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Balancing act: Don't wait to build better work/life balance

Published: Tuesday, July 17 2012 12:15 a.m. MDT

Set expectations at work. This can be challenging, but try to build a good relationship with your boss and manage expectations. Make it clear by your words and actions that you'll work as hard as you can while you're at the office, and that you'll be available to do extra work when necessary, but that you're going to devote time to your family, too. In other words ...

When you're at home physically, be at home mentally. During evenings or on weekends, focus all of your attention on your family. Help the kids with their homework. Listen to the stories they tell. Turn off your smartphone or put it in a drawer if you have trouble resisting the temptation to check work email. Beyond that, spend time with your spouse and ...

Make time for date night. It's easy to get caught up in the necessities of daily life, to the point that you and your spouse forget to spend time alone together. Don't let this happen. Schedule frequent date nights, and make sure you follow through. You can do the same for your children if you ...

Schedule regular parent/child outings. There's no substitute for spending one-on-one time with each child. Take your daughter to the ice cream shop. Take your son bowling. Wherever you go or whatever you do, make sure you focus on that one child. Ask about school, friends, challenges, worries, successes, plans and dreams. If you take the time to talk to them, you'll be surprised what you learn. And speaking of time, you also need to ...

Take time for yourself. Read a book. Write a poem. Take a walk. Exercise. Remember that you are part of your work/life balance equation, too.

These are just a few ideas, but they've helped me build better balance in my own life. I only wish I had been more focused on these things in my 30s, instead of learning my lessons in my 40s.

I urge you not to make the same mistake. And if you've got other tips, please pass them along. I'll share them in a future column.

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