Many of us strive for the ideal balance between our love life and our career; unfortunately, few of us are good at it.
Work stress often spills into the home, whilst relationship woes can impact productivity in your career.
Now, we don’t hold the ultimate secret to ensuring your work and home life are perfect all the time; however, there are simple things you can incorporate into your routine to help you achieve a happy medium.
If we allow ourselves to bring work distractions home, it can cause us to focus less attention towards our loved one.
“Life and work distractions can become paramount in our minds and that leaves little time or energy for our partner,” says Allison Cohen, in QualitySolicitors’ guide to being closer to your spouse.
She suggests wearing the ‘relationship hat’, meaning that we are fully present when with our loved one. This way, we ensure we’re really listening to what they are saying, as opposed to focusing on our own thoughts about work.
Depending on your role, it might be impossible to neglect work completely at home; however, you should certainly consider making sacrifices. This brings us on to tip two.
By setting rules - that you both agree to - the atmosphere at home will soon become an optimistic one.
Whether issues are related to one of you working late, checking emails at the dinner table, or answering calls throughout the night, it’s important you both compromise where you can.
Start off small, like promising not to check emails after 8pm, and work your way up to something bigger, like agreeing never to leave the office over half an hour late. Whatever it is, if you both stick to your rules, you’ll soon notice a positive impact at home.
You can even use this as an opportunity to indulge work habits together. If you’re both guilty of doing a little work at the weekend – yet both get annoyed at the other for doing so - pick a time when you can both do work.
This way, you can do so without feeling guilty and without worrying about your partner feeling angry about you doing so.
Removing distractions and setting rules are great ways to feel closer to your significant other. Sometimes, however, the best way to ensure you’re both present is to arrange times dedicated to just the two of you.
What you commit to will depend on how your schedules overlap, the time you’re capable of putting aside, as well as your budget. Ideas can range from the more lavish, like staying away from home once a month, to the regular, like going for a run together three times a week.
Whether it’s a weekly date night, or quarterly city breaks, it’s important the two of you agree upon, plan for, and commit to, regular time with each other - where work is a restricted area.
After a long day, it can be tough to muster up the energy to hear about your partner’s day too, but it’s important you learn to. You’d want them to do the same for you, after all.
Don’t rely on questions like, ‘how was your day?’ either.
“Generally, that boring question will yield a boring answer, such as: ‘Fine, how was yours?’” says Allison. “This does nothing to improve your connection and, instead, can actually damage it because you're losing the opportunity to regularly connect in a small way.”
Instead, try asking questions that will provoke a more in-depth, and interesting answer, like, ‘what made you smile today?’ or, ‘what was the most challenging part of your day?’
Showing that you genuinely care about, and support, your partner’s job can boost your connection and will encourage them to do the same for you.
Nobody wants to come home to tons of chores, particularly if one of you feels like you’re making more of an effort with the housework than the other.
To beat this, agree to clear roles or timetables, and stick to them. Whether you split different chores between the two of you, or agree to alternate days, balancing housework means you can both accept your own responsibilities, whilst feeling happy that the other person is contributing just as much.
If they’re having a bad day, don’t forget to help out with your partner’s share too. This can only ever be a positive, as you’re showing your support, in turn inspiring them to help you in a time of need.
Balancing your career and a relationship is tough, particularly if the two of you are in demanding jobs; but it’s important that, where possible, you try not to bring work home.
This doesn’t mean you need to go cold turkey on your emails, but that both of you should make an effort to spend more time together - and slightly less on anything that can wait until you’re back in the office.
Learn to make time for each other and, in turn, you’ll both learn to give each other time to progress at work too.