Ways to Deal with Work Life Conflict in 2017

If you have your own business, work life conflict is likely to be a pressure point again this year. In consulting with business owners they have all found ways to manage the balance between work and their personal life.


One key way to manage work life conflict is to prioritise your time. Several business owners minimise pressure on themselves by purely focussing on a few priority areas in their life. These typically include work, family and time to relax. In fact for many it only includes the first two areas.

Business owners often sacrifice hobbies, exercise and even precious time with friends. Through hard experience they realise they are unable to spread themselves across too many activities. At some time they experience the discomfort of not getting around to everything and are forced to limit their commitments.

So choose the top three most important areas in your life and focus solely on these.

Learn to say “No”

Linked to the previous point is learning to assert yourself. This is a crucial aspect in managing work life conflict. Schools want to involve parents as much as they can. So you may be called upon to act on parent teacher committees.

At work you may be requested to be part of boards, special projects, etc. As flattering as it may be, all of these lead to additional work.

Business owners become quite clinical and clear about what they are willing to take on.

Sit back and think about your previous year. Where did you take on additional roles or tasks because you did not know how to decline them? Work out a few ways in which you can politely step away from tasks that will place more pressure on you.

Theme for the year

One executive in a firm likes to have a theme every year that brings focus to family time. E.g. One year it was a physical activity in which all family members participated. This year it is to explore large nature reserves. He finds that this helps him to manage his work life conflict better.

In this way he is consciously ensuring that the family does spend time together. Last year he did road trips alone with each of his children. This brought them much closer together. It also created an opportunity for him and his each of his children to talk about issues that mattered to them. There were no work pressures or phones interrupting this precious time.

It is so easy to be purely work focussed. However, when you are a parent you have an enormous role in shaping and validating your children.

In consulting with executives it is clear that many of them leave the raising of their children to their wives. Children need both parents. They need a father and mother figure in their life. So it is important to find ways to remain connected with each of your children during the different phases of their life.

One business woman had been so focussed on her career that she never noticed that her daughter was leading a double life. After much heartache she discovered her daughter was addicted to heavy drugs.

So it is important to make time and to be physically and emotionally available to your children. In this way you will be able to observe any changes in behaviour and deal with it before it leads to serious problems. If one of your children are playing up, you need to look at your own behaviour first, not theirs.

In my dealings with entrepreneurs who have set up their own companies, it is evident that they all have problems with regard to work life conflict. They eat, live and sleep work. They are extremely passionate about what they do. Many are quite single minded: it is all about work.

One MD commented about how he had started out the previous year with the intention of being fully present for his family. Instead the harsh reality was an intense initiation into the world of business.

So do a review of your previous year and take one lesson from it. Decide what you can do to reduce work life conflict in 2017. If you would like some support on how to achieve this, you would benefit from career coaching.


Posted in Work-life balance.