It’s Workin’ It Wednesday.
On a Monday.
Because…March is just all sorts of screwed up in my little blog world. Let’s just go with it though, okay?
The second Wednesday of every month (or sometimes on random Mondays), Erika and I host a link up where we talk about how we’re workin’ it in certain areas of our life (and then ask you to share your advice/tips/tricks on the subject too).
In January, we shared how we’re workin’ on our New Year’s goals and in February it was how we’re workin’ on keeping our marriages strong.
Well this month, it’s all about balancing work and home life. I don’t know about you…but I could use some new tips and tricks in that department…because you know…it can be hard.
So…I can’t wait to read through the link ups and read your comments here. It’s all a juggling act, right?!
Before we start…a little bit about what I do. I was in the insurance industry for over 12 years. I thought I would be doing that forever but somehow, over the years, I’ve stopped doing insurance and now, I do a random assortment of stuff. I own and operate Mix and Match Travel Agency, I have authored four (almost five) cookbooks, I write this blog (and all of those daily recipes!), and I do a lot of other stuff too: I have speaking engagements, I write articles for magazines, I publish recipes in local newsletters. My plate is always full with a fun mix of food, travel and mom life.
So, here are my thoughts/tips/tricks/struggles/randomness about my work/home life balance…starting with…
Confession #1: Sometimes, my biggest problem is focusing too much on keeping it “balanced” instead of just focusing on one thing and doing that well.
For me, “balance” between the two is ideal but sometimes, I’d be better off just putting one to the side a minute and giving my undivided attention to the other. For the last 8½ years, I’ve worked from home and though it’s amazing and I wouldn’t have it any other way, it can be tricky because it’s hard for me to separate the two sometimes.
I started working from home when Kensington was born. Before that, I had always worked in an office, but then when she came, I started working from home. Then, I had Smith right after her, so I stayed at home and worked with two babies…
Smith was like 10 days old here on my office floor watching while I did some work. Sweet boy!
Before I had Kensington, I worked in offices all day long and would do my work, finish up, close my office door and easily transition into “after work Shay” as I walked to my car. At that point in my life (with no kids) and an office job, it was easier for me to separate work and home life. But then I had kids and started staying home and everything got all blurry and ran together into one. I remember vividly sitting on the couch holding my brand new baby and looking around my house thinking “are there always cobwebs in that corner?”. It was the first time that I had spent time in my house during the day and it was like a whole new world. All of these chores, lists, projects, and things to do suddenly sprung to my mind and I dug in…with a baby…and a part-time work from home job…and that stretched me waaaaaaaaay too thin. And almost nine years later, that’s still where I am. Sigh. That’s where the confession part comes in…instead of trying to clean the cobwebs and care for the baby and work at the same time, I quickly learned that I needed to focus my whole attention to one task and complete that instead of trying to do two (or three) because then everything gets done mediocre. But, I’m not always good at this…
Exhibit A: Just this last Thursday, Kensington came home from school and said, “Mom, you forgot to put my sandwich in my lunch.” Who? Me? No way! But then I remembered…ahhhh…on Wednesday afternoon when I was taking the stuff out of the fridge for K’s lunch, I had also been talking to a client on the phone about excursions for their cruise annnnnd forgot to grab her sandwich. Whoops.
Solution #1: Even though I clearly broke my own rule last Wednesday, I try, try, try, try so hard to stop working at 2:50 every day before I get my kids from school. I turn my computer off, put away my laptop, and charge my phone in my bedroom so that I’m not even tempted to check it/look at it/pick it up…but I did not do that on Wednesday and therefore, my sweet second grader did not have a sandwich in her lunch. #momfail
So, clearly, I don’t get this work/home life balance thing right every time. #thestruggleisreal
That being said, I have picked up a tip or two of the years that have helped me with this tricky balance.
I wake up so stinkin’ early every day of my life. Sigh. It’s like the worst suggestion ever…but it really will change your life. Part of keeping things balanced and helping me focus is being able to work when my family is asleep. At 4:20 in the morning, my kids are asleep, my house is so quiet, my phone isn’t ringing and I’m not getting text messages (because hello? It’s too early!). It’s such a great time to accomplish a ton of stuff! I get so much more done at that time of day than any other. When I’m focused, I can fly through work…
…coffee is required…
…I bought this sign years ago for my office. #truth
So for me, carving out time when I can stay focused and uninterrupted is one key. Another time of day where I really focus my attention on work is while the girls are napping. Right now, my girls nap anywhere from 2½ to 3 hours every afternoon and during this time, I work, work, work and barely look up. Because when nap time is over, I’m done with work for the day.
I ignore my phone when I’m with my family. Or at least, I really, really, really try. Now, I clearly have my phone with me here because I took a picture of my kids as we left the park that day to walk home from school. I typically always have my phone for things like this for safety reasons and in case I want to take a picture, but I put it on silent and try not to answer calls. I don’t want them to grow up and think mom was on the phone all the time. If we’re playing at our house, I’ll try and just leave it inside and not even bring it out (or I’ll leave it off to the side in case I want to snap a picture or something).
I know I’ve said this before, but my Apple Watch has really helped me look at my phone so much less! You know how your phone beeps and pings a million times a day and every time, it’s tempting to check and see was that ping an email from a doctor you’ve been waiting to get back to you or was it a ping from a Gap email telling you baby stuff is on sale?. The Apple Watch makes it so simple to just glance at my wrist and see that oh, it’s just another Gap email, not need to look at my phone.
I ask for help. Gosh, sometimes, I have a lot on my plate and I’m always quick to ask my favorite people for help because I can’t do everything by myself, and sometimes, you just have to bring in reinforcements. Now, the person I lean on the most is this guy. Thankfully, he owns his own business that is only one light away from our house and has an office at home…so, he is available to help a lot of the time! I could not do half of what I do without Andrew Shull.
And sometimes, I’ll ask my pretty mama too. My parents live about an hour away so they can’t really help with day to day stuff (like drop off/pick up at school/running kids to dance/etc), but my mom is super helpful and will just come over and take a kid or two to lunch, a movie, etc while I get some stuff done during the day. She’s great at this and it’s always so appreciated! And of course…
…my girlfriends. We switch kiddos all the time. One day, I’ll have an extra kid and then another day, someone will take one of mine…we’re all just helping each other out as we balance all of this home life/work life/ busy life stuff. My friends are such a good support system! And bonus, my kids love going to their house and their kids loving coming to mine. #winwin
So, listen…my tips aren’t amazing or anything but they’re solid and work for me: I try not to do everything at one time, I get up early, I put away my phone and I ask for help. At the end of the day, I just try to remind myself that I’m not perfect but I’m doing the best that I can. God knows my heart, my family and friends know it too…and when things fall through the crack (sorry about that sandwich Kensington!), it’s just a reminder to me that I need to slow down and focus on just one thing.
Okay…what do you have to say on the subject?! Please comment and share! This is tricky stuff to navigate!
If you blogged Workin’ It Wednesdays today, make sure you link up below! Next month, our topic is how we work at spring cleaning and then coming up this year…
Link up, comment and share please!
And one last thing…I have winners from Friday’s giveaway!! If you missed this…
…my Spring Things Giveaway, you can see all of my favorite spring things HERE (like this romper and this dress that were post favorites!). Well, five lucky winners will each receive a $100 Nordstrom Gift Card AND a copy of my newest book, Kids in the Kitchen. The winners are…
Congratulations!! I emailed all five you of you this morning, so please email me back ASAP to claim your prize!
And speaking of claiming prizes, we announced the winners of our Blardigan Blessings on Friday too. If you won, please email me ASAP so we can get the blardigan out to the person you’re honoring. Email the winner’s name, mailing address, blardigan style (long or short) and size to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Workin’ It Wednesday or Monday or whatever. Just have a good day. xo