This is a guest post by Kami Hagel, a wife and mom who is passionate about helping women plan ahead and stay organized. She is the creator of The Planning Mom, a blog that helps women save time, money and energy.
6 Tips to Creating a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Do you ever feel like you can't keep up at work or at home?
Maybe you feel behind and are always trying to play catch up? Creating a healthy work-life balance is key to finding success as a working mom. BUT, being a working mom is HARD! Between meetings and deadlines, meal prepping, helping with schoolwork, being up half the night with sick kiddos and getting ready for this game or that school program, it is DIFFICULT to stay on top of things. You may feel if you focus on being a great mom then your work suffers or vice versa.
So, how do we create this healthy work-life balance? It may not happen overnight, but if you follow these six tips you will begin to find the work-life balance that is best for you!
Prioritize Your Tasks
The first step to creating a healthy work-life balance is to prioritize your tasks. There is ALWAYS something to do at work AND at home. Unfortunately, there aren't enough hours in a day to do every single thing you would like to do. BUMMER! You have to decide what needs your attention most and what has to get done now.
What works best? Each day I make a small "MUST DO" list (usually one to four items) of the things I absolutely must complete at work and at home. Knowing today is the deadline makes me focus on these tasks and get them done in a timely manner.
I also have a larger "SHOULD DO" list both at home and at work, which include the tasks that aren't time sensitive. I work off of the "SHOULD DO" list when I have extra time. For instance, organizing my kids' closets may be on this list. I know I don't necessarily need to tackle this task until the seasons change and I swap wardrobes, but I like to keep it on this list so I don't forget and can start working on it if I have the time.
Another way to create a healthy work-life balance is to keep yourself organized. There are different ways to go about this and the same thing will not work for everyone, but here are some basics.
- Keep a planner. Whether on your phone, electronically, or with a pretty paper calendar, use a planner to stay organized.
- Make to-do lists. Keep your tasks on paper or electronically so you don't forget anything. Your brain can only handle so much information. When you think of something you must do, create space in your mind by adding it to your to-do lists.
- Find a logical place for everything. We use many different things and products throughout the day - bathroom supplies in the morning, office supplies at work, kitchen utensils in the evening. Find a logical and easily accessible place for these items.
- Always put things away. After you use something put it back exactly where it goes. Looking for something is a huge time waster.
- Have less stuff. You may chuckle at this one, but the less stuff you have, the less you have to manage and keep track of. Less stuff means less clutter, less to clean and less stress. When you're shopping, only buy items you know you are going to use.
Cut Out Unimportant Things
We all have 24 hours in a day. When you have children, your time and priorities shift and the whole day is not "yours" anymore. So, when your kids require more time out of your day, something else has to get cut. Furthermore, when you have multiple kids, your time gets divided even more.
For example, I noticed a big shift when we went from one to two kids. It seemed as though there weren't enough minutes in each day. Not only did one child desire my attention, but now two kids (one of which was a baby) depended on me. Therefore, I had to cut things that weren't a priority. The first few things to go were the amount of time I spent on social media, baking (which was a plus for my waistline), preparing extensive/time consuming meals (hello meal prep, sheet pan dinners and quick cooking) and deep cleaning the house each week.
Throughout our life we will go through periods of time where we just can't seem to get our head above water and our priorities change. Maybe you have children, or you're dealing with an injury or a family member with an illness... this is when it's important to evaluate and cut out the things that aren't imperative to keeping a healthy work-life balance.
Put Structures in Place
We all need structure. If we did not have structure our life would be total chaos. Divide up responsibilities between you and your spouse and your kids (if they are old enough). This way everyone knows what they are responsible for and who is doing what. Not sure how? Check out FULLforLife's post on 3 Steps to Get Your Family to Help in the Kitchen More Often.
The same goes for work. Know what you are responsible for completing and the deadline schedule. Outline your activities to help achieve your goals. This structure helps you to remain efficient and focused.
Manage Your Time
Putting structures in place will help you manage your time. Get into a routine and follow a schedule. This will help you save time and feel in control. In fact, do the same for your kids. Kids respond better and faster if they have a routine and schedule to follow. For more on how to improve your morning and nightly routine, click here.
Some ways to help manage time is to set a timer. If you know you only have 15 minutes to do a task then it keeps you on schedule to complete the task. Check the clock and always be aware of the time. This will help you gauge where you are in what you are doing and to stay on time.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
I am a big advocate for working smarter, not harder, and it has helped me find a healthy work-life balance. When I'm making dinner, I make two to three portions while I have all the ingredients out. This way we have extra servings that I can freeze or serve throughout the week.
Don't re-invent the wheel. Another way to work smarter is to follow or copy what another successful person has done before. This is helpful both at home and at work. If someone else took the time to figure something out, why rack your brain by trying to do it differently?
In addition to that, don't re-invent your own wheel. Save time and stress by doing what's worked best for you before.
Final Thoughts on Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Creating a healthy work-life balance is challenging and takes time, but it's achievable!
- Prioritize your tasks and cut out unimportant things in your life so you can focus on your "MUST DO'S."
- Save time and maintain your sanity by keeping yourself organized.
- Life is ever-changing and can throw a curve ball your way at any moment. Adapt, come up with a plan B and put structures in place so you're able to still manage your time wisely.
- Lastly, work smarter, not harder, to save yourself time and minimize the stress in your life.
Let's work smarter together,