With busy schedules and multiple demands at home and work, it's easy to take your relationships for granted. But the quality of your relationships with your spouse and children is the foundation on which your family is built. Good communication takes time and teamwork. It's a process in which the whole family should become involved.
Spend Time Together
The most important relationships in your life deserve your time and attention. If you feel that you're spending too much time on work and not enough with your family; it's time to re–evaluate your priorities.
•After you get home, dedicate your first 15 minutes at home to your children.
•Mark on the calendar part of each weekend to spend some private time with each child.
•Make a point to spend at least an hour alone with your spouse each day, no matter how busy you are.
Make Time to Discuss Problems
One of the first strategies to build and strengthen your family communication is to avoid letting aggravations accumulate. Try setting up family meetings, perhaps once a week, as a time for open dialog. Each member of the family can use this time to get little annoyances off their chests.
Have Fun Together
Strong family relationships are based on sharing all kinds of experiences. Make a point of planning fun activities your family can enjoy together, such as camping, bicycling and taking trips to the movies, museums and libraries.
Stick to the point and avoid dragging out old quarrels. Try to maintain a positive approach. If you have a legitimate concern, focus on it. Resist the temptation to bicker about things that have no bearing on the issue at hand. Also, be willing to give a little and compromise.
The Other Person's Shoes
Don't lose sight of the other person's perspective; learn to value it. Listen and acknowledge the other person's concerns, then discuss why you perceive the situation differently. Encourage that person to explain his or her feelings and make assurances that you want to understand his or her perspective. Then make an honest attempt to really listen.
Accept Feelings; Avoid Judgment
Even if something seems ridiculous to you, it may be of genuine concern to the other party. Feelings are real, so take them seriously. In the areas where you have conflicts, work together to pinpoint the trouble spots and implement changes to correct them.
Balancing Your Two Lives – Home & Work
Among the essential ingredients of a balanced life are meaningful activity, physical and mental health, satisfying relationships and peace of mind. To achieve that balance, you must successfully juggle the demands of your work, personal life, family and relationships. “If you're spending too much time working, and your personal time disappears, it's likely you'll become exhausted, stressed and irritable,” says Bee Epstein–Shepherd, Ph.D., a psychologist in Carmel, California. “Each of us has an average of 112 waking hours a week in which to satisfy all of our responsibilities. The more successful we are at completing our work and taking time for ourselves on a regular basis, the more often we'll feel satisfied and in control of our lives.”
Dr. Epstein–Shepherd says you should do three things every morning to start your workday with a sense of balance and purpose:
•List your daily goals.
•Determine your top priorities to plan your day.
“When setting your goals for the day, ask yourself, ‘If only one thing could be done today, which activity would it be?' The answer should be your top priority,” she says. It's best to prioritize your list according to importance, not how easily a task can be completed.” You may find you feel out of balance when your workspace is disorganized. Try the following organizing system:
•Arrange a specific place for files and tools and put them back after you use them.
•Don't use your desktop for storage. It should hold only those items you use every day.
•Create a workable filing system to avoid paperwork pileup.
•Use color coding. It makes any item easier to find.
•Don't save everything you think you might need someday. Clutter makes it more difficult to find what you really need.
•During the last 10 minutes of every workday, make a list of what you have accomplished. Then, outline what you need to tackle tomorrow. Finally, make a list of the work–related problems you could be taking home. Then tear up the list and throw it away to rid your mind of unfinished business and worries.
The greatest challenge for many of us is to carve out time for ourselves despite the unceasing demands of work, family and relationships. “But it's imperative you make time for rest and relaxation,” Dr. Epstein–Shepherd says.
Begin by setting aside the equivalent of an hour a day in which you do things you want to do. You can schedule that hour before or after work. Treat these appointments with yourself with as much respect as you would a meeting with a client or supervisor. Studies have found that people who take time for physical and mental rejuvenation accomplish more and are happier than those who don't take the time.
Creative people often get their best ideas while taking a walk, gardening or taking part in activities not related to work. “People who use their evenings, weekends and vacations for personal rejuvenation are more energetic and productive at work and play because they're living a life that is in balance,” Dr. Epstein–Shepherd says.
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For more information, please call us at 800–433–2320.
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