on standby. This is because they may be unpredictable days where perhaps day care is not available, maybe their child or partner is sick and they need extra attention at home or simply they have had a sleepless night and they need time off to recharge or just have a half day so they can attend an important school event.

  1. Dividing the week into early and late nights

If you have a partner and children, they need to spend quality time with you. Some readers stated that it works best for them to be able to finish work early some days, and on other days work late. They are flexible in their work approach yet ensure that the week has an equal balance between late nights and early nights also. Not only does this give you short targets to look forward to, you can then prioritise your work load efficiently and also give the appropriate time and energy to your loved ones.

  1. Do extra qualifications online

Most reader said that when it came to career progressing moves, such as obtaining extra qualifications, that they did them online via massive open online courses and online universities. These degrees are valued just as much by employers providing you are still working hard at work. The major advantage of doing them online is that you can still spend time with your children at home as well as being flexible when it comes to adjusting to your partner’s schedule.

  1. Divide and conquer kids schedules

It’s a perfectly healthy and recommended factor when it comes to raising children that you should let them attend extra-curricular activities. However if you have lots of children, of different age groups and interests then that doesn’t mean you don’t allow them to participate. The simple answer here is that you draw up a schedule that allows you to easily see who is needed when for pick and drop duties, these duties can also be shared if you have an extended family willing to help out such as grandparents or even child minders who don’t mind stepping in. Just because you’re busy at work doesn’t mean the children should be deprived of their rights to participate in new activities and socialise.

  1. Aim to work from home one Day A Week

If possible and your company is willing to let you do this, then you could work from home for at least one day a week. This gives you the time to pick and drop your children from schools and nurseries, or have some dedicated time where you can talk to them, as well as catch up on work in a more peaceful environment on your own terms.

It is essential to maintain a healthy work and life balance as this can not only benefit your own health, your relationships but it will also benefit your career as you will be able to think more rationally and stay focused. If your children feel that you are involved and interested in their lives, they are much more likely to be feeling secure, have higher self-esteem and much fewer social and emotional problems. Having a positive relationship with your children will also positively affect your general health and outlook on life.

Sometimes it is a struggle but if you intentionally make an effort you can find a balance and once a routine sets in, life is better for everyone.


  1. Great advice!

    Father’s shouldn’t feel stressed after returning from paternity leave. After all, Australia only offers up to two weeks paid paternity leave. They have used this time to bond with their child and help where it is needed. These policies are outdated and far behind that of other countries’. If we compare this to Sweden, which has 90 days reserved for the father out of their parental leave and Portugal, which allow 120 days leave at 100% salary, Australia is not that extensive. Besides, only 1 in 50 Australian men take paternity leave. The Paternity Trap is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the lack of men taking paternity leave in Australia. Thank you for highlighting the importance of spending time with your family and newborn even if you must work!

    If you have any ideas/thoughts, feel free to check out The Paternity Trap’s social media pages and blog.

    Thank you!