Work/Life Balance...Is it a myth?
In our corporate 9-5 jobs, we drove to work, often at least a half hour to an hour depending on traffic, clocked in, worked for a few hours, lunch, then back to the grind till 5 pm hit and we could clock out.
When we shifted from corporate to working from home with our own businesses, we searched for ways to make that adjustment as efficient as possible. After reading blogs + books, and listening to podcasts as often as possible, we started to wonder if the work/life balance is truly achievable or a myth of epic proportions.
As work at home moms, independent women and business owners, we don't always have hard start and stop times for our work. Our toddlers seem to think that even though the office door is closed, we are here to play with them, and try to carry conversations by yelling through closed doors. Our teenagers think that we're not doing anything but watching youtube in our office - obviously unimportant - so needless to say, interruptions happen, a lot.
As moms, we felt the all too familiar mom guilt - hardcore. One of the main reasons we shifted from corporate jobs to work from home is to have more time for them and be more present at home. And what happened to all the time we thought we'd have to do laundry, clean bathrooms, cook dinner, paint etc.? So... where exactly does our time go?
Something we quickly learned was not to think of work/life balance as pure 50-50, but more of how to time block and how not to ignore your children when they scream that they need something NOW. We also learned very quickly that to be the entrepreneurs, wives, and moms we want to be, we had to be all in all the time - in whichever area we were currently. We had to learn to switch off work when we were with our families, and switch off issues at home while working.
Here are 3 tips to help you feel more confident in your work/life balance:
- Announce to your family or spouse or furbaby what you are doing and how much time you'll be working uninterrupted for. We like to share a calendar with our spouses and families that show exactly when we're working - and then stick to those times. (Even if you're on a roll or in the middle of something great that just hit you, write it down quickly and leave it. It'll be there when you get back - promise.)
- Studies show that working in spurts of 45-50 mins and taking short breaks will increase your energy level. Use these short breaks to give your family some attention before you return to the grind. Set your timer, check in on everyone to make sure they're all alive, grab a quick bite or drink, and then head back to work.
- Give yourself an end time every day. Working from home can cloud the boundaries between work and home. Clocking out at your scheduled time and sticking to it will allow for boundaries to be built and you to gain the balance you are so badly needing. Your end time can vary from day to day, but once you set it, put it on your calendar and commit to it.
While everyone's workday can and will look different, it's always good to see how others are structuring their work. When we find that we can't effectively work at home, we head to coffee shops or a shared work space. If you are the main caregiver to your children, be sure that big projects or time-sensitive work are done when you have someone to watch the littles. This will help pull your energy into getting things done in a timely manner so you can clock out and be present with your families, significant other, friends or yourself. Work smarter - not harder lady - you got this!
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