There used to be a time when I was so busy that I didn’t even like going to sleep because I knew that I had too many things to do the next day. Although this never stopped me from being a great mother to my beautiful three children, a loving wife, and a successful entrepreneur with her own business, it did make me experience an enormous amount of stress during an extended time period.
I didn’t like thinking about my responsibilities because I knew there simply weren’t enough hours in a day to do everything. For years, I was searching for a way to balance my professional and personal life, but I never found it. After an extremely long and stressful period of my life, I realized that I shouldn’t have strived for balance to begin with. The only way to be happy is to make sure you’re doing what’s most important to you every day. Doing this not only helped me become a better entrepreneur, partner, and mother, but it also provides me with some much-needed alone time.
If you’re in the same spot I was a few years ago, you’re going to need to forget about balance and work on life-work integration. This will not be easy, especially in the beginning since you’ll have a feeling that everything is important. Nevertheless, as you learn to prioritize over time you’ll see that you can improve every aspect of your life without dealing with too much stress.
Of course, you’re going to have to make some changes to your life. First off, you will need to learn how and when to say no. When you’re constantly busy every single day of the week, you get in the habit of doing everything people tell you to do. After all, in an endless sea of unfinished tasks, what’s one more? However, you need to realize that not everything is as important as you think it is. You don’t have to reply to every email the instant you get it. If you don’t have time for a client, reschedule. In case you’re tired, it’s okay to say no to a girls’ night out with your friends or to a date night with your husband and just relax at home.
Another thing that I’ve learned is that it’s okay to mix your personal and professional life. Although I have a home office and usually work from there, I often talk with clients and discuss business when I’m with my family. Explain to your kids that just because you’re not in your office doesn’t mean that you’re not busy. Once they understand more about your professional life, you’ll find it easier to blend it with your personal life.
My children are still young, but they understand not to bother mommy when she is talking on her work phone. This has made my life so easier! I even got a cell phone booster to make sure the signal is good when I’m outside the office. It gave me the freedom to conduct business in any room of my house.
With that being said, your priority should be family. Keep in mind that you’ll always regret missing family events. If you miss your son’s soccer game, it will be heartbreaking to both him and you. Work with your husband to come up with the ideal plan to be there and support your kids. Be open with your clients, colleagues or superiors and inform them when you have important family events that you can’t miss. They’ll surely understand and you’ll work something out.
I regret missing so many family events, even though I try not to think about it. I used to think that I couldn’t make time just because I had a lot of work to do. However, I’ve since learned to prioritize and even started outsourcing some of my work and haven’t looked back since.