5 Strategies That Helped Me Balance Work And Home And Create A Life I Love
When you hear the expression “work-life balance” you might believe that it is possible to fit everything you want, from these areas of your life, in your schedule.
Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but experience has taught me that such balance actually doesn’t exist and that it is impossible to do everything at the same time.
That what will bring you a real sense of balance is to learn to make choices that resonate with who you are, what you want for your life, and be at peace with them.
Here are five strategies I learned about work-life balance.
1. Work Is Life
Unless you’re working to “pay the bills” and have no intellectual or emotional investment in your professional activity, I found that it’s a mistake to separate work and life.
I love working.
Besides monetary compensation, my work is an integral part of who I am, is a vital source of my self-expression and it makes me feel useful and contributing to the betterment of the world.
For years I fought against the immense pleasure my professional activity brought to me, thinking I was a workaholic beyond “repair.”
The freedom to allow myself to let “work” be part of “life” came to me when I was reading a gorgeous interior design book (one of my passions) by Suzanne Kassler.
In it, she says “I am constantly working. Everything around me is inspiration”. She was talking about me.
I see learning as a life-long journey, and I am continuously looking, learning, searching for more and I enjoy this process thoroughly, so why should I amputate “work” from “life.”
If you feel the same way about your professional activity, maybe it’s time to find ways to integrate what you do in your daily life instead of compartmentalizing your life.
2. Not Having Time For Everything Is A Good Thing
Of course, we would love to have unlimited time for every invite, desire, and demand that pops into our schedule. But, thankfully we can’t do it, and that, my friend, is a good thing!
Having to restrain ourselves gives us the opportunity to focus on our priorities and learn to be selective about our choices.
I learned to make these choices by paying close attention to who I am, what matters to me and how I want to feel.
For example, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. Being available to the kids has always been a priority, so when I decided to start my business, it was clear to me how many hours I would have to dedicate myself to it.
Having emotional clarity about what matters to you helps you make choices that resonate with your values and that don’t result in resentments later on.
Or, if you know professional development is an essential part of your life at this moment, turning down an invitation for a weekend getaway with friends to instead go through that online course you bought will make you feel stronger about yourself and the choices you make.
What I observed is that the more choices I make, that are aligned with my priorities, and how I want to feel, the more confident I feel about myself.
3. Nothing Lasts Forever
When my now teenage sons were babies – I have twins + one, life felt like a never-ending treadmill of diapers-bottles-playtime-naptime-laundry-cooking-rinse-repeat.
My husband was a resident, my entire family was in Brazil, I didn’t have friends or a support system to help me at all, and we didn’t have the money to hire help.
At that time I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that one day I’d be able to take a shower without interruption, much less, build a business and go back to work.
When we are in the midst of an overwhelming time in our lives, we tend to believe that it will last foreveeeeerrrrr. But, I promise you, whatever you’re going through today, this too shall pass.
Life comes in ebbs and flows and what now seems overwhelming to you, will be a memory one day.
If you’re living a very demanding time in your life, be even more selective about your choices, and above all, be kind to yourself.
You may not find a full day or even an hour to rest or do what your heart desire. Maybe all you have are 20-minute a day for yourself, and if that’s the case, make the most of it.
What’s important to understand, is that just like your life will change, so will your priorities.
4. Having a Schedule And Sticking To It
When I became a mother, I was the most undomesticated woman you could have met.
I grew up in a culture where having live-in maids is a part of life, my mother is an M.D. and had a full-time job, so did my dad, and I was raised to be a professional, not having received instructions or participated in any household activity, ever.
So, when I found myself pregnant with twins and without “a village” or help, I turned to books to learn what I needed to, to go through the new experience.
I read many books, but the one information that stuck with me was: you need a routine, your children need a routine. And so, I followed the one proposed in one of the books, and that kept us all sane, clean and fed. #winwin
If you want to feel that you have control over your time and your life, you need to establish a routine and stick to it.
Each of us has a different life, and only you can determine what works best for you and your family. What matters here is that you design your routine according to your priorities at this time in your life, and stick to it.
The cadence and predictability of events will eventually sink in, and you (and everyone around you) will feel calmer knowing what comes next. It’s a beautiful thing!
5. Don’t Think You Need To Do It Alone
Your house will always need work.
Household chores like cleaning, cooking, and doing the laundry are never-ending and other than the pleasure of enjoying a clean and tidy home, there’s no payment for it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your household chores, it’s time to get everyone involved or depending on your budget, hire help.
From your spouse to your kids, everyone can pitch in, and the sooner you accept that each of us has a way of doing things, the sooner you’ll be happier. If you want your towels folded a certain way and your kids do it differently, learn to let go.
I love having a beautiful, clean and organized home but if my kids don’t care if their beds are made, I’m not going to skip the gym or miss a call with a client to do it for them.
Once again, observe what are your priorities and stay true to them.
6. Leave Work At Work
Just like your house will continuously need work, so will your job or your business.
It’s easy to bring work home and sit with your laptop in bed checking “one more thing.”
Since I work from home, it can be even trickier to end the day, so I created a little ritual that tells my brain that “I’m done.”
At 5 PM I shut down the computer, and then I water the plants. This small “walk through the office” watering all the plants -I admit I have a little jungle in here- helps me transition from work to home.
Once I finish this, I turn the lights off and close the office door. My workday is officially over, and I move to start dinner.
Find a way to break the space between work and family time to be fully present in each of them and also to give yourself time to rest and restore.
I hope these tips from my personal experience help you review how you’re organizing your time, your routine and create a life you love.
FREE UPCOMING WEBINAR!
If you want to learn 4 strategies to take care of yourself even when you’re a busy mom, you won’t want to miss this free webinar from Rachel Norman and Ultimate Bundles.
Rachel will teach you what you might be doing wrong with your to-do list, how to create the personal boundaries and limits you’ve been ignoring, and how to make a plan for your own self-care. Register for the April 9th webinar here!