New ways to find work/home balance

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If you love your job, but it consumes most of your time and energy, you might need to rethink the balance between your work and home lives.

Hard work has a place in our lives, of course, but it shouldn't have the only place. Play and rejuvenating leisure should be part of the picture, as well. After all, life's not entirely about money. Consider your options to get things balanced in a way that satisfies your professional and personal sides.

Explore the options.

More and more companies are allowing flexible work options that may meet your needs better. Working some hours in the office and some at home allows you more family time and eliminates some commute time. Employers benefit from this arrangement, too; for instance, they may benefit from email coverage in off-hours, evenings and weekends, instead of only during normal office hours.

Can you live on less? Going part time might be worth it. Another option is job sharing, an arrangement in which two compatible employees share a job. Each person still does the job at which she excels, but her office time is cut in half. If your finances can take the hit, this can be a viable solution and give you more time with your partner or children.

Asking your employer about flexible job hours is a start. At worst the answer may be "no," but you might be pleasantly surprised. In any case, you'll never know unless you have the discussion. Offer to implement the new schedule on a trial basis to prove that it will have no impact on the quality of your work and the hours you put in.

Define your needs.

It's always going to be a trade-off: a bigger paycheck vs. time with loved ones. After an illness or death, we rethink things because we are reminded of the limits and fragility of life. Being a superstar provider is great, but you can't buy back time. Children grow up and leave home in what often seems like the blink of an eye.

Understand what you really want, and look for solutions that give you the balance you need among career, life, relationships and home. Your current path may be just right, or you may need to explore other choices.

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Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate station. Deciding to switch gears and write fulfilled a lifelong ambition. She started as a blogger for a diverse group of businesses, and now writes for a number of websites for companies in her hometown in the Rocky Mountains, and provides advertising copy and media buying for national and regional clients. She finds the research as interesting as the writing, learning about subjects as diverse as construction scaffolding, child safety seats, and newest trends in beauty and fashion. As a long-time devotee of SheKnows, she’s thrilled to see her own work on the pages.