6 Tips to Successfully Balance a Full Time Business and Household Workload
One of the questions that other working mamas ask me all the time is how I'm able to balance it all - being a mom, running an agency, speaking gigs, teaching workshops, writing keynotes (or even this blog post), setting aside time for myself, and still managing to have a relationship with my husband/friends/family.
The most important thing to know is that you really have to prioritize. This looks different for everyone, you have to find what's best for YOU, but after a few years of trying/failing/shifting/reorganizing, I'm happy to report I've finally found a rhythm and a cadence that works well with my lifestyle and goals. Here's some tips for how I make this work:
Triage your email/day. Mainly for work, but also can apply to home, figure out what fires need to be put out right now, what can wait till the end of the day/week, and where are the pockets of time where you can fit in uninterrupted productivity.
2. Set boundaries.
Block off time in your schedule during the week for play and hold it sacred. For me it's one morning/early evening per week to spend with my family - whether it's taking a long walk to the farmers’ market, having a pajama party with my daughter, or just playing the guitar/painting before heading off to work. Generally I schedule this for Friday since it's a less productive/slower day for everyone else. I also find that having an ‘office space’ (which can be just a room or corner of your house) helps to set physical boundaries too. When I’m in my office, I can have uninterrupted work time. But I definitely do my best to unplug at the end of the day, leaving emails/calls/etc. till the next day when I get to the office unless it needs immediate attention (See tip #1).
3. Share the load.
We are no longer living in a time where the mom needs to do everything at home. It is just as much their responsibility as it is yours - particularly if you’re still working. My husband takes an equal share (if not more) of the household workload - cooking, cleaning, watching the kiddo, etc. Because he’s a fireman, he knows how to do these things well - in fact he’s much better at cooking and cleaning than me - and does them without complaint. I hold my own with the daily upkeep - straightening up, laundry, groceries, scheduling childcare, etc. I know this may be a radical idea to some but it’s also a necessity to get what I need done day-to-day. While I do feel lucky, I also think that we need to evolve our standards for the times we live in. I know very few women who stay home full time anymore, but they’re still shouldering most of the household work. I highly recommend sitting down with your spouse before you venture anything new professionally and having a talk about how they can support you at home to offset some of the workload.
When in doubt, outsource. Build a talented, trusted team to produce work that doesn't need to be done by you, both at the office and at home. I once met a woman who outsourced her laundry folding. (#GOALS) It takes a village to raise a child and it also takes one to make a business run full time.
5. Stay focused.
Once you figure out what works for you, start slashing everything that doesn't and keep a laser focus on your goals. I have a spreadsheet with both financial, professional, and personal goals I want to hit every week/month/year that I check every morning. I’m also a big proponent of working with someone who can hold you accountable - business coach, mentor, partner, etc.
6. Shift Your Mindset.
I saved the best for last. This is the most important one. It is absolutely paramount to change the way you view your time/value if you’re going to make this work. As women and new moms, we often get caught in the wage gap trap. “He makes more, so it’s just logical for me to stay home/go down to part time and take care of the babies.” Not to mention the ever-frustrating childcare expense vs. salary debacle. When you own a business though, you have no cap on what you can make, so to stay home instead of paying for childcare because the cost may currently be a wash is to seriously underestimate your potential to make more as you grow your business. Yes, if you’re starting out you may be putting work in and not seeing any fruits of that labor for awhile, but keep your eye on the bigger picture - (read: successfully elevating your business revenue and overall net worth to achieve the lifestyle that you want.).
What tips do you have for getting it all done?