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Work life balance is a struggle. There’s always so much to do, and some days it feels like there just isn’t enough time.
But, with some planning and preparation, you can get a better handle on how you spend your time. You will be less stressed and accomplish more than you thought you could.
Here are ten work life balance tips specifically for busy moms trying to grow a business while raising a family.
1. Meal Plan
Time is limited, so make every minute count. You don’t want to waste any time, energy, or mental stress fretting about what your family is going to be eating.
Meal planning is the solution!
By taking time to meal plan (and create a coordinating grocery list), you:
- Won’t have to wonder what you’re eating for any meal of the day
- Can get meals on the table without rummaging through cupboards
- Quickly answer any questions related to, “Mom, what are we going to eat next?”
- Can save money by only purchasing what you need
- Will be confident your pantry/freezer holds what you need
- Can cook once and eat twice throughout the week
I love my annual meal plan! I’ve been creating one each July since 2014, and I can’t imagine going back to any other method.
My kids all learn the rotation quickly, and they stop asking what we’re going to eat. They just know.
I love how quickly my shopping list goes together before my monthly shopping trips. I don’t have to worry about missing some staple ingredient that I “ALWAYS” have on hand because it’s on the list to jog my memory. It takes just a couple of minutes to update the quantity of each item and I’m ready to hit the stores.
I also can really take advantages of sales, stocking up for an entire year if something hits a rock bottom price.
And, I’m no longer wasting time rummaging through cupboards.
If you aren’t meal planning yet, start. Your mind (and wallet!) will thank you.
The less stuff you have, the easier it will be to clean. The less complicated your meals, the easier they are to cook.
In every area of your life, look for ways to simplify.
Do you really need a dozen cleaners? Or a cupboard full of pots when you only use two of them?
Figure out what you actually use and stick with it. If it’s not broken, stop looking for ways to fix it.
Get rid of excess. Ditch the unrealistic expectations. Stop browsing on Pinterest if you need to.
Embrace the simple life. It really is freeing and wonderful.
It will never, ever, ever all be done.
My to-do list is always a mile long. There’s always something else I could be doing.
But, just because you could, doesn’t mean you should. Or even that you can.
As a busy mom, you will need to prioritize in every area of your life. Otherwise, you risk dropping the ball on important things or never getting to things that actually matter.
Your priorities will likely change daily. One day you might have a sick child who needs extra time and attention. Another day, you might have a deadline approaching so you need to put your head down and work.
I can’t tell you what your priorities should be. Only you can decide that. But, this isn’t something you can do once and call it good. For a healthy work life balance, you must reevaluate your priorities frequently.
I start each day by writing down my top three tasks. At least one of those tasks is work related. Sometimes, all three of them are.
It just depends on what is due, what’s on my plate, and what I want to get done.
By having a short list instead of that mile-long to-do list, I feel more accomplished at the end of the day. I’m able to look back and say, “I did what I needed to do.”
And that mental shift is crucial!
4. Make a Must Do List
Somethings in life have to happen every day.
Around here, that list includes:
- Farm chores (morning & night)
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Table chores
- Morning chores
- Bathroom chores
- Afternoon chores
- Family play time
- Sibling play time/special time with mom
The majority of these things are non-negotiable. We have to feed the cows, chickens, rabbits, and sheep. It’s a task that has to be done every single day.
And my silly kids – they keep wanting to eat at least three meals a day. I can’t randomly decide to skip lunch or breakfast to free up time.
While our household chores can be skipped occasionally, life runs so much smoother if they get done. So they are considered “must dos.”
Take time to create your own must do list. What do you have to do, every single day (or at least the majority of days?)
You can use these tasks as the backbone to create a flexible schedule.
And by writing them down and making them habits, you won’t waste as much brain power trying to remember what you need to do.
We talk through our must dos every morning with our Plan of the Day. The kids know what time they need to be finished with their chores so we can start on school. (Some mornings it may be 830, other mornings 10 – the time isn’t the important part here). We talk through the routine for the day, so everyone knows when those must dos are going to be done.
This style also allows us to fit in want tos. Those make life more enjoyable!
5. Integrate the Kids
You cannot do everything alone, and you shouldn’t.
From a young age, begin integrating your kids. Let them help you cook and clean. Show them what you’re working on for your business.
Give them an old keyboard and let them “type” while you do. You’ll be getting some work done and spending some time together. Quantity time matters too!
While they might not be much help right now, the day is coming when they will be. I love having kids who can cook for me. And feed the animals the correct amount and gather all the eggs so I don’t have to bother hunting for them.
Kids will rise and fall to meet your expectations. Make sure you have high ones for them. They will thank you when they’re older because they will already know how to work.
When they move out, they will know how to cook and clean. They will know how to manage their time and get things done.
For better work life balance, make sure you integrate your kids as often as possible.
6. Have “Off-Time” from Your Business
Which means I never really turn off my business mindset.
It’s been draining though, so I need to make this a priority.
Here are two major changes I’m planning on implementing this week:
Except for an hour of marketing on Saturdays and a few minutes to sort emails Sunday night, don’t work on the weekends.
Work for one hour after the kids go to bed and then stop.
Otherwise I end up working way too much and not stepping away to reboot and refresh. This make all my work take longer because I haven’t had the space I need to clear my head and get a fresh start.
Your business can easily consume ALL of your time. We have to be purposeful to not let it. And, if you have any great tips for me in this area, I’d love for you to share them! It’s seriously a struggle right now for me…
7. Take Care of Yourself
Remember to put your oxygen mask on first. If you aren’t rested and well, everything you try to do will take more energy and time. You won’t have as much mental focus.
So make your doctor/dentist appointments.
Drink lots of water.
Take time to play.
Connect with others.
Batching helps you save time. When I sit down to edit a Pin template in Photoshop, it’s simple enough to edit three or four of them at the same time.
If I’m cooking a pound of hamburger (well, two for my sized family) I might as well cook four. Then I can take the extra and freeze it for an upcoming meal.
When I’m researching keywords, it doesn’t take that much longer to find enough for a month.
Each time I batch a task, I save time in the future. I only have to open the program once instead of four times. Or I don’t have to dirty an extra pan to brown some meat next week.
Look for ways to batch in your business and in your life.
But, don’t spend a bunch of time doing something without a plan. If you don’t have headlines to create Pins for, it doesn’t make much sense to try to do a bunch all at once. You’d just end up wasting time trying to figure out what you’re going to write about.
Not every task makes sense to batch each time. Decide if it’s worth it, and if it is do it!
9. Take Time to Plan
Planning is never a waste of time. And as the famous quote goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
The kids and I have a Plan of the Day meeting every morning at breakfast. But before that, I take time to check the calendar and see what’s going on.
I also check it on Sundays, and give myself a mental roadmap of the week. This allows me to anticipate crazy days and figure out ways to alleviate the hecticness.
For instance, one day this week my kids have dentist appointments. It’s an hour drive there and an hour back. Since we’re heading to town, I’ll also be grabbing some animal feed and a few items at the store. It’ll take up a good chunk of our day.
So, I know that day needs some adjusting. We will be doing some bus schooling that day instead of homeschooling. I know what subjects I can have each child bring along. I also have a super simple meal from my annual plan selected. And we will likely skip all of our afternoon chores except for putting away laundry and packing in wood.
I can’t get it all done that day. So it’s important to proactively decide what I’m going to change.
This planning helps you stop being reactive to your days. It helps you get more done.
You also need a plan for your business, or it will never grow. Think through where you want to be and make goals to help you get there. Goals and planning go hand in hand.
10. Change the Wording
Work life balance doesn’t really exist. It’s actually more of a juggle.
So stop striving for a perfectly balanced life.
Some days you will need to pour extra time and energy into your business. Other days your family will need you more. And if you’re recovering from a crazy patch, your home might need everything you’ve got for a day.
One ball will always be higher – you just need to rotate through which one it is so you don’t burnout.
Decide what your three big balls will be and learn to juggle them well. It might require dropping some of your smaller balls, at least temporarily. As you gain confidence in your juggling, you can decide if it’s time to pick up more balls. But, don’t let yourself get spread too thin.
Do You Have Any Other Tips for Work Life Balance?
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