We all need the balancing act when it comes to work and family…
Inability to manage work and family life can lead to a great nightmare. Many days we feel like circus jugglers with more plates in the air than we can possibly handle. Over the years, however, I have learned a few secrets that help me keep things in perspective:
1. Keep God First
In Matthew 6:33, we were told to seek God’s kingdom above all else. Like the apostle Peter who saw Jesus walking on water and asked to join him – as soon as we take our eyes off of Christ and begin to doubt, we sink.
In order to keep our eyes on Him, we need to be in relationship with Him. Schedule time in your day to read God’s Word and to talk with Him in prayer. Surround yourself with friends who love the Lord and who will point you back to Him when you struggle.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Choose Family Over Business
As business owners, we do our best to maintain professionalism even when we are working at our kitchen table with kids hanging on to our ankles. We have deadlines, client demands to meet and emails and phone calls to return. However, there comes a time in every work-at-home moms life when family simply must come first.
It may be that your child is struggling or it could be an extended family member in crisis. The point is, it’s ok to step away from your business when absolutely necessary. Be respectful – let your clients know that you will be gone and when you plan to return. But don’t be afraid to set business aside for a time to be there for people who need you.
3. Plan Ahead
This is by far my biggest struggle. I am a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of girl. I love working from home because every day is different and, for the most part, I am in control of what I do and when. However, as a work at home mom so many distractions – emails to read, laundry to do and kids needing attention. So, I have had to learn to plan ahead.
What works for me is to plot everything out weekly, giving each day a title for both home and business. So, Mondays are usually laundry days on the home front and clean out inbox days for business. Tuesdays tend to be more relaxed with maybe a trip to the park or the swimming pool with some writing to be done in the early morning. Find what works for you and make the best possible use of your time.
It may seem backwards, but with some extra effort you can turn your work at home workplace into a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere. Make it a point to spend the quality with your family that you so often wish for (yep, I do that, too).
4. Create Time For Exercise
Making time to exercise is crucial to balance a busy mind, says Kate James, a work-life balance expert and director of The Change Project. “If we want to be good mums, good partners and good workers, then that begins with taking care of our own wellbeing,” she notes. To stay on track, James advises following an exercise plan that is “realistic”. “It is better to choose an activity that you naturally enjoy,” she says. “For a lot of people, a walk is a good starting point. Take your walking shoes to work and walk for 30 minutes at lunch time”.
Or try to leave the office during your lunch break for a walk around the block, a run or or take a yoga class.
5. Make Weekends Family Time
If you let working from Monday through Friday variety encroach on your weekends, you’re headed for misery. Christopher, a salesman for a marketing firm, still puts in 50- and 60-hour weeks, but he’s stopped working on weekends. “Saturday and Sunday are for the kids,” says Christopher. “They should know that from Friday night to Sunday is family, and that we’re going to do something together, whether it’s playing baseball, going to Sea World or whatever.
Jill Hart’s entrepreneurial career began in her teens when she spent a summer working with her father who ran his own business. When he put her in charge of a Coke machine and allowed her to keep the profits, she saw the benefits of being her own boss. She is the founder of the popular Christian work-at-home website, CWAHM.com. Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine, P31 Woman magazine and Focus on the Thriving Family, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She is the author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom and speaks to audiences around the country about faith, business and leadership topics. Learn more about Jill at JillHart.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @cwahm.