It is fantastic to know you can balance work if you organize your life the right way. Almost every day I field questions from friends, associates or co-workers about how to balance work, home, and everything. They wonder how I am able to keep all the balls in the air. Often they are looking for the magic bullet or secret potion that makes balance possible and easy. The fact is, there is no magic bullet, no secret potion. If you want to balance work and home it is hard, but it can be done. It is a matter of making hard choices, accepting that and sticking to the choices you make.
Here are five tools I use to balance things and keep it all together.
Use the calendar on your smartphone and set alarms. Almost every working mother in America has some kind of smart phone. It doesn’t matter what kind you have and you do not need to invest in yet another app or program. Instead, use the calendar to set aside time for each of your tasks. Sit down with a list of all you need to get done and find a spot for it in your calender. If you cannot find a spot for it in the calendar, you cannot do it so keep moving and adjusting until you have fit in or eliminated everything on your list. When you add the items to your calendar, two alarms. One alarm should be set 10 minutes before the task is due to start. That way you have a warning to start wrapping up the prior task. Set the next alarm when the task is set to start so you can stop one task and start the next.
Make a plan that includes your family. Take a realistic look at your day. Do not plan important phone calls when your children are up and running around. Do not plan dinner for a conference call or Google+ hangout time. Your family is important. For most of us, the reason we work is to be able to do things with and for our family. Do not ignore family obligations like meals, sports, dishes, laundry and the like. Those things have to be done and you have to find time to do them. So, put them on the schedule to be sure they don’t get forgotten.
Tell your family that they must respect your work hours. This is particularly important for WAHM (work at home moms). Whatever your office hours are, you must let your family know and then actually work during those hours. If your family sees you at the computer or your work area working during office hours, they will respect your work. On the other hand, if they see you watching television or having girl talk with your friends during work hours, they will not respect your work or your work hours. In order to balance everything successfully, you must train your family to understand and respect that you work at home and that they must leave you alone to work just as if you worked at an outside office.
Tell clients and co-workers they must respect your personal time. You cannot balance work and home if you do not place boundaries on work. In particular, you must let your clients and co-workers know that your personal time belongs to you and not to them. You must explain that you are better able to work for your clients and to perform at work when you have personal time away from the job. You must make it clear that your personal time is not an option, it is not something that happens when work permits. You must make it clear that your personal time is important, valuable and must be respected.
Respect the schedule you create. Keep in mind that you took time to create your schedule. You worked hard to find time for all you have to do personally and professionally. You have everything set up on your calendar. You made a plan. The plan is a realistic plan, a workable plan. This means you must follow the plan. When the alarms on your calendar program go off and tell you to move from one task to the next, get moving.
In conclusion, it is fantastic to know you can balance work if you organize your life the right way. So, the question for you this fantastic day is, are you going to talk about it or are you going to actually balance your life?