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The urge to balance your work and personal life is always a battle. On one hand, you want to make sure you’re committing the necessary time to your career, but on the other you need to complement all that time grinding with a little fun. Not to mention that if you’re in a relationship or have kids, you need to be able to devote some time and energy to your loved ones to. It’s hard to even nurture a friendship if you’re working all the time. Here’s how you can balance work, family, and fun.

How To Build Balance In Your Life

1. Learn your company’s policy

Find out about your company’s policies for flex scheduling and working for home. Let’s face it—we all need a day at home here and there when we can reply to emails and field phone calls while still tending to a sick kid, meeting a friend for brunch, or just catching up on chores.

2. Adjust your mood

Use your commute time to temper your mood. Get rid of your stress and relax before you come in the door or meet with other family or friends, so you can be present to everyone else. If you’re stressed, anxious, or unhappy, your loved ones will pick up on that and being around you will become a drain.

3. Eat dinner as a family

This is a tough piece of advice to follow, especially as your kids start getting older and everyone’s headed out the door to different practices, lessons, and events. But mealtime is a great time to touch base, find out about everyone’s days, and even just schedule and plan for the weekend. Even if you have to come home late and dinner’s already been cleaned up, take time to have dessert or a quick snack with your kids. Listen to their joys, their worries, and any other dramas in their little lives. If family dinners aren’t an option, find another way to be part of your kids’ routine. Join them for some part of their bedtime routine, make one night a week a special night, or start the habit of doing something fun or meaningful with them on the weekends.

4. Calendar your fun

Honestly, yes, it sounds a little lame, but the truth is that we’re all busy—too busy sometimes—so use your calendar for fun and social events. Whether it’s a happy hour with friends, a weekend hike with your family, a date night with your spouse, or your daughter’s soccer game, program reminders into your phone so you won’t miss these sacred events.

5. Protect our private time

Force yourself to take those breaks from work. Even if it’s just a mental break while you lose yourself in a podcast or a book on tape, those pockets of personal time are crucial so you don’t burn out and stop appreciating life.

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