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10 Proven Ways to Balance Work and Family Life

Ways Balance Work Family Life

Having a work life balance is one of the most essential things in our daily lives. Not being able to give time to your family or being productive at work can be overwhelming or a matter of stress. Here are some ways to balance work and family without interference from the two.

Successful couples work at it.

Researchers at Colorado State University studied 47 middle-class, dual-earner couples with children to identify key strategies for successfully managing family and work balance. Here are the 10 ways that these couples found to balance family and work in a committed relationship. These are the kinds of choices successful couples make to have the kind of marriage they want, described in their own words.

Ways to Balance Work and Family Life
10 Proven Ways to Balance Work and Family Life

10 Ways to Balance Work and Family

1. Valuing Family

Successful couples stress the importance of keeping family as their highest priority. They create family time such as “pizza night” on Friday or bedtime stories every night. It is not uncommon for these couples to limit work hours, sacrifice career advancement, make career changes, or accept less prestigious positions to keep family as the number one priority.

  • Husband (H): …Every night, one or both of us read with our son for about 20 min.
  • Wife (W): …David was going to go to medical school…. creating eight-plus years of being an absentee father…. we said no…. we needed to pursue something else.

2. Striving For Partnership

Being partners means being equally valued.

  • H: …My job is both earning and caring, and so is hers.
  • H: …If I win and she loses, then we both lose.
  • W: …We continue to talk about career…where do we want to be?

Related: This Is How Prioritizing Work Is Killing Your Relationship

3. Deriving Meaning From Work

Successful couples experience enjoyment and purpose from their careers and jobs.

  • W: …We both really like our jobs…they’re stressful at times, but we…feel good about what we are doing.
  • H: …I get a great deal of satisfaction from my job.

4. Maintaining Work Boundaries

Successful couples make a commitment to maintaining control over work, not allowing careers to dictate the pace of their lives.

  • W: …We both like our jobs, but, when it’s quitting time, we’re out of there.
  • W: …When you’re at home, you’re at home; and when you’re at work, you’re at work.
  • H: …We’ve always said “no” to jobs that required long hours…weekends, lots of overtime.

5. Focusing And Producing At Work

Being productive at work is important to successful couples. Setting limits on their careers has not adversely affected their productivity.

  • H: …We’re both pulling our weight at [our] jobs. [No one] has ever felt that we’re slacking off or we’re getting off easy because we’ve got kids.
  • W: …I don’t mess around. When I’m there, I’m working.

Related: 6 Ways To Improve Productivity At Work

6. Prioritizing Family Fun

Successful couples use play and family fun to relax, enjoy life, stay emotionally connected, and create balance in their lives.

  • H: …I think a lot of our family bonding revolves around these excursions, going on lots of hikes or bike rips…sometimes fishing, concerts…the three of us.
  • W: …Once in a while, we’ll just try and do stuff off the cuff; one night we had a camp night in front of the fireplace.

7. Taking Pride In Dual Earning

These couples believe dual earning is positive for all members of their family and do not accept negative societal message about their family arrangement.

  • W: …Of course [children] fulfill you, but they can only fulfill a certain part of you.
  • H: …One of the nicest gifts that Patty has ever given me is to go to work and to bring home a good income.

8. Living Simply

These couples consciously simplifying their lives.

  • W: …He doesn’t go out to eat. We don’t need cable. We don’t need to sit in front of the TV anyway.
  • H: …We don’t use credit cards. We can’t have fancy cars where the payments just eat you up.
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Catherine Aponte

Catherine Aponte is a clinical psychologist who worked with couples for more than thirty years. She writes a Psychology Today blog and contributes posts to The Good Men Project. Throughout her career, she has been devoted to helping couples create and maintain a committed and equitable marriage. Her guide to achieving a committed, equitable, and vibrant family and work-life is in her book A Marriage of Equals (https://www.marriageofequals.com/). She trained at Duke and Spalding Universities and taught marital therapy courses at Spalding University as an Associate Adjunct Professor.View Author posts