I posted a question box about ‘work/life balance’ a couple of weeks ago on IGS and it got such a huge response that I knew I needed to compile things into a blog post. First up, it seems like most people agree that it’s nearly impossible, and also that there’s just never going to be a perfect balance – which is fine. I’ve noticed more this year than ever before, with two boys, a full-time job, family stuff, working on some big projects, and just life, that my balance was suffering, and so was my mental health because of it.
I started feeling like I was *always* behind in some aspect of my life and that I was letting something or something down. I’m really working on this concept this year and it helped by taking some time off after delivering Charlie, but dang, it’s an ongoing process.
While I obviously wish we all felt more at peace with this, it seems like the majority of us are feeling a similar way…which at least means I’m not alone. There’s a lot to do and a lot to manage!
So while I’m working on things, I wanted to first share a few quick things that have been working for me, and then I’m going to add in a bunch of your guys’ opinions. My Instagram has been down for DAYS now so I can’t grab the advice from the IG community, but these great answers came from the women in my Private FB Group (request to join here).
If you have any others to add, please leave them in the comments so we can all see them!
P.S. If you like this post, you might be interested to read the post 5 Women On: How They’re Balancing Motherhood During Quarantine because I think a lot still applies!
MY TIPS FOR BALANCING WORK + LIFE
- Batch work: I’ve shared this concept before (here and here) and I’ve started to get back into it now that we have child care for both boys. And something new I’ve tried to do is to batch my texts and emails. I notice that these two notifications are what can distract me most, and since I’m a person who likes to respond quickly, I found myself responding to whatever someone was asking or needing from me…basically all day. This is still hard for me but I’m trying to check in on texts and emails only a few times a day. I also batch things like shooting content, writing blog posts, brainstorming time, etc throughout my week.
- Delegate: I saw a lot of ‘delegating’ tips from the FB community and I have to agree. I order most of our groceries off Amazon Prime, we have help with cleaning our house and child care, and I have a small team around me to help run TTD, to name a few. Oh, and I don’t feel guilty (most of the time) when we need to order takeout because we don’t have time to cook. It’s a must!
- Keep everything in a calendar: We have a shared family calendar that our families and Austin and I can see/edit, and then I have a shared calendar with my team. I put things like blog posts, campaigns, etc in there and I also put due dates for myself to completing the lead-up to those projects.
- Weekly check-in: Instead of figuring out what my team is handling every day or what I need to do, my team and I do a weekly email looking forward to the next week (on Thursdays). This way, I know what I need to get done and can schedule those things in – then I know which days I have more time for family life or whatever.
- Reschedule appts right away: Whether it’s for the boys or myself, I try to reschedule my next appointment if it’s needed before leaving the first. So I do that for doctor’s appts, my hair, and nails, etc.
- Evening time off the phone: You’ll notice that I don’t share too many Stories during dinner or after school. I love having that time as dedicated family time and decompressing with the boys. I usually end up getting back on my phone after the boys go down and catch up with work, but I’d rather do that and sign off a little early each day.
- Accept mom guilt: Too much TV, a takeout meal, asking for help to watch the boys…all of these things can lead to mom guilt. And while I’m not saying I don’t deal with it, because I do, I’m learning to be OK with it. I know I’m personally a better mom when I’m working AND having downtime myself, so if it means Charlie is watching a full movie or they skipped a veggie for one meal, it’s going to be OK.
YOUR TIPS FOR BALANCING WORK + LIFE
- Alongside setting boundaries, I have found it helpful to schedule out & prioritize my workday to ensure I’m able to get everything completed by 5pm. -Sarah
- This might be an indirect tip for balancing work & life but I find that having less “stuff” and being as minimal as possible results in us having less to juggle. We stay on top of clutter, mail, messes, etc. and it frees up our time to focus on other (usually more important) things. I grew up in a house where every game day I was running around like a crazy person trying to find my cheerleading uniform or something I needed in a minute’s time and made a commitment to try to eliminate that type of chaos in our home lol. It really makes such a huge difference! -Richelle
- I would say outsourcing tough tasks as budgets permit is key! I work full-time as a Dermatologist and my husband is in construction management. It used to be a struggle to get work done, take care of the house, and spend time with family. By outsourcing, we now have time on the weekends to spend together and enjoy what matters most— our family! -Alexandra
- Have def not figured it all out but some things that have found work for me. (FYI, I work full time in accounting so lots of deadlines and crazy seasons and my husband is a firefighter so he’s not a home 2-3 times a week).
- 1. Having a family calendar for appts, school important dates, hubby shifts, etc. We have a beautiful acrylic one from Etsy one in our kitchen for easy access, but I know some people love shared Google calendars.
- 2. Outsourcing if you can and budget allows: cleaning/cooking/ grocery delivery.
- 3. It’s hard, but really trying to put phone away or disabling the work emails after work hours. I used to answer emails at 9/10pm and it took a lot of time away from family time.
- 4. Waking up 30min before kids for journalling and meditating. In the beginning, I suffered but now if I skip it, I regret it and feel it the entire day.
- Being OK with not getting it all done during the day. I left this for last but I think for me the most important thing was the mindset that I’m not a superhero, something will have to give it sometimes. It’s either time with my kids or a clean house some days. It’s either watching a movie with hubby because I won’t see him for 2 days or folding laundry… -Karine
- The thing I missed the most is the actual travel time to the office. That was my time to go from being “Mom/wife” to “Lynn – worker”. Walking 30 seconds to my office wasn’t cutting it. I started doing my old routine – work out/shower etc and GET BUSINESS DRESSED. At least the top half. I put coffee in a travel cup, prepped some fruit, etc. as I always did, and headed to my office. I also turned off our team’s notifications so I didn’t get distracted by those pop-ups that would come on my off time. It did help. -Lynn
- For me, it’s so important to get it on down on paper. Get it on a schedule, write it on a list, have that brain dump so you can say ‘OK, I got this.’ I can prioritize my work, my family, my health – I can see it laid out. I can remove the things I truly don’t care about or need to do. I keep a digital notebook next to me all day and just “brain dump” whenever I need to. Then I can go back later and stay organized. (GoodNotes for planner/notebook. Notion for databasing my financials, to do lists, planning, etc.) -Jaimee
- My personal opinion is that there is no such thing as balancing work/life. It’s more so focusing on one task at a time so you can be present in whatever you’re doing and be able to move on without having to think about the previous task. Here are my tips:
- 1. Shift your mindset. Once you get it out of your head that your to-do list will never end, life feels less stressful. I have an overall TDL list on my phone so I’m aware of what needs to happen in every category (health, to-dos for my mom, groceries, personal, etc.). I do this in the Reminders app so I can check off things – feels SO good, haha! It’s also okay if things don’t get done. No need to stress about it, just move the task to the next day.
- 2. Have routines set in place. For example, I do my laundry every Thursday so I don’t feel like I’m spending my weekend doing tasks I dislike. And I brain dump every night before I go to bed so I don’t lie awake thinking about stuff, lol!
- 3. The best thing that has helped me is the “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” mindset I learned from John Maxwell coupled with The 5-Second Rule from Mel Robbins. Did you know that when you have an impulse to do something (like working out for instance) and if you don’t take PHYSICAL action to move in that direction to make it happen within FIVE SECONDS, your brain kills it? Why is that? Because your brain doesn’t want to do anything that’s difficult. So as soon as you get the urge to clean the house, tell yourself “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” and get up within five seconds. Takes lots of practice, ha! -Huong
- I order my groceries online and someone cleans our house every other week…it gives me time to spend time with our boys and run them around to all their activities. Friday nights are family nights. My boys are 8 & 11 and they happily get off electronics to have pizza & movie/game night. It became very important last year when I was teaching virtual & face to face and was bringing lots of work home in the evenings. That was quality time and I think quality sometimes is better than quantity. -Jennifer
- Keeping a schedule! Utilize a planner or calendar app. Writing lists and being able to effectively prioritize and reprioritize tasks if needed. -Maile
- I am a school counselor, and for me, it is all about creating boundaries. I have to know when to unplug and end my day. Sometimes that can be tough, but it has saved my sanity! AND, don’t overcommit yourself. Give yourself 1-2 days a month with no plans. Spend it with family, self-care, catch up around the house, etc. -Taylor
- I feel like aligning on values and utilizing that to prioritize has been amazing. How do I want to show up at work/as a mom/as a partner? I also have tried to “reduce overlap”. I often get up early to catch up on work so it doesn’t intrude on nighttime with my kids and husband. Also outsourcing work! And lowering some standards – everything cannot be perfect. -Angela
For those that don’t work for themselves/have a boss (although this could apply to clients, too) is set boundaries and stick to them – don’t pick up a call in the evening, don’t respond to every email right away, don’t accept work assignments on weekends, etc. Once you’ve let someone think you’re always available then they’ll never leave you alone. Be reasonable but clear on boundaries and I’ve found people will respect them, but if you set expectations that are against your boundaries people will walk all over you. -Lindsay
A motto I live by is “my work may not be done, but I am done with my work.” I close my laptop and walk away from my phone for at least an hour to play with the kids. -Carolyn