We live in a day and time when you no longer have to choose between being a successful career woman or having a great home life, now you can choose both if that is what your heart desires. The key to balancing both is, well… balance. Here are ten tips to balancing the demands of work and home without losing your mind.
1. Get organized at work and home
How much of your day is spent looking for something that you can’t find but really need? This is a time-waster that can easily be eliminated if you take the time to get organized. Go through every drawer and closet in your spaces and start by eliminating clutter and excess.
After you are down to items that you actually want and/or need, arrange them so that everything has a place. Personally, I am a fan of labels because they help everyone remember to put things back where they find them. Once everything is in its ‘home’ be disciplined enough to maintain your newfound organization.
2. Hire help and learn to outsource
If you are working a full-time job and if your budget allows it, hire someone to come clean your house at least once a month. Let them do the deep cleaning so you do not have to find time to do it between work and family time. Is there a work task that you could outsource and save yourself time and energy? Then, do it! Time is precious and it is often more valuable than the money it would cost to hire someone to help you.
3. Set a schedule every week
Do you have a planner? If not, you should get one and learn to love it because it will help you keep a good work-life balance. Every week, write out the activities and appointments for the week first, the things that can’t be readjusted. Then, fill in the things that you want to do as a family.
Do you want to have a game night? Put it on the schedule. Do you need to go grocery shopping? Put in on the schedule. If it is not written down, there is a good chance that it will not happen. Don’t forget to schedule in fun, too!
4. Set boundaries
One of our biggest pitfalls as career women is that we can tend to be people-pleasers so we can have a hard time saying ‘no’ and setting boundaries. This can lead to serious stress in our lives both at work and at home. Give yourself hours and days of the week that are off-limits to anyone or anything that is not family.
And before you commit to something, ask yourself if you really have the time and energy that the task will demand of you. If the answer is yes, then ask yourself if it is something you actually want to do. You do not have to take on every charity function and room-mom request. Set boundaries in your life and stick to them.
5. Simplify your wardrobe
Do you start your day by staring blankly at all of your clothes and wondering what you are going to wear to work? That takes up so much energy and causes so much stress. How many outfits do you go through and toss on the floor before you find something that works for you?
If you are like me, too many! Instead, try putting together a capsule wardrobe by choosing high-quality staple pieces that you can mix and match. Basically, you are giving yourself a flexible work uniform so you do not have to waste time finding something to wear. One less thing to think about in the morning rush is always a good thing.
6. Be flexible
You know that schedule we talked about? Write it in pencil. You have to be flexible if you are going to be balanced. Things will come up or appointments will get canceled, kids will get sick, and priorities will shift. You have got to learn to roll with the changes and take it all in stride. If you are too rigid, you will be setting yourself up for a mental breakdown when things do not go as planned.
7. Give grace
You are not going to be perfect all the time. You are going to make mistakes and just flat out miss the mark at times. It is okay. Your family will forgive you and your bosses will too if they know how lucky they are to have you! So show yourself a little grace for the moment and trust that you will learn from your mistakes and be better next time.
8. Take a break
You are not Wonder Woman, you can’t do it all and expect to keep your sanity. Okay, maybe you are Wonder Woman, but if anyone deserves a break – I think it is her. So take five, or ten, or a whole weekend and unplug from the world so you can reset your batteries.
Put down the iPad and turn the phone on silent, just focus on your family and trust that everything else truly will keep until you get back to it. Those emails will still be there, those dishes will (unfortunately) will be there, too. Enjoy your break and be present in the moment.