There aren’t many businesses that offer as inconsistent hours in its schedule as the funeral care industry. Whether it’s Monday morning at 4, Saturday night at midnight and everywhere in-between, one’s schedule can be very chaotic. Hopefully, you knew that before you chose this line of work. At the same time, the crazy hours and long days shouldn’t impact your ability to have some semblance of stability in your life.
Even for an 8-to-5 job, being able to develop balance between work and life can be very challenging. Studies have proven that to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle, it’s imperative to find that balance. Your family, outside interests and social life should hold the same level of importance as your work. If you don’t have this in place, you can go only so long before the quality of your work with families and your attention within your personal life will be negatively impacted.
To help you find that equal footing on the work-life balance, here are 9 simple but important areas for you to consider:
Build downtime into your schedule. No one is able to go 100 miles per hour 100% of the time—and do it well. Make time for your batteries to recharge and develop a fresh perspective and focus.
Remove those activities that sap your time or energy. Re-evaluate what you do each day/week and determine whether you can either drop the task, reassign it or do it more efficiently. This will alleviate physical and mental drainage.
Make time for exercise. It’s a well-known fact physical exercise is good for the body and the mind. Something as simple as a 30-minute walk or bike ride with your spouse or friend around the neighborhood has tremendous value, especially when it’s a routine.
Remember that a little relaxation can go a long way. While many funeral directors ‘live and breathe’ their career, taking a break from it all is very important. This may include a little reading time, a family event, dinner with friends or a sporting event. Anything that takes your mind and your body away from work, even just for a short time can be a wonderful emotional stress reliever.
Enjoy your weekends, days off and vacations. When possible, these are the times to ‘check out’ and focus 100% on your personal and social life. Obviously, if one is on-call, that may be in the back of your mind but most people learn not let that ruin the moment until that call actually occurs. In the meantime, embrace your family and friends figuratively and literally—escape, laugh and forget.
Make a To-Do List and plan ahead. You can save so much time through careful planning, so make time to create a daily/weekly plan. This can become your roadmap for completing tasks effectively. Obviously, your position includes unexpected interruptions but that shouldn’t stop you from creating a reasonable completion schedule. This will help you to be accountable to yourself.
Set aside time for family. Like you would for a family in need of your services, so too, does your own family need you. Your commitment to them should be even stronger than that of to those in your job. After all, our family is why we do what we do.
Make deliberate choices about what you want from your life. In other words, don’t get in a rut or take things for granted. In any given week, a person may spend more time at work than at home (not including sleeping). That’s huge when it comes to giving your body, mind and spirit to your family in a limited window. Step back and examine what and why you do what you do.
Communicate clearly about what’s working and what isn’t. For example, if you put in 9 hours a day, re-evaluate your duties and those around you to determine if you could get your time spent down to 8 hours a day. Don’t find yourself doing things a certain way just because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it.’ Be willing to do things differently and more effectively
There are many reasons to love this career, especially when helping families at the lowest point in their lives; supporting a surviving spouse who is alone for the first time in 60 years, guiding a family through a funeral arrangement for their child, simply listening as a loved one reminisces…for so many, it’s a mission, a ministry, and a calling. There are a lot of jobs out there that don’t offer the rewards that you can appreciate.
But remember—in order to do your job well, you must find the balancing act between work and personal life. Create ‘me time’ for yourself and family. There’s the old saying, “Do you live to work or do you work to live?”
I truly hope you are doing the latter.