If you have trouble finding enough hours in the day, you're not alone. Despite ongoing reports about the dangers of stress and the importance of creating a work-life balance, some workers are struggling more than ever.
Twenty-four percent of U.S. employees say their work-life balance has become tougher to manage, according to a 2015 survey conducted by Ernst & Young.
But not everyone feels guilty and frazzled all the time. There are some successful working parents who find peace in their busy lives.
Here are five things they give up to achieve a successful work-life balance:
1. The idea that you have to neglect yourself.
A 2014 study found the key to a healthy work-life balance is making time to exercise. In addition to working out, successful working parents get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet. They know they need to take care of their needs first so they can give their families and their careers everything they've got.
If you don't take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, you'll always feel stretched too thin. The times when you feel like you couldn't possibly spare a minute for yourself are the times when it's most important to make time for yourself.
2. The desire to make their kids happy.
Successful working parents strive to raise children who will grow up to become responsible adults. They assign chores, encourage autonomy, and expect their kids to pitch in.
They follow through with clear consequences when necessary to help their children learn valuable life lessons. And ultimately, they model hard work and allow their children to experience disappointment.
Your role as a parent doesn't mean you have to be obsessed with making your child happy. In fact, studies show overindulging kids actually makes them unhappy over the long-term.
3. The guilt about being a working parent.
Successful working parents devote their energy to being the best parents they can be in the time they have. They focus their parenting time and energy on raising their children well, not wishing they didn't have to work.
Many parents feel bad about the long hours they put in at the office, especially working moms. They also worry about the impact that being a working parent will have on their children.
But a 2015 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that when it comes to spending time with kids, quality actually matters more than quantity. A few minutes of quality time every day is more beneficial than hours of time together when you're feeling hurried and frazzled.
4. Their pride about not asking for help.
Successful working parents don't depend on other people to raise their children. But they are willing to trade favors. They might exchange carpool duties or share in childcare efforts to help one another, for example.
Knowing their children are well-cared for helps them remain productive while they are at work. And the more work they can get done at the office, the less work they have to bring home.
It's tempting to adopt an "every man for himself" mentality in today's world. But it really does take a village to raise a child. This is especially true for single parents, so don't be afraid to ask others to help you out once in a while.
5. The belief that balance means equal.
Successful working parents don't try to split their time up in a way that's fair. Instead, they remain flexible and attentive. When their work-life balance seems off-kilter, they readjust as needed.
A work-life balance doesn't require your time be split equally. There will be times when your family needs you more and times when your career will require more attention.
Don't waste your precious time and energy beating yourself up for that baseball game you missed or that networking event you skipped. Instead, give yourself credit for the amazing juggling act you do.