It seems everyone’s schedule is crazy nowadays. For the working woman, this is no exception. Many women find themselves as moms trying to hold down jobs and raise children at the same time. Other women may be taking care of sick loved ones while pursuing their careers. Regardless of the type of demand, there are a few strategies that help maintain a work/life balance.
Balance is your definition. Every individual is going to have her own definition of what is too much to handle. The ability a person has to withstand stress is very individual. Listen to yourself and decide when enough is enough for your own well being. That’s the first step to setting new boundaries in your life.
Choose the word “emergency” wisely. Sometimes, we lose sight of what is really an emergency. Just changing language can at times change the culture of an office or work situation. Remind yourself that there’s almost never an “accounting emergency” or a “sales emergency.” There may be something that needs your attention ASAP, but it’s not life or death.
Prioritize your key relationships. Without supportive people in your life, striving for a work/life balance gets a lot harder. If you are married, and you let your relationship suffer to a divorce level, think about all of the happy, positive memories you created with your partner – is that worth throwing away just because of your job? If anything, relationships are worth nurturing because you energize each other. So make sure you carve out time for important loved ones.
Set a morning routine. Give yourself one last push in the evenings and set up everything so you can head out the door in the morning with as few distractions as possible. It helps to lay out clothes, pack up books and lunches and start an easy breakfast like oatmeal the night before. These few extra minutes will provide that extra family time or allow you to squeeze in something like reading a meditation. It sets a better tone than the chaos of running out the door.
Don’t compare to others. Let’s face it, we are all guilty. With the recent rise of social media, we can’t help but fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. Remember that nothing is what it seems. You’re probably not posting yourself or your kids in a total mess on the internet and guess what, neither are others. Limit the mental energy spent watching the lives of others online and in-person.
No one will choose balance for you. Set realistic expectations with employers early on. If you’re checking emails are returning call all hours of the day, your employer will probably expect this from you every day, even on your valuable time off. Some of the onus of time management is on you. Ask about the flexibility of telecommuting, and site examples from past jobs where you were given a day or two to work from home and how much more productive you were because of it.
Have you had issues with balancing work/life situations? If so, how did you manage? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section. Look forward to hearing from you!