Work Life Balance
One of the number one things that people ask me is how do I get everything done? How do I have a work life balance with 4 kids, a marriage, me time, and a business all while still being sane.
Well first let’s be real honest… it is impossible to have perfect work life balance all the time. There are days that the business gets put on the back burner, things don’t get finished like I had planned, laundry has to go for another ride in the dryer and we have grilled cheeses for dinner. That is just the reality of being a work at home mom. Learning to balance all of the various hats that I wear has been one of the most difficult parts of this journey and is still a huge work in progress. Overall though there are a few things that have stuck with me and on days where I feel like I am doing a decent job these are the things I find to be my common denominators:
Finding Work Life Balance
Write It Down
First write everything down! In order to have work life balance you must take notes. Your lists, your reminders, your orders, your appointments, your schedule, ALL OF IT! This is probably the previous teacher in me talking but writing things down is HUGE! Not only is it more likely that you to remember (something about the transfer of info blah blah blah) but it is also a visual cue for you to note what you have going on when and where. It helps even more if you write it all down in one place. My go to is my Erin Condren Life Planner. If you haven’t heard of them go check it out because they are a must have for the busy mom and small business owner. Her items are absolutely amazing and totally worth the splurge, in my opinion. (More about my love of stationary and planners on a later blog though because that is definitely something that gets my heart going and I could talk about for a while.) Go check out what she has to offer and and click HERE for $10 off your first order.
The next thing for optimal work life balance is you must communicate. Now you might be asking who do I need to be communicating with; and the answer is everyone. Most importantly though are the people closest to you. That might be your kids, your spouse, your parents, your room mate; just whoever is around that can support you, encourage you, cheer you on and help you out. For me it is my husband. If I have a huge project, goal and a deadline coming up, or a tough day with the kids or a victory to celebrate I have to let him know so he can be there to help, cheer, and love me through it. I’m not sure about your significant other but mine is not a very good mind reader and when I’m not communicating that makes for a difficult time on the home front which then in turn bleeds into all other areas of my world. So bottom line is communicate with your people, share your game plan, and if you don’t have one (and let’s face it sometimes we don’t) y’all can form one together.
Learn to Say No
The last thing that I have found to help out in the balance of my world is learning to say no. This is probably the most difficult for me but the biggest help. I want to be at every birthday party, attend every school event, and volunteer for every activity possible. For some weird reason my natural state is busy. My husband though, has helped me learn how to draw the line and see the value in slowing down. Going to the birthday party of the child who I’ve never even heard my son talk about is probably not going to be a make it or break it event for him. Now ,if you have the time by all means go and eat that piece of cake but if it is that or spending a couple hours together as a family before your spouse has to head off to the night shift then pick the family time… I’m sure the other family will understand! It is ok to say no. Just be kind, do it with a smile, and reassure them it is ok to ask again next time because it isn’t a forever no and next time might be a yes.
Well that’s it… The secret is out! But as you can see the real secret is there is no secret. (think Kung Fu Panda here… there is no secret ingredient, only you!) There are days my kids watch one too many episodes of Netflix, sometimes I order pizza one too many nights in a month and sometimes (ok really most of the time on this one) I have a basket full of clothes waiting to be folded (the inspiration for this file) and put away and you know what? I’m ok with that because it is all about work life balance. I can’t do it all but as long as I am remembering my commitments, communicating them, and saying no and not adding to the pile with frivolous ones I call it a success.
So get out there and get a planner, chat with the people in your world and try out that dirty little word NO… it’s not as scary as it may seem, I promise!
Wanda Bates says
Michelle, I know you stay busy but for us newbies in the business is there anywhere a schedule of when you promote certain items and how far in advance etc. that you should do them. I am trying to get organized. I work 9 months and I am off 3 months. I really try to get things done in the 3 months for my advertising so that when I am working the 9-5 job I can focus on just customers and not have to schedule an ad I want to have them all scheduled for the year and anything I want to ad during that time I can. Just wondering so that I can schedule for the next year. LOL
Yes I actually have a full yearly calendar that I use to keep it all organized and ahead. 🙂 My advice is to stay ahead of the curve about 3 months.