January 3rd, 2014

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Top Tips for Balancing Your Work and Your Life

by Lesley Spencer Pyle, MSc.; Founder & President, HomeBasedWorkingMoms.com & HireMyMom.com

Are you feeling challenged to find balance between your family and your business?  There are as many different ways to define balance as there are ways to find balance.  So how do you begin finding balance between your work and your family?

Before finalizing your decision to start your own business, it is important to get a “buy-in” from your family.  I know that seems like common sense, but it is surprising how few people go into details with their family of the possible impact they may encounter. Create a list together of the pros and cons of starting your own business. These conversations should continue on a regular basis to assess what is and isn’t working for everyone.

find balanceCreate a schedule that shows your business commitments as well as the activities of each family member. You can evaluate your schedule for openings and schedule or delegate your to-dos to prevent tasks from being overlooked. These can be tasks as simple as running to the cleaners.  Be careful not to overdo the mom-perfected multi-tasking since you tend to be less productive and the quality of the work can be impacted if you spread yourself too thinly.

We all can attest to the fact that working for yourself requires you to wear many hats. Coupled with your family commitments, you can find yourself completely overwhelmed if you are not careful. I’ve been there. I know its not a fun place to be. So what are some solutions? First, plan ahead. Mornings can be the most hectic part of the day for moms. Relieve the stress of the morning by being prepared as much as possible. Have clothes laid out the night before. Begin preparing lunches on Sunday by placing 5 small bins in the refrigerator (one for each day of the week). Fill each bin with luncheon goodies – chips, cookies, fruit, etc. If your child needs milk money, include that in each bin so you are not running around looking for change. Each night before you go to bed, grab the contents of the bin and place them in a lunchbox.

Don’t try to be perfect or “superwoman”. If your house resembles a tornado for a period of time, then learn not to let it stress you out. Ask family members to help out or consider hiring a housekeeper on occasion. And so what if you have soup and grilled cheese rather than lasagna for dinner. Big deal. Do you think it is going to harm anyone? What will harm you is trying to do everything all the time without any help or downtime. That can only leave you with a struggling business and an unhappy family.

One of the many benefits of both parents working is the opportunity for our children to gain more responsibility, which they will carry with them into their adulthood.  Have the kids pitch in with age appropriate jobs.  Create a check list for the kids:  brush teeth, brush hair, make the bed and feed the dog. This can be done on a reward basis by having their allowance factored into their contributions to the household by measuring it based on the chart or by using a chip system which allows your children to earn “chips” for chores and good behavior. They also can lose chips for not doing chores or bad behavior. You also can assign a cash value to the chips. For instance, in our home each chip is worth .50 cents so at the end of two weeks, the kids can cash all their chips in for money to buy or save as they please.

Also remember to make time for everyone in the family to relax.  What better time than your meals.  Make it family time. No TV, no phone calls, no multi-tasking – just sharing your day with one another.  It’s a wonderful way for everyone to unwind and enjoy each other and experts have said that the more time we communicate and bond with our children, the less problems we tend to have with them.

Keep communication lines open with your children’s teachers and/or caregivers.  Staying on top of issues will reduce the stress down the road. Also, to hear the positive things about your child’s progress brings positive and uplifting topics to the dinner table conversations.  If you like to participate in your child’s classroom events, but the timing never seems to fit your work schedule, try doing it based on your time.  When you know that you will have free time on your calendar, contact the teacher and ask if you can assist in class.

Everyone’s situation is different, but the key is to not get overwhelmed. When it comes to being perfect, we are harder on ourselves than anyone else. Remember to take time for yourself, delegate when possible and get your to-do list manageable so that you are able to find balance in your life.

 

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Lesley Pyle is the founder and president of HBWM.com Inc. which includes the national association of Home-Based Working Moms helping moms network, learn and grow in their role as a Home-Based Working Mom and HireMyMom.com connecting at-home Mom Professionals with home-based jobs and projects in virtually every career field.   Twitter @lesleypyle  & @hiremymom 

 

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