Recently, I started listening to a book about how successful women could “have it all.” I’m always looking for time management tips, so I hoped to gain some strategies from the book. The author reported that women could get more work out of their nannies, return to work late at night after their children were asleep, and work all day on Saturdays if they had dinner with their children a couple of nights during the week. At this point, I stopped listening.
Most of us don’t have a full time helper to cook, clean and change diapers. So how do the rest of us achieve work life harmony?
1. Determine what’s important for you and your loved ones on a daily basis. On Mondays, you might need to get everybody up dressed and out the door before 7:00 am. That might mean that the sink is overflowing with dishes and that you don’t have time to marinate the chicken before dinner. So what. Focus on what’s important each day and do what you can without guilt.
2. Contain toxic people. Do you have someone in your life who is always criticizing you, your children or your work? I don’t know why friends turn toxic, but I know that maintaining the relationship is seldom a good idea. When a friend or relative is constantly on the warpath with you, you need to limit or eliminate that person’s presence. Toxic people drain you of emotional and physical energy that you need for the people and the projects that matter.
3. Rethink how you spend your time. Do you have to check email first thing in the morning and before you go to bed at night? Probably not. Do you have to spend an hour every week shopping for groceries, or could you spend $10 and have your groceries delivered? Look at the day of the week that seems to be the most draining. Dissect every hour of that day and decide what you can do differently to save time and energy.
There will always be more things than we can give our attention to. You can’t do it all. Accept that fact. Achieving work life harmony is a daily discipline. What ritual can you modify to feel less rushed and less stressed?