Whenever I used to hear someone talk about a work-life balance, I would roll my eyes. As a mom, wife, and attorney, I just didn’t believe it was possible.
And then (through trial and error) I learned that you can actively CREATE a work-life balance.
People assume that once you “find” a work-life balance, you just stay in balance. Yeah, that’s not true. Just like anything in life, you have to work at it, to fine tune it, to CREATE it.
Some weeks you’ll feel like you’ve mastered your balance and some weeks you’ll feel like you have no idea what the f*** you’re doing. Balance right?!
What’s important is acknowledging when things need to readjust and then addressing it.
So, here are 7 tips to achieve a better work-life balance.
Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize.
Creating a happy work-life balance is all about prioritizing – you have to be conscious about how you spend your time! And that means making tough decisions about what tasks you are going to prioritize and which aren’t as important. My non-negotiables are work, family time, and self-care. Everything else gets filtered in.
Every Sunday I map out my week and pencil in all those non-negotiable tasks (as well as any appointments and meetings). It lets me create a mini “to do” list every evening for the next day and makes each week feel so much more manageable.
And make sure that you really are prioritizing. I recommend that you keep track of how you spend your time for at least 3 months on either a paper calendar or planner, in an excel spreadsheet, or even in the notes on your phone. I know that sounds like a long time BUT when you look back you’ll be able to identify what you’re actually prioritizing and you can change your practices going forward. Because I can almost guarantee that you’re prioritizing things that you shouldn’t be. Hello mindless social media scrolling or excessive screen time.
Wherever you are be all there!
When you are at work – be at work! Give 100% and do your best to ignore those family life stressors that can linger.
When you are with your family or friends – be with them! Stop checking your phone every 5 minutes for an important email or text message. You’ll never get that time back.
And give yourself some grace – we’re not perfect. But by making the effort to BE PRESENT you’ll become more conscious about your wandering mind and how you spend your time
Whether it’s an hour a day of “you time” to read or do something you love or a weekend detoxing from social media, to create a happy work-life balance it is necessary to actually plan time to disconnect!
Read 20 Self-Care Ideas for some “you time” inspiration.
And remember that Anne Lamott quote – “almost everything will work again if you unplug it – including you!” Cliché I know, but it’s so true!
Get a hobby. Seriously.
Having hobbies – time doing something for YOU – is actually essential. Book club, sewing, scrapbooking, hell even just coloring with a glass of wine – actually helps deal with stress and improves creativity. Both things that will benefit work and your family.
And the biggest benefit is that having a hobby lets you take a break from life – we all need them. See my note about unplugging above 😉
Take advantage of your golden hour.
Your golden hour is the first hour of your day – and how you spend it actually sets the course and direction of your entire day.
Do you roll over and immediately start your social media scroll? Do you start checking work emails or reading news stories? Do you hit snooze 20 times? Or do you actually set yourself up for a positive day?
When you have a stressful morning, it will inevitably trickle in to the rest of your day. Because if you haven’t insulated yourself from that negative energy, all it takes is one bad email or news story or phone call and it can throw your whole day off.
So how do you take advantage of your golden hour? I follow 5 Steps to Achieve a Work-Life Balance Before 8 a.m.
When you honor your golden hour, you’ve set yourself up to thwart that first negative energy that comes your way. I dare you to give it a try!
If it should have, it would have!
Stop “shoulding” all over yourself. Just stop.
Know when to let things go. We waste so much energy letting things (and people) bother us, harboring feelings of stress and anxiety needlessly.
Meditation before bed has helped me tremendously. It’s as easy as closing your eyes, taking a deep breath and holding it for a few seconds, then releasing it for a few seconds. And repeat. And continue to do it for at least 2 minutes. You’ll feel more relaxed, less anxious, and more level-headed. Plus you have the added benefit of being able to fall asleep easier – and sleep deeper. Who doesn’t want more rested sleep?!
If you need some inspiration, Insight Timer is a free meditation app and it even has a 7 day course to learn how to meditate. Because when you can turn inward and let all the “shoulds” go, you’re doing yourself a tremendous favor.
You can do anything, but not everything. Period.
Between a career, being a mama and wife, and general adulting, you are juggling all.the.things. All while trying to take on the world yourself. I see you.
And it’s NOT hard to understand why busy working mamas can become overwhelmed, rundown, and (gulp) resentful. Sometimes something’s gotta give. And that’s ok!
Because you simply can’t do everything – sometimes asking for help is the bravest thing you can do.
Know when to ask for help mama. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
I know it seems like a lot. But, if you can get in the routine of implementing these 7 tips consistently, you’re on your way to achieving a better work-life balance.