Balance: an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.
With more and more moms in the workforce, there is naturally a ton of buzz around attaining the seemingly impossible notion of a work-life balance. I am one of those moms. A working mom to two sweet boys, an almost 3-year-old toddler, Jackson, and an 8-month-old tornado, Rhett. Managing the workload of a career, family responsibilities, friendships, and carving out time for my own self-interests can be at times… daunting. Although this sort of juggling act requires energy, time, dedication, and attention, it’s important to me to find a comfortable mix of all the elements of my world.
For the record – no, I am not an expert on this subject, somedays are better than others, and there are days I feel like I am anything but balanced. I am just one Mom/Employee/Wife/Daughter/Sister/Friend who sticks to a few key pillars to manage my time well and bring balance to my life.
Be present Whether I am playing dinosaurs with my two boys, learning a new skill, training for a half-marathon, or figuring out how to tackle my latest work project, I try to be present and focused on what I am doing in the moment. Minimizing distractions and devoting my attention fully to the task at hand reduces opportunities for my mind to wander and sets me up to accomplish what I want. When at home I unplug so that I can be the focused mom I want to be and come into the next day feeling refreshed.
Surround Yourself with Inspiring People Working at the TMX Finance Family of Companies allows me the opportunity to hone in on the skills needed to refine a healthy work-life balance. I work with a great team and department. Not only am I inspired from those around me, I continue to learn from them every day. I work for a terrific manager who encourages my career growth, helps me set SMART goals, is a great leader, coach, teacher, and fellow working mom. As Motivational Speaker, Jim Rohn, said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Keep good company.
Strive to be Efficient, Productive and Organized This is a big one for me. The more organized I am, the better I can efficiently and effectively accomplish tasks. My end goal is to utilize my time wisely, achieve stress-free productivity, and be able to spend my free time doing the things that matter to me.
I use a planner to map out each week. This helps me organize and prioritize tasks and provide a clear roadmap for the week ahead. I include everything – work deadlines, Jackson’s swim classes, Rhett’s doctor’s appointment, grocery pickup, the dinner menu, exercise, daily habits, home improvement projects, and everything in between. I account for all the hours in an average week. This is a simple way for me to see where I can squeeze in a few hours for goals. Whatever that goal may be – run a 10k, spend a few hours reading with my boys at a local bookstore, design our master bathroom renovation, have a date night, plan our yearly vacation, take on a new work project, or simply have a carefree playdate at the park.
I read books about productivity. I stick to a system that keeps emails organized and my inbox at zero. I prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and write down “to-dos” in a central location. I strive to create good habits. “We are what we repeatedly do.”
Accept imperfection Balance is going to look different every day. The vision of what balance looks like for me today may be vastly different next week. Sometimes, one area of my life requires more of my attention, and that’s ok. I have learned to be flexible in my expectations of what balanced looks and feels like. There is freedom in flexibility.
Exercise I like the way running makes me feel. I get up early, while my boys are still sleeping soundly, and run. It’s a rare opportunity in my day that is all mine. It’s a time I listen to podcasts, an audio book, or music. I decide what to listen to, how far to go, and how long to go for. I get to decide and control that time. It’s something that I do for myself, it starts my day off on the right foot, reduces stress, and gives me the energy to accomplish my goals. I always make time for it in my schedule.
Ask for help It’s important to shed the “superwoman” urge. You don’t have to do it all. Nobody can. My husband, John, helps with household chores and is up for any of my harebrained home reno ideas. My wonderful mom, aka “Granny”, is the best nanny we could ask for. Jackson attends a wonderful preschool where he is surrounded by amazing teachers. Accept help in whatever form fits your life.
This is what a healthy work-life balance looks like for me. Yours might look completely different. Whatever balance looks like for you, from one working mom to the next, “Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create”.