Juggling a career and family life can be challenging. Everyone knows that finding work-life balance is the ultimate goal. I’m here to tell you finding balance is dead.
We have spent the past few years trying to balance it all between remote school, work, going back to in-person learning, and sports. And if you’re a mom and an entrepreneur, you know how overwhelming this can be. Instead, I prefer the phrase work-life integration. At its core, work-life integration is a symbiotic relationship between work and life. You don’t have to compromise between your professional self and your mom self.
Sometimes in the pie of life, work takes a bigger slice, and other times, life has taken the whole pie and run away with it. Understanding that they (work and life) can mingle together is a beautiful thing. You may put in some hours when the kids go to bed or work in the car in the pick-up line, but you’re there for the cross country meet, basketball practice, or playing Barbies for 10 minutes.
To make it easier on yourself, check out these Smart Start Tips to finding work-life integration:
Know your priorities
Recognizing the importance of work-life integration in your life is essential to achieving it. However, simply stating that you want more will only make it happen sometimes. You must be intentional about making changes to help you achieve this goal. If a change doesn’t fit your vision or goals, don’t do it!
You may need to prioritize some things over others to achieve your desired lifestyle. For example This might mean working fewer hours at the office so that you can spend time with your loved ones after work and on weekends. Or it could mean hiring someone to help out who also needs more work-life integration. Working together can help you; you work fewer hours but achieve the same end goal.
Find the time to take care of YOU.
One of the most important things to remember is to take care of yourself. When you are in a busy season, putting your needs on the back burner can be easy. Remember that there is always time for self-care. There are so many ways I like to relax and recharge:
- Going to the gym (or taking a walk outside)
- Reading books or magazines or listening to podcasts.
- Meditating (I use Headspace)
It’s also important to take time out for yourself and spend time with others who care about your well-being.
Schedule time to be with your kids and your spouse
It’s essential to carve out time in your life for your family and friends, including kids and spouses! If you’re like most people, this might not come naturally to you.
Make sure to schedule time with your kids: pick a day or two per week when the whole family does something together. Plan ahead, so there’s no question about what will happen when those days come around—the kids will know they’ll have fun when these days arrive! It can be anything from going out on a walk, playing board games, or reading together, taking them out for ice cream…whatever works best in your situation.
Schedule time with each family member individually; find things that make them happy and do them together as much as possible. If one of them likes legos, set aside an hour to build a set together. Schedule a painting class together if one takes up an interest in art. Is your partner into beer or wine? Research local breweries and wineries and take them on an adult outing. Call in Grandma or Auntie or a babysitter and reconnect with your spouse.
Speaking of Grandma, spending time with family, whom you don’t see often, can clear your headspace and help you become a better entrepreneur. This may mean taking a day off during the week so you can go out to lunch with a friend or your mom. Or taking a long weekend to visit friends and family who live farther away from you.
Learn to Say No
Setting boundaries with your clients should be at the top of your to-do list. Ensure they understand your work hours and when you will respond to an email or text. A good rule of thumb is to think, “is this something that can wait until working hours,” or “is this the house is on fire, and we need to put it out.” If it’s not urgent, then it can wait. (It’s what do not disturb was invented for) Learn how to delegate responsibilities so you don’t feel the weight of doing everything yourself or taking on too much. Prioritize your to-do list. I like to think of my to-do list in 3 big buckets and break down those into smaller buckets. For example, take your top 3 big tasks and block them in for when you have a large block of time to get them all done. Continue this process with your top 3 medium and top 3 small tasks. Fill them in where they fit best in your day. Can you respond to an email at basketball practice? Are you able to create content while your kids are playing outside? Think of where work fits into your life, not the other way around.
And remember: we all want our lives to stay perfectly aligned 24/7/365; life doesn’t work like that—and neither does being a parent or running a business!