How to super-size your time away from the quarry

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Lots of people think achieving a good work/life balance means spending less time at work. When busy quarry rosters make that near-on impossible, you can still achieve a more balanced life by maximising the time you do get with your family.

We know it’s hard, because long work hours can leave you feeling exhausted, but try to be as proactive as possible on days off. When they’re older, your kids will remember the great times you shared – and not the amount of cash you forked out on them. There’s no need to spend a fortune. Just spend time together.

Here are some easy ideas for keeping your family happy, healthy and connected:

  • Make the most of free attractions. All capital cities, and many regional towns, offer free entry to many cultural institutions. In Adelaide, for example, the cultural institutions on North Terrace are all free (that includes the amazing South Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of SA and the State Library of SA). 
  • Go bush. It costs nothing to spend time in the great outdoors with your kids, and they'll absolutely love it (once they get over the shock of being disconnected from their electronic gadgets!). Examples include planting something and watching it grow, camping out under the stars, or catching a tadpole and releasing it. South Australia has a great website called Nature Play SA – it's aimed at getting kids to enjoy more unstructured play outdoors, and the ideas are relevant for kids Australia-wide. Check it out at www.natureplaysa.org.au
  • If you’ve got teenagers and you’re going through a phase where the family isn’t quite connecting, take the emphasis off talking by spending quality time doing things like going to the movies, ten-pin bowling, playing tennis or bike riding. Organise a fun family project or go out with family friends to focus your minds on new things and give you fresh topics of discussion. 
  • Every now and then, enjoy quality time with your partner (away from the kids). Swap babysitting duties with friends or call in the grandparents to ensure you get free time together to relax and reconnect. Simple ideas with minimal distractions (like a country drive and picnic) take little organising but offer a great chance to unwind and spend one-on-one time with the one you love the most.