“Honey, I’m home!” When you are back from work and belt this out, do you have your loved one waiting to wrap their arms around you or have they already fallen asleep? Whether you live with your partner or not, balancing life, work, and your relationship has got to be an act that is circus-worthy.
Things were easier back in college when responsibilities weren’t as high in number nor their degree of importance. Once you start working, you realize that things you considered important earlier are trivial now and things that came easy are sometimes the toughest to do. We have all been there- a big project comes up at work and then takes priority over all else. All of a sudden, you’re pulling late nights, working even when home, and you’re finding it hard to sleep as your mind is constantly ticking. This might be fine as a one-off situation, but if it turns into an everyday reality, then you are jeopardizing self-growth and all personal relationships that you once had.
The key to maintaining quality of life is keeping stable relationships, with your partner, family and friends, making ample time for fulfilling activities and also taking a break from it all. Here are 6 simple ways to maintain the right balance in life, finding success as a couple while pursuing your career:
We can’t deny the fact that life forces us to choose one thing over another, which sometimes means that we might have to forgo a professional aspiration for relationship growth, or vice versa. But this doesn’t equate to complete sacrifice, more like an adjustment. You need to ensure that both your partner and colleagues know that they are mutually valuable, which means that putting in long work hours doesn’t mean that you don’t value your relationship, nor taking a personal day off means that work isn’t important to you. It’s as simple as keeping the two separate, compartmentalize – when at work commit to it completely and don’t let your love life be a distraction. Likewise, when with your significant other, ensure you’re spending quality time, putting away your BlackBerry and discussing topics that aren’t work-related.
A successful relationship often is the first step towards a successful career. In the current global situation of career uncertainty, a steady relationship can be both, a secure foundation and stress-reliever. Communication, therefore, is extremely important so that both you and your partner know what exactly the other is going through. The old adage ‘don’t go to bed angry’ holds water. If you wake up grumpy and holding grudges, then you’re sure to lose the rest of your day to the mood, affecting productivity at work and peace of mind at home. When you do take a break at work, it is recommended you drop a message to your partner or have a short conversation over the phone. Whether it is what time you both leave the office, or how often you will work from home, make sure you communicate and set clear expectations about the extent your careers will bleed into your life. An open channel of communication is key if you are in it for the long haul.
- Manage Your Time
Bad time management and lack of dedication, seem to be the number one reason behind job loss and the breakdown of a relationship. You must already know that these situations can be avoided with a little planning and using forethought. Make rules about work timings and time-spend together. If your career has a pattern of long hours at certain peak times then plan a vacation with your loved one accordingly before or after. When you do come back to work, make sure you are energized and dedicated, so that your boss knows you’re fully committed to work as well, while giving equal importance to your personal life. Carving out ample time for your relationship and work will help maintain the right balance for your devotion to them.
- Share everything
No matter how strong your personality, as you are no longer operating independently, you need to factor in your partner for almost everything. Be it decision-making, problems, chores or finances, share it! The first step in making a decision is considering yourself and then your partner. They should have an equal say, especially in the big life-altering decisions. It is not only about responsibility but about inclusivity, showing your partner that their opinion matters. Similarly when it comes to household duties, it is best to be organized and assign clear roles deciding who does what and when. It might seem silly but small issues like a sink full of dishes might escalate to a bigger unnecessary argument. And if you see your partner having a tough week, don’t hesitate to take on a chore or two of theirs, the brownie points earned will be worth it!
- Support unconditionally
No one said managing a relationship was easy and throwing a career into the mix, makes it as complicated as rocket science. When you have had a long day be it at home or work, it is hard to be attentive to the woes of your partner. Conversations can be tedious and that is understandable. What is important is to know that the right balance is found only after long periods of time, needing patience and understanding. You have to support your partner unconditionally in order for them to do the same for you. It is almost guaranteed that sacrifices will have to be made by one or both of you when it comes to a high-profile career. The acceptance and acknowledgement of that sacrifice is what will help you and your partner achieve success, both personally and professionally.
- Understanding yourself and accepting your limits
Finally, it is extremely important to ensure that you understand yourself, your aspirations and know your limitations. Sometimes a job or a relationship might demand too much out of you, making every effort-addition a subtraction of yourself . As mentioned earlier, adjustments are always part of the process, but when you feel like you are losing your identity, it is critical that you analyse your situation and the bigger picture, and be decisive about the future of your job or relationship. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you give up when the going gets tough, it means that you are sure that you have given it your all and have reached your limits and this is the most logical thing to do.
Extensive research on careers and relationships have shown that people in successful relationships are not only healthier, but make more money, live longer, and are promoted more often than unhappy ones. Once you analyse your priorities, keeping your work and love life harmonious and your sanity intact will be that much more easier.
After all, what good is a promotion, if you can’t share your success with a special someone?