Balancing Work, School and Family

Balancing Work, School and Family

Greetings students!

I wanted to encourage you this month in finding a balance between your work, schoolwork and family time. During my undergraduate work, my Master’s degree and now my PhD studies, I have worked full-time along with being a husband and father. It has been a constant state of give and take and sometimes things have had to fall through the cracks. We can’t expect corporate America to recognize how much parents are needed at home. The employee’s family life isn’t a part of the annual report, nor can it be measured on the bottom line. And if you are beginning a program or degree in school, how can you balance all of this?

Work smarter. What’s your body clock? Are you a morning person? Or do you do your best work at night? If you get more done in the morning, perhaps you should begin working earlier in the day. That way you can get off earlier, thus giving you more time at home.

Cheat on something. As a parent, a student and an employee you are constantly being pulled in many different directions. Andy Stanley wrote a great book called Choosing to Cheat. His point was that we cannot do it all really well and that something is going to suffer. Choosing what will suffer will help you sort out your priorities. Do you want your family life to suffer? Your work? Your grades…?

Skip going out to lunch. Yes, it’s nice to be served a prepared meal, but by the time you’re seated, given a menu, order an entree, wait for the food to arrive, eat, ask for the check, make the payment — well, say sayonara to a huge chunk of time. And that doesn’t include the minutes lost driving or walking to the restaurant.

Be Intentional. Purpose yourself to schedule time for work, school and family. Being intentional and planning your calendar will help to give everything the amount of time it’s due. From the beginning of their marriage, Don and his wife, Rhonda, have gone out for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee every Sunday night. Shortly after the waitress clears the plates from the table, Don and Rhonda reach for their personal calendars. For the next hour, they go over their schedules — work, church activities and kids’ programs — for the coming week.

Reserve the weekends for the family. If you let work — the Monday-through-Friday variety — encroach on your weekends, you’re headed for misery. Christopher, a salesman for a marketing firm, still puts in 50- and 60-hour weeks, but he’s stopped working on weekends. “Saturday and Sunday are for the kids,” says Christopher. “They should know that from Friday night to Sunday is family, and that we’re going to do something together, whether it’s playing baseball, going to Sea World or whatever.”

Believe God’s promises. Gregory used to work 11 and 12 hours a day, but after five years of burning the candle at both ends, his marriage fell apart. When he became a Christian awhile later, Gregory remarried. Inside, he felt different about his reasons for working so much.

“I first read God’s promises, then I really started to believe them,” he said. “Especially the one where it says that God will provide for all your needs”. I thought, “OK, Lord, I’ll slow down and trust You to bring in enough work so the business can survive. These days, I won’t work more than 10 hours a day. I’m not always able to get what I want, but we always have what we need.”

Choose a few of these areas today to work on and turn some of the bad patterns around in your life.

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