How many times have you been told the ideal state is “having it all”. What they don’t tell you is that you having it all, isn’t really possible. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day and you can only spend time doing on one thing or another.
Having a career and being a parent are full time commitments with constant demands. Sometimes these demands are manageable and you can balance your two full time passions, sometimes everything hits the fan and something falls through the cracks. I’ve recently felt the pressure to choose between spending time with my family and meeting the demands of my career. After struggling with the balance I came up with a few tools to help get closer to “having it all.”
First, prioritize. Not everything is a fire, what needs your attention first? I’ve found that when I prioritize between my personal and professional life, I can usually accomplish everything on my list. There are several times were I am forced to acknowledge that some things are not a priority and I need to push them down the list or forego them all together.
For me, its extremely helpful to prioritize my responsibility day to day and week to week. Having a micro and macro plan of attack helps me get through my priorities without missing something.
Similarly, make a list. When life is measured by billable minutes, you learn to be very aware your time. As a result, I’ve learned to maximize my time by having list to ensure I stay on task.
I have list for everything! Including this blog post, my next Target run, and things I need to discuss with colleagues. I keep a running list on my phone for personal items and a running list on my desktop at work. Lists are a great way to make sure you get everything you need without having to make multiple trips to the store or missing your next work deadline.
Another skill is focusing on the task at hand. My grandfather you used to say “play while you play” I never understood the wisdom behind his words, until now. Focusing on the task at hand avoids having to spend hours later to redo a project or redo the laundry because you forgot to add the detergent!
Ask for help
Finally, if all else fails, ask for help. Sometimes you just need someone else to take responsibility for the project. I’ve enjoyed trying to make our family Halloween costumes the past few years. But, this year I just did not have the time. I asked my husband if he would take over the project. To my surprise he took over and did a great job! Next time you are out of time, ask for help! After all you are only human!
As a result of the above tools, I am able to use my time wisely and make the most of my day and come closer to having it all.