How are you doing at balancing work and family? As an entrepreneur, mom, and wife some weeks are manageable and some are particularly stressful. Here are some of my tips to keep your life in balance without facing burnout.
- How far is the gig? I look at the distance from my house to the gig all of the time. I know if I choose to go somewhere that’s 30 miles away, I’ll be taking up over an hour in driving time and productivity time that’s also time away from my family. Because if I don’t get my work done during the day, I’ll have to stay up late at night to complete it. Been there. Done that. Last week I skipped a luncheon because it was in Cary, about 22 miles from my house and I didn’t want to lose editing time on a project. It was a good choice. I attend regular monthly events around Raleigh, about 10 miles from my house, and don’t attend open mics or other gatherings, that are 20-30 miles away unless it’s a special occasion.
- Try not to attend events on back to back evenings. Now this is hard to do, especially around the 15th of every month—it seems like everything happens around the 15th, which I know is a tax deadline most months from my accounting husband. Sometimes it’s very hard not to have want to go to everything, but I try to rein it in if my appointment calendar is too jam-packed. Wednesday is my Irish dance night or open mic night, a standing appointment, and then sometimes I teach a class on Tuesdays and Thursdays might be a networking event or social. To prevent extravagant stress away from home when I have events on back-to-back evenings, I often bring my school-age kids with me to events if it’s appropriate. My 12-year-old son attends all of my open mics and my 1st grade daughter has joined me at a few low-key networking events. She’s done a great job of passing out my business cards.
- Plan out family dinners. This is where the mighty crock pot comes in handy. So my kids don’t just eat cereal and fast food, I plan out what meals I’ll fix on Sunday and try not to have beef three nights in a row. And if they don’t like what I fix I tell them to go back some instant oatmeal.
- Keep your phone on silent. Now this plan doesn’t really work when there’s an emergency and someone is trying to reach me, but because my phone is on silent during meals and while I’m working during day, I’m able to shield myself from interruptions and the time it takes to get back to where I was. I use Google Voice so that all of my voice messages are transcribed into emails, which saves me a lot of time. Now I can get to the gist of the message without having to listen to it first. I also type in new client names so that when I see they’re calling I pick up, but I don’t do this for numbers that aren’t attached to a contact. I also keep my phone downstairs and not by my bed, so there’s some work/life separation.
Now there’ll be some weeks and months where balance doesn’t exist and you’re more focused on work than family. And some weeks there’s more family than work, especially around the holidays or snow days. That’s okay, but I know I need to reset when I go too far in one direction. I would also say that you need to learn the power of saying “No!” I’ve had to prioritize and not attend everything I’m invited to. “No” is a complete sentence.
What other tips do you have about balancing work/family? Please share!