How to keep home life calm when work gets crazy

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Achieving a healthy work/life balance is important but let’s not kid ourselves – when things amp up in the office, personal time usually takes a hit. Here’s one management professor’s advice on how to survive a stressful patch while keeping your home life on an even keel.

“It’s not possible to have perfect equilibrium among the four domains of life – work, home, community, and self – every day, every week, or even every year,” says Steward Friedman. “Naturally, there are times when any one of these aspects of your life has to take centre stage.”

Friedman is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder of the Wharton School of Business’ Work/Life Integration Project – he says professionals need to “forget balance” and find a way to talk through times of high stress.

“When a spike in work-related activities is having a deleterious effect on your family or on some other part of your life, then it’s time for what I call ‘stakeholder dialogues,’” he said, “conversations with the people who matter most about your mutual expectations and how best to meet them, now and in the long run.”

Friedman says there are five steps to making sure these discussions are a success.

1.“Provide context”

Let the people closest to you know why your work is demanding a greater deal of your attention than normal, suggests Friedman.

“Keep it short,” he says. “This is not an excuse, just a brief explanation to set the stage for dialogue.”

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