5 Ways to Balance Work & Family
5 Ways to Balance Work & Family
Let’s be honest - we all feel overwhelmed when it comes to balancing work and family, especially as moms. We feel the guilt of not being with our children during the day. We feel the guilt of not giving 100% at work, because we are trying to find ways to balance our time between attending little George’s field trip at school, baking cupcakes for the winter party, or attending 5,000 mandatory meetings at work. As if that isn’t enough, we must also remember to make sure the kids’ socks aren’t three sizes too small and that everyone brushes their teeth before work and school. Life. Gets. Busy. It’s busy for me. It’s busy for you. It’s busy for everyone. The good news is that there is a way to make the very best of each day! Not every day will be a complete success – but we can make it each one better. Let me share some practical tips for balancing work and family to help make each day better for your family and business.
1. Keep a calendar for the whole family.
When it comes to busy schedules and making sure we get it all done, (or most of it at least), keeping a central place for everyone to reference daily activities matters. My husband and I have just recently instituted keeping a paper calendar in our home, and it has begun to help make a difference (as long as I remind the husband to look at the calendar). It helps my husband and me to send weekly schedules to each other via text for easy reference as well.
2. Log all of your activities & reminders on your phone.
Include everything you may or may not forget. If there is the slightest doubt – write it down. I am notorious for being late and forgetting things (especially after pregnancy and birthing my son, basically my brain is shot). I rely heavily on electronics to remind me of what my life holds next. Some days get so busy that I even write down my activities in 30-minute intervals, which often includes things such as “take Lowrey to see the new construction site,” “change lightbulbs in bathroom and kitchen,” and “remind myself to look at the calendar for tomorrow.” Seriously, guys, I’m terrible. I HAVE to write it down, or I will forget! I have learned this: to stay on track – do it, practice it, make it a habit, and it will become normal.
3. Make a priority list at the beginning of each week.
Since I must balance working full-time - in addition to managing my small business – prioritization is KEY. Every week, I write a list of the most important things to achieve that week. Outside of my home, full-time job priorities come first, along with making sure my son is in the right place at the right time - then business. However, since my business will not operate at its very best unless I’m involved, I plan my time to run errands meticulously. Every. Minute. Counts. I only have 1 hour during my work day to make sure everything for my store is taken care of, so prioritization is essential in this process. I delegate everything else to my part-time workers. Otherwise, I have to deduct from family time to take care of business tasks. My family is my number one priority, so any additional time I can spend with them matters immensely. One nugget of truth that has always stuck with me I have learned from speaking to other experienced business owners is this: you can’t handle everything yourself. Delegate tasks to those who can do it for you, so you can take care of the more important things.
4. Check those items off the list.
If you’re a list maker, you know what I mean. That feeling of fulfillment when the check mark reaches the paper. Done. Bam. Fist pump. Got it done! It’s like getting a pat on the back when you’re able to complete a task and move on to the next thing. It motivates you. You feel more productive. Those little sensors in your brain are triggered, and endorphins run through your body. You’ve done well! If you can do this, and get your momentum going, you are likely to get more done. And who doesn’t want to get more done in a smaller time frame!
5. Enjoy your downtime.
Everyone - and I mean everyone - needs downtime. You need time to enjoy your family, time to do nothing, time to sit on your couch, munch on something tasty, read a good book, go for a run – whatever makes you happy and allows you to unwind. Schedule time for this. And I’m not kidding when I say schedule. If writing your downtime on your calendar or in your planner helps, do it. Let your employees and family know that you’re going to be out of pocket for that time, so they know not to disturb you. The Harvard Business Review stated the following:
“For one, creating the space for downtime increases productivity. Subject to heavy workloads and never-ending to-do lists, it’s easy to put our heads down and charge through tasks, thinking we have no time for days off, free evenings, or week long vacations. But driving too hard without breaks can make us less productive and less focused. One experiment conducted at BCG, for example, found that forcing employees to take days, nights, or extended periods of time off actually increased productivity. And other studies show that brief periods of downtime, like afternoon naps, can restore focus and energy. Taking the time to get out of the details and view of the larger picture can also help us better understand the purpose and priority of our tasks. As Tony Schwartz has written, “human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between periods of intense focus and intermittent renewal.”., (https://hbr.org/2012/12/the-upside-of-downtime).
Downtime is healthy. So make time for it – and do it. I like to get up before everyone else in the house and go for a 3-4 mile run, then enjoy a cup of coffee. Also, since I work full time in addition to running a retail store, I make it a priority to spend as much time with my family on the weekends. Yes, I may go and do a few things at the store on the weekends, but for the most part, I allow my part-time workers to handle the daily grind at the store. This way I can spend the time needed to keep both my son and my husband - and myself - happy. Now and then I’m able to schedule a date night with the hubs, which we all know is beneficial for everyone.
I hope that each of you finds this article helpful and restorative. We all need a boost from others when it comes to time management. Tomorrow is a new day and an opportunity for a fresh start! If all else fails, just keep going. You won’t get anywhere unless you put one foot in front of the other. You got this!