Do you ever feel like you can’t keep up at work or at home? Maybe you feel behind and are always trying to play catch up? Being a full time working mom is HARD! Between the meetings, deadlines, meal prepping, homework helping, up half the night, getting ready for this game or that school program it is difficult to feel on top of everything. Creating a healthy work-life balance is key to finding success as a working mom.
So how do we create this healthy work-life balance? You may feel if you focus on being a great mom then your work suffers or vice versa. Feeling in control and balanced may not happen over night. But, follow these 6 tips and eventually you will find your healthy work-life balance.
Prioritize Your Tasks
The first step to creating a healthy work-life balance is to prioritize your tasks. There is ALWAYS something to do both at work and at home. There are not enough hours in a day to do every single thing you would like to do. You have to decide what needs your attention most and what has to get done now.
Each day I make a small list (usually 1-4 items) of the things I absolutely must complete at work and at home. Knowing today is my deadline makes me focus on these tasks and get them done in a timely manner.
I do have a larger task list both at home and at work, but these are not my immediate tasks to complete. I work off of the larger task list when I have extra time or at the appropriate time. For instance, I may have on my large home task list to organize my kids’ closets. Although, I know I am not going to tackle that until the summer as that is when it makes sense to put away winter clothes after the season changes. I like to keep it on my large list so I know what I have coming up and so I do not forget.
Another way to create a healthy work-life balance is to keep yourself organized. There are different ways to go about this and the same thing will not work for everyone, but here are some basics.
- Keep a planner. Whether in your phone, electronically, or with a pretty paper calendar stay organized with a planner.
- Make to do lists. Keep tasks and must dos on paper or electronically so you do not forget anything. When you think of something you must do get it on a list.
- Find a logical place for everything. We use many different things and products throughout the day. This includes our bathroom supplies in the morning, to our office supplies at work, to our kitchen utensils in the evening. Find a good and easily accessible place for items.
- Always put things away. After you use something put it back exactly where it goes. Looking for something is a huge time waster.
- Have less stuff. You may chuckle at this one, but the less stuff you have, the less you have to manage and keep track of. Less stuff means less clutter and less to clean. When you are at the store, buy items you know you are going to use.
Cut Out Unimportant Things
We all have 24 hours in a day. When you have a baby your time and priorities shift and the whole day is not “yours” anymore. So when a baby takes some hours in our day, something has to get cut out. Furthermore, when you have multiple kids, your time gets divided even more.
For example, I noticed a big shift when we went from 1 to 2 kids and how my time shifted. There just didn’t seem to be enough minutes in a day. Not only did 1 kid need my attention, but now 2 kids needed me and one of them was a baby. Therefore, I had to cut some things that were not as important to me. Baking and extensive/time consuming cooking were the first to go. Along with cleaning less, shopping/browsing, and exercising less.
Throughout our life we will go through periods of time where we just can’t seem to get our head above water and priorities change. Maybe you are dealing with an injury or a family member with an illness. Especially during these times we have to cut out everything that is unimportant to keep a healthy work-life balance.
Put Structures In Place
We all need structure. If we did not have structure our life would be total chaos. Divide up responsibilities between you and your spouse and your kids if they are old enough. This way everyone knows what they are responsible for and who is doing what.
The same goes for at work. Know what you are responsible for completing and the deadline schedule. Outline your activities to help achieve your goals. This structure helps you to remain efficient and focused.
Manage Your Time
Putting structures in place will help you manage your time. Get into a routine and follow a schedule. This will help you save time and feel in control. In fact, do the same for your kids. Kids will respond better and faster if they have a routine and schedule to follow. For more on how to improve your morning and nightly routine click here.
Some ways to help manage time is set a timer. If you know you only have 15 minutes to do a task then it keeps you stay on schedule to compete the task. Check the clock and always be aware of the time. This will help you gauge where you are at in what you are doing and to stay on time.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
I am a big advocate for working smarter, not harder, and it has helped me find a healthy work-life balance. For example, if I am making dinner I may make 2-3 portions while I have all the ingredients out. This way we have one portion to eat that evening and I will freeze or store the other for a later date.
Another way to work smarter is to follow or copy what another successful person has done before instead of “reinventing the wheel”. This is helpful to do at home and at work. If someone else already took the time to figure something out why do it again. In addition, follow what you have done before to work smarter and faster. Instead of trying a new way to do something, do what you have done before to save time and stress.
Final Thoughts on Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Creating a healthy work-life balance is challenging and may take some time. Prioritize your tasks and cut out unimportant things in your life to get done the necessary items. Keep yourself organized to save time and maintain your sanity. Life is always changing and throwing curve balls so put structures in place and manage your time wisely. Lastly, work smarter, not harder to save yourself time and to keep the stress low in life.