It seems that “work-life balance” is one of the most discussed work trends today. Most view work-life balance as choosing a work from home job, going to the gym at lunch, or doing mindfulness exercises. As good as those things are, those with families have to think a little differently. According to Jim Hohnberger, author and founder of Empowered Living Ministries, maintaining a good work-life balance means taking work and family very seriously while also learning to prioritize one’s family needs above the job when required.

Earning Respect at Work

If one intends to put their family first, then they need to anticipate those days when they might need to leave work early or abruptly due to a family issue. Poor work performance keeps employees from building the trust that they need to call in favors to leave early.

Walking around with a “family first” chip on their shoulder will only breed hostility with managers and coworkers. In contrast, being fully present at work when it’s time to work will ensure that one is performing their best every day. A determination to be good in a professional role is the kind of work engagement that gives managers the willingness to micromanage less and trust the employee that feels the need to put their work on hold momentarily. Jim Hohnberger notes that an employee who is willing to give 110 percent whenever they are at work will have a much easier time calling in a favor if or when they have a family emergency.

What It Takes to Become a Pro at Communication

Communication is hard work. Those that feel they are good at it are very likely confused about what healthy communication is. Going to therapy just for the sake of improving one’s communication can do wonders to help one listen and respond more effectively. Good communication looks one in the eye and is kind, caring, and considerate of the other person more so than himself.

Family members need to understand what’s going on and be allowed to speak into factors affecting them or the family. Coworkers and managers also need to understand each other’s priorities and expectations. Being a good communicator is knowing when to validate someone’s emotions and when to tastefully provide an alternative perspective. Good communication leads to healthy collaboration and the ability to have others understand and support your priorities. An employee that knows how to cooperate with anyone – coworkers, managers, spouses, and children – will curate a better understanding with everyone in their life.

Taking Care of Self

People cannot handle their responsibilities well if they are unhealthy. Finding creative ways to exercise, eat well (remember to eat, for that matter), get the proper rest, etc. will empower better decision making and general happiness for a person who has a lot on their plate. Regularity and consistency are disciplines that bless us with balance and better health.

According to Jim Hohnberger, one of the finest ways for people to administer self-care is through regular meditation and prayer. Living in fullness with one’s spirituality can clean the mind of intrusive and negative thoughts throughout their day. Talking with God as a friend allows us to see life’s trials or distresses from God’s perspective, not our feelings, thus we have the opportunity of living in His peace.

The Family Makes the Rules

At the end of the day, you have to remember that your family is the most important part of your life. Learning how to collaborate with family members often means realizing that there are often many solutions to any one problem. After carefully shuffling all that life has to offer as a team, family life may end up deviating from the norm to meet the true needs or delay the unnecessary wants. Where there is a will, there is a solution.

But if a particular lifestyle works for everyone in the family under the current constraints, then who’s to say whether that lifestyle is right or wrong? Work-life balance for the sake of family is going to look different for everyone, and that is okay.

Making the Hard Decisions

There are times when poorly managed workplaces may ask someone to choose between a poor work-life balance or a healthy one. Those that are serious about achieving a healthy work-life balance have to be willing to make those hard decisions, should they occur.

While a job is important, Jim Hohnberger notes that it should not compromise one’s health or important relationships with their family. When your health or family is compromised, it may mean walking away from a job altogether. Taking time with God to know His will and way will bring wisdom in such cases. Often, being willing to make a hard decision puts one’s superiors in a mindset to negotiate a more appropriate work situation if they see your value.