Work, Life, Career and Family… Part Two

15 Mar

I guess Work, Life and Family balance is on the brain for a lot of working moms. Here’s a great excerpt from a post from Nataly over at Work It, Mom!

I’ve been a working mom for almost seven years now (gulp!) so I know that the whole work-life balance thing is a myth (and a bad one, at that). It’s not about balance, it’s about trade-offs and juggling and letting some balls fall so that you can juggle the others without losing your sanity. But still, I find myself trying to figure out how to make life a little less crazy (without actually aiming for that unachievable balance) and I hear myself complaining to friends about having too much to get done and not sleeping enough to do it all with a clear head.

My usual routine for the few kiddo-free hours on Saturday morning is to get the cooking and shopping list ready for the week, catch up on a little work, and grab a coffee with my husband. But yesterday I was totally beat from a crazy week at work so instead of getting all the productive stuff done, I just went to the coffee shop, bought a huge latte and settled in to drink and while reading an awesome book I’ve just picked up. For an hour, that is all I did.

I learned something from my hour in the cafe. I’m not sure how to have less stuff on my plate (work, family, cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc.) but I know how to keep my sanity better as I juggle it: An hour doing something I completely and utterly enjoy.

She then asked “What’s your favorite work-life craziness survival tip? How do you completely disconnect and recharge?”

Here’s what I said:
“My best disconnect and recharge activity is doing anything outside the house without hubby and kids in tow. Even if it’s grocery shopping. I feel productive, can stop to do what I want to do and I can think straight without a constant barrage of distractions for just a little bit of time. Of course, ideally in a “perfect” world where I could stop time and really take a nice chunk of “me” time, I’d get away for an hour or two (or a whole day, gasp) and just sit, think, process, get out into nature, take pictures and just meander.”

Also in response to a couple other posters, I had this to say:
“Sometimes a little “me” time can be combined with other things we “have” to do or don’t want to compromise on doing. For instance doing something with your daughter that you also love to do (and recharges you), like a Saturday morning coffee/hot cocoa and pastry run just the two of you OR washing those dishes while watching some TV/listening to a audio book. And in terms of getting ahead on your lists, just make sure you’re doing the absolute top 3 (or 5) things you need to do that day. If your list is ongoing and it has 10 or more items (which cannot be possibly done in one day), you’re more likely to discourage yourself each and everyday with making list of things to do. That’s what I’ve found and heard from others too.”

and

“I love using GTD (Getting Things Done) to help me from having those “lingering” thoughts of things I needed to do. I do a “mind dump” every month and it really helps clear the brain. Even if I don’t get every item that I think of “done”, I know where they are (on one sorted list) and I can strategically pick out those items that “really” needed to be done. Also, I had a talk with my husband and delegated items that really I didn’t need to be doing. (Now, he’ll do all the checkbook balancing/bills, dishes and 75% of the dinners… so that I could work more.)”

What do you think? What’s your favorite work-life craziness survival tip? How do you completely disconnect and recharge? And if you’ve had experience balancing work and family, what advice would you give to others just starting to ponder these things?

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