As a mother of four, a daughter to an 81-year-old mother, a speaker, and an owner of a growing business, I am often asked how I manage to keep it all going. The bottom line is, I accept that balancing work and home is a myth. At one point or another, your personal life will be taking up your time, and at others, your work will have you all consumed. The trick is to not beat yourself up about it and attempt to keep the balance to 60-40 without losing your mind.
For those of you who follow me regularly, you will notice that over the past year, I have been far less active in business than usual. With the birth of my daughter and the death of my brother, family has definitely received the lion’s share of my attention.
The pendulum is starting to swing closer to the middle. As the sadness of losing my brother is getting more manageable and my little one is hanging out with a nanny a few times a week, I’m writing again, speaking more often, and being more active in business.
The key to success—and sanity—for me is setting priorities and creating boundaries. It took me years to realize that just because my clients pay me, they don’t own me for life, and just because I love and adore my family, I don’t have to drop everything for them the second they ask.
I’m not going to lie, there are times when I feel like throwing my arms up in the air and giving up on everything. I have often mused about working as a spa receptionist on some remote island. (Doesn’t that sound so peaceful)? But, the truth is, I love my life and all of its craziness. Here is how I keep my sanity…most of the time.
1. I’ve accepted that I can’t be all things to all people. Sometimes I have to say “not right now” or flat out “no” to requests.
2. I make manageable to-do lists for personal and work tasks. It’s liberating to cross those horrible tasks off!
3. I have decided to ignore the clutter around my house until it becomes a fire hazard or other safety issue. I have help keeping things clean and germ free, but there are some closets that would cause an avalanche if opened.
4. I make sure that the family eats dinner together, even if it means eating out. However, as I am trying to concentrate more on my health and my kids’ health, my goal is to fire up my crockpot more often so that we can still eat healthy meals together and connect at the end of the day.
5. I take regular vacations. When I think I have too much to do and that I shouldn’t take the time to get away, I know it’s time to get away. I always come home rested and far more efficient. My to-do list gets done in half the time.
6. I maintain a decent quitting time or start work later. It is important to get away from work. Just like vacation, having time to relax and unwind daily is key to being creative and efficient.
7. I embrace inspiration when it hits. Whether it’s cleaning the clutter, doing something with my kids, writing, or creating something for a client, when I am on a roll, I don’t let myself get interrupted. Sometimes that means burning the midnight oil, but as I stated above, I then give myself time to relax the morning after.
There are two things that I still struggle to make time for: alone time to do something just for me, and time at the gym. Both are so important, and I fall short on both. If any of you have some great suggestions on how to fit them into my daily routine, I’d love the advice!