The other day I was talking about juggling work and life with a group of successful women running their own businesses. I described what I do, and how I’m a mom of three young kids, and I got asked the question “How do you do it all?”
It got me thinking about juggling motherhood, work and all of my other priorities, and how the short answer to the question is…
I don’t do it all. Or at least, I don’t do it all at once.
Balance is an elusive concept. I used to think it was possible to “achieve balance” but now dislike that word. To me, it’s more about juggling. Some days my life might be more family-focused, other days more work-focused, and some days just overall chaotic. But when I look at a week, month, or year, it all evens out.
Working while having young children isn’t easy. Especially with the never-ending cycle of viruses and unexpected calls from daycare, and having to constantly reorganize schedules and adapt.
But, even if some days it doesn’t feel like it, I’m still making progress over time. And so are you!
There are a few tips, though, that can make life a little easier.
Instead of thinking about a day having 24 hours, look at your entire week. There are 168 hours in a week. Even if you sleep for an average of 7.5 hours per day, and you work an average of 50 hours per week, that still leaves 65.5 hours for other things.
While some days might be more work-oriented, others might be full of family time. Maybe you don’t have much time for yourself Monday to Friday, but you go out with some friends on Saturday, and Sunday you go to a yoga class. All that matters is that overall over the course of a full week you feel like you’re finding time for the things that matter most to you.
Do you really, really have to do everything on your to-do list? Can you say no to some commitments that aren’t that important to you?
By saying no to something, you’re saying yes to yourself and to what matters most to you.
Practice saying no. Keep it short and sweet, do not feel like you need to over-explain. A short “No, I won’t be able to do that at this time” should suffice. And if you get push back? You can choose to say that you’re focusing on your family at this time, or whatever else it is that you’re prioritizing.
Are you a perfectionist, wanting everything you do to be “just” right? If yes, you’re definitely not alone! While it might seem like a great trait to have, it can actually be harmful and causing you more stress.
By moving towards a “good enough” mentality, you might be able to get more done, be more efficient, and actually be happier. Delegating when you can and asking for help can also save you time and focus on what actually matters in your life.
What is your current “season” of life? Look at your current life stage and what is realistic for you right now.
I have three kids five and under so I have made peace with the fact that my house will be messy pretty much all the time, and that I will not have a perfect garden or lawn. The key is that I’m ok with that and I’ve learned to let go of unrealistic expectations.
I’m learning to embrace the (wonderful but messy) chaos of my current situation, knowing that one day, as the kids get older, things will change.
“The key is not to prioritize your schedule, it is to schedule your priorities.”Stephen Covey
And if you need some extra help to plan your day, week and month, download my free stress relief planner, so that you can stress less, prioritize your wellbeing and thrive!
Did you find these tips helpful? How do you “do it all?”
Write a comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,
I’m Valerie Hertzog, a MD and wellness coach that helps busy stressed out women reclaim control of their health.
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