Monday, November 16, 2009

How do you balance work, home and family?

Melanie from New Orleans wrote...

I'm personally very interested in balancing hings - work, graduate school, home, family, friends, etc, etc, etc. If you have any advice about that, I would appreciate it!

This is a great question, Melanie. It's also something I'm re looking at in my own life since my babies were born 4 months ago.

1. Realise you only have so many hours in the day

We all only have 24-hour days. Some of us think we're Superwoman and have more time than that. We don't.

2. Write down your different roles and the time commitment required from each

Don't forget to add in managing your home time and personal time!

The idea is to see if you're a time optimist or if you're being realistic with your time. Sometimes we think a certain activity only takes, let's say 2 hours a week. When you factor in travel time plus preparation time, it may increase to 4 or 5 hours. No wonder you always feel frazzled when you think about this specific activity.

3. Now ask yourself these questions:

Am I too busy?
Am I trying to do too much?
Am I being realistic about the amount of time outside commitments take?
What do I need or want to focus on at this time in my life?
What can I cut out?
What can I delegate?

4. Prioritise

I do an exercise with my Time Management clients where they tell me all the different areas of their lives. Some people have lots and lots of balls that they're trying to juggle. That's okay-ish.... as long as your priorities are straight.

Don't neglect your home and family commitments just to look good on a committee :)

My preference is to do less and do those things well rather than to feel overwhelmed by taking on more and more.

5. Realise that when you say yes to something, you automatically say no to something else.

Some things in life are just for a season, like the newborn stage. So while reading and going to my dance classes are extremely important to me, I'm doing a lot less because I have to sleep when I can :)

If you're on my Organise It mailing list, just this weekend I sent out a survey because I need to declutter all the things I do in my business for the next year or so, in order to focus on the babies.

I realised that I can't keep saying yes to all these other business-related things and short-change my family time!

6. Keep evaluating and tweaking

Just when you think you have things figured out, suddenly something won't work anymore.

That's normal with organising ANYTHING, let alone your time.

Keep evaluating where you're at - I do this on a weekly basis * - and tweak, tweak, tweak. Just because it suited you to work really long hours a few months ago doesn't mean it still suits you to do so now.

* will write about the way I plan my life soon...

So that's how I create balance in my life. I want to emphasise that it's an area I'm always working on!

Please share how you create balance in your life. We'd love to read your suggestions.

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