Sadly…. there are only 24 hours in a day- and way too much activity to squish into those 24 hours. But when you are trying to manage a work-at-home business, (or even two as I am doing right now with selling Cabi and writing for MomOf6!) and a home-life, like raising a big bunch of kiddos- well, there are just not enough hours in the day. So the challenge is to figure out how to divide your time properly- allocating specific and focused hours to your business, and specific and focused hours for your family and home. And then maximizing what you can accomplish in those hours. Here are 4 tips for balancing work and family life!
Write It All Down
Everything needs to be written down somewhere- appointments need to be in my calendar, things I need to accomplish must be written on a to-do list- it cannot all just be spinning in my head- or that leads to a panicky feeling of “What I am forgetting?”. I swear by Apple's Calendar system because it syncs to all of my devices and can be shared with my family (see my post on the “7 Best Calendars that Work for Families“). And I also use my calendar system to keep track of everything I need to do (see “Building a Better To Do List“).
Nothing gets me in trouble faster- than trying to multi-task the different areas of my life. Getting the kids up, fed, and out the door goes much more smoothly when I am not also simultaneously trying to read and respond to work-related emails. During the day- I try to break up my tasks into buckets related to work activities and home life and tackle just one area at a time in one hour increments. So a typical day might look like this:
- 9am: MomOf6 post
- 10am: Cabi follow up
- 11am: eMail catch up, make phone calls for doctor's appts, schedule home maintenance
- 12pm: Exercise/shower
- 1pm: Complete sponsored writing work
- 2pm: Send out invites for upcoming Cabi shows
- 3pm: Kids home- homework!
And then I focus on family life until after dinner, at which point I try to squeeze in another hour or two of work-related tasks. But the key to success here is to assign each hour to only one area of your life, and stay focused on that task for the entire hour.
Set Daily Priorities- Separating Work and Home
You're not going to get it all done. And I'm not either. There's just too many things we wish to accomplish. So the key is to pick the top priorities in each area of your life every day and work on just those things.
Another tip that is working for me right now- is to intentionally plan your weekends. During the last few weeks I was finding myself just using my weekends to try to finish up everything I didn't get done during the week. And that was awful for several reasons- I was never giving myself the down time I needed to re-charge, and I was spending so much time on work-related tasks on the weekend that I wasn't pushing any of my home projects forward- which was making me nutty! So now I spend time on Friday afternoon plugging items that I didn't complete this week into next week's calendar- which gets them off of my mind for the weekend!
One of the first things I talked about on MomOf6 when I started this site 6+ years ago was my weekly planning ritual- and I still do this every single week! Every Friday I print the following week's calendar in a list format- and I spend some time looking through my week ahead, seeing where I will have opportunities to work, where I need to re-schedule some overlapping activities, and where I will need some help in getting dinner on the table (hello pizza delivery man!). If I take the time to look ahead and make some plans, it greatly reduces my stress level during the week!
What are your tips and tricks for balancing work and family? Please leave a comment and share!