Family & Parenting

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How to find more time for family

Working parents tend to have hectic schedules, and those responsibilities often impede on the time moms and dads get to spend with their families. Many parents strive to make more time for their families, and doing so can prove a greater reward than any promotions or bonuses earned at the office.

For those parents whose efforts to achieve better work-life balances remain works in progress, the following are a few ways to free up more time for those people who matter the most to you.

• Stop working. Once you leave the office for the day, resist the temptation to pick up your smartphone and check your email or listen to your voicemail messages. Smartphones have made it easier than ever before to stay connected to the office. But many working professionals feel this convenience has a significant downside, making them feel as if they are working round-the-clock, even during moments that were initially earmarked as family time. Working parents who want to make the most of the time they have with their children should ignore their smartphones during dinner or the time they spend hanging out with their kids or helping them do their homework. You can always sneak a peek at your emails when the kids go to bed.

• Shake things up. If your list of responsibilities is truly taking time away from your family, don't be afraid to shake up your routine. For example, instead of cooking dinner alone, involve the kids so you can get some extra time in with them. If you like to go on a nightly jog around the neighborhood, let the kids accompany you on their bicycles so you can still get your exercise without having to sacrifice time spent with your children.

• Propose changes at work. Work is one of the biggest consumers of parents' time. Parents who feel their work schedules are inefficient or in need of some change should try to think of ways to approach those inefficiencies so they aren't having such adverse effects on family time. Business travel was once a reality of life for many working professionals, but nowadays technology, such as video conference calls, can let working moms and dads stay closer to home without sacrificing their productivity. Before bringing any issues to your boss, think of realistic ways to institute change so you and your coworkers can get more time with your families without falling short of company goals.

• Move closer to the office. Though this might be a drastic change, moving closer to the office might free up more time for parents to spend with their families than any other potential change they can make. According to data from the United States Census Bureau, more than 8 percent of workers have a commute to work of 60 minutes or more. The Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey also found that nearly 24 percent of workers worked outside their county of residence, which no doubt contributed to the nearly 26-minute average commute time to work. Parents who feel their commutes are greatly diminishing the time they get to spend with their families may want to consider moving closer to their offices so they spend less time sitting in traffic and more time with their families.

Many parents are determined to spend more time with their families, and those willing to make a few adjustments can find that goal is not as difficult as it seems.