The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Work Life Balance
The sweetness and drama of babyhood and toddler life is so fleeting, it’s no surprise that many mums decide to set up a business from home as a way of getting more of what they want.
Once the immediate fog of postnatal life has lifted, the reality of returning to the rigidity of 9-5 office life is often no longer appealing. Part time work that is both interesting and flexible is hard to find and usually poorly paid; not everyone wants to work in a school! The cost of quality childcare is so high that it can make returning to work a far from profitable option, unless you have a devoted Grandma with time and energy on her hands.
There are many different options open to us and the internet has vastly expanded the possibilities of self-employment. Popular options include; internet shops, party selling and virtual assistants. Somewhere there will be a golden spot where your skills and the need for a product or service will meet.
I run three part time businesses and have two children, life is by no means perfect but I am able to have fulfilling work, earn a reasonable living and hang out with my children too. Work life balance is not always easy, but I have found some things helpful along the way. Here is my ultimate cheat sheet on work life balance to guide you on your way to getting more of what you want.
It’s vital to assess what your core values are and is important to you. You can cut pictures from magazines to make a vision board, a mind map or a list and lay everything out in a way that is meaningful for you. Abundance may feature highly but take time to dig deeper. Alongside a big car and family holidays, there are other things that may feature; quality time with the children, your partner and friends and family. Consider less obvious things too, for example;
- feeling strong in your body
- the affirmation of your skills
- connection with nature
- time to explore your creativity
Be good enough
You will find your life much less stressful if you let go of the idea of having the perfect house and children. Identify the things that really matter to you and relax your standards on the rest. Being an excellent entrepreneurial role model may mean you don’t have as much time as you’d like to play Sylvanians. Don’t give yourself a hard time! Settle for being a good enough Mum instead and don’t sweat it when your children are grubby or you forget the cake sale (again).
Do the hard thing first
At 9am or when your baby starts her nap, the first task should be the one that takes you a step closer to your goal. Even if it’s a tiny step, it gets you closer and will give you a pleasing sense of accomplishment and progress.
Once you know where you want to be in a year or two’s time, the next task is to break down that great big mountain into manageable chunks. Use a diary to plot out the various steps that have to be in place to get there, and work backwards. My experience is that it always takes AT LEAST 3 times longer than you think! Children get ill and then there’s the school holidays to fit in. Underestimating the time needed will make you feel as though you have never quite done enough.
It has been proved that our minds do not function well when we multitask. Another scheduling trick is to break tasks down further into 30, 20 or even 10 minute chunks. Set a timer and focus on the job till the ping. Multitasking does not work! Focusing on one thing at a time does.
Don’t forget to nourish yourself
Scheduling time for yourself is vital. Scheduling regular time doing something you love will make you happy, reduce stress. A happy woman is a better business woman and mother. Just do it!
You can’t do it by yourself. Fact. To manage a business and a family you will need all kinds of support, business support, childcare support and good friends. There are loads of networking groups for mums where you can get support from women who are also juggling business and family. Co-coaching with a friend is a great support. Regular meetings where you can talk through your business issues for half an hour each can;
- give you fresh perspective on blocks and problems,
- help you to follow through on your ideas
- remind you of your skills and resources
- make you (gently) accountable for your to do list
- celebrate your triumphs
Finally, be positive. Your needs and those of your business and family are always changing and your positivity will help you see the way forward.
Here’s my crazy life.
- I help women with their websites and social media here at fruit nation.
- I run the PAPA Birth Network for birth professionals.
- I offer biodynamic, Abdominal and pregnancy massage for women’s health at Kate Codrington Massage.
- I also have two gorgeous children aged 8 and 10.
If you know anyone who struggles with work life balance, use the buttons below to share this article with them, it could make their life a little bit easier.