Work Life Balance Tips – How this working mom creates quality time with family while balancing a career, spouse, the home and more! A busy mom… achieving it all… like a boss!
Work Life Balance Tips
I am not going to lie. Working full time and being present with family often feels like a juggling act with too many balls (and bills – wink.) I don’t always do it gracefully. While I’d like to be perfect at both, it’s not always possible. Below I share my tips for creating quality time with family while trying to balance a career to best of my ability.
“I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.” Tina Fey
Grab the work-life balance that you’re aiming for or change the perspective from which you come! You too can do the impossible.
Get Up Early or Stay Up Late
I figured I would start with my least favorite time. I love sleep, but sometimes the solution is taking away part of something you love – just not all of it. Whether you work from home or you work outside of the home, it can be hard to balance it all. During an especially busy season, I have noticed that getting up earlier or staying up later (within reason) is a great way to balance life a little more. This allows you more time to do the extra stuff when the kids aren’t able to disrupt your productivity. While I would tell you I would rather stay up late to work, this is the truth. I am much more productive in the morning and I do not take away evening time with my spouse – the juggle of being present for everyone one.
Let Go of the Guilt
If you work full time, you don’t need to feel guilty about it. As long as you’re not working yourself to death, you should not feel bad about working and providing for your family. Letting go of the guilt is so important. You will not be able to move on to a good work-life balance if you don’t let go of the guilt of being a working parent.
How to Let Go of Guilt
The best way to let go of guilt is changing your perception of the situation. You feel guilty about working too much and not having enough time with the kids. Learn to turn those feelings around. Don’t dwell on the negative, less time with the family: dwell on the positive. Quality time when you are together and how you are providing for your family through work. Look at the blessing of having a job so you can give your family xyz – shelter, food, or even the added vacation. What is your long term goal with this income? Anytime I see myself going to that negative place, I quickly turn my perception around to let go of the guilt.
Schedule your Time
Stop. This is really the best advice I can give. Block schedule your time as much as you can. Create blocks of time throughout the day to get work done. If you can’t work for longer periods of time because you need to be present with your children, then this works wonders. Block scheduling allows you to work on what you need to get done, but in smaller increments. It makes managing a to-do list a lot easier. I also suggest you do not make a generic block schedule. Each block should be specific. For example, for my blog of work time, I don’t just write “work time.” In this block of time, I am specific about what I am doing.
If my block schedule for work is from 9 AM to 12 PM, on my to do list, my schedule might read like this.
- 9:00 – 9:20 – read and respond to emails
- 9:20 to 10:00 – compose email for blog audience
- 10:00 – 10:30 – repin post content
- 10:30 to 12:00 – write new post content
This time schedule helps me adequately fill my time without wasting time on tasks that are not as important or on social media. You can print our Daily Plan organizer in our Busy Mom Binder. If you are working from home with the kids, use our incremental time sheet for mom, baby and toddler. If you have a project coming up, our big goal planner will help you achieve your final project.
Incorporate the Kids
There are times I schedule my day and I don’t finish. There are times that one of my five children needs to sit beside me while I work. There are times, where I have asked the older kids for help. Call it an electronic hour and pass out the Kindles, the tablets, the game systems, etc. Let everyone “work” together. Hire one of your older children to do one of the mundane tasks you hate (for me, re-pinning content to Pinterest or editing spelling mistakes in a post.) There are times you have to work when the kids are around and you can do this successfully but involving them in their own electronic activity or promises of exciting activities when mom is done!
Don’t Over Do It
It’s impossible to create a good work-life balance if you have too much work. Sometimes you just need to scale back for the sake of your sanity. You are only one person, but you also have children. If work consumes your life, it will be impossible to create a work life balance that makes sense! Read how to let go of quilt above.
Do One Thing at a Time
Have you ever tried to do two things at once? You probably weren’t very good at it. When you focus on doing one thing at a time, you are going to do it better. Separate your tasks into what needs to be done and then do them, but don’t try and do everything at once. A well-balanced work life and home life happens when you are able to focus on one thing at a time.
Take Care of Yourself
Trying to be there for your job and then trying to be there for your kids will wear you out to no end. You have to take care of yourself. Your kids will see that you are run ragged if you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep well, and do fun things! What’s the point of a good work-life balance if you don’t take the time to take care of yourself? There is no point. It’s challenge to do, but try to get away from a couple days. Away with no kids and work. Even if it is a weekend stay-cation. Split the kids up with friends or have family visit for just a weekend.
Quality Time with Family
Remember I talked about how to let go of the guilt. When you work, you work and you are dedicated. When you are off work, it’s important to create quality time with family.
Hacks for Putting Aside Work to Focus on the Family
There are some hacks out there that can help you put away work and only focus on the family. You can’t have work on your mind 24 hours a day. Well maybe it is on your mind, but it does’t have to be in your hands on on your lap. You have to be able to put down the work and focus on the family without the stress and anxiety of work following you around.
Here are a few hacks to help you out!
Turn Off Your Phone
This is hard for me but I know my phone can be a huge distraction when it comes to work and family life. You can easily set aside work and focus on family by turning off your phone. Turning off the electronics in your life means that you get to focus on those around you and not what emails might be coming in. It also is a reflection to your older kids who are raised in an era with electronics and want to be just as connected as you. If you can put the phone down, it might show them they can put the game system down for a bit too.
Schedule Days Off
When you have a day off work, keep it a day off work. While it’s nice to be productive, you need these days off to focus on your kids and your family. Schedule days off and keep them days off! This will allow you to really set aside work and focus on the family. If that day off is not consistent, add it in your family command center. Have a calendar that shows the kids when that day off is. For my kids, they know that every Tuesday mom doesn’t work and we start the day at Dunkin’ Donuts. It is tradition and it gives them a day, other than the weekend, to look forward to. You could have a breakfast tradition or schedule other things like a visit to a museum, library day, an ice cream afternooon or even a family game night.
Sometimes a nice hack for putting aside work and focusing on family is perspective. Know that your kids won’t be this age forever and you NEED to take the time to spend with them now. Although everyone tells you the days are long and the years are short, we don’t truly understand until the kids are grown and gone.
If positive quotes and mantras are hard for you to remember, put a post-it note on your mirror. I actually have a hanging art work at the bottom of my stairs that reads “Today is a Good Day to Have a Good Day!” I am naturally a negative Nancy (sorry Nancy) and this reminds me to focus on the good in each day. I have to read it every time I come down the stairs – which is many times a day!
Work-life balance does take some effort, but you can do this! While it’s not possible to achieve the ultimate work-life balance, you can make small improvements to eventually get to where you want to be.
What tips would you add to this list? Let’s share in the success of balancing family and work with one another!
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