Who ENJOYS feeling like your work life and home life are super hectic? Not you?! Whew! I'm glad we're on the same page! Anyone who has ever had a job knows the challenge between balancing work, and everyday home life. I learned the hard way that you need to reach a work life balance or else it'll lead to MAJOR chaos at home!
Have no fear, today I'm sharing some of my top work life balance tips for busy moms like us. These are my best tips for getting work done, while still focusing on your family, finding “me time”, and ditching the mom-guilt! Not only will you be productive, but you'll keep your sanity while you're at it!
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Yay, you made it! That was a long one! Now keep on reading for a recap on how to find work life balance!
As many of you have guessed, I am technically a work-at-home mom. Shocking, right?! Between Youtube videos, my blog, and the programs I've created – Productivity Boot Camp and Budget Boot Camp (use code FCFBLOG on both to get 10% off!), I keep pretty busy! It took me a while to really embrace the title of Work-At-Home-Mom and realize that I actually DO work from home, rather than just having little side projects that I do.
Over the years I have found that work life balance of any kind, whether you work at home or outside of the home, can be REALLY hard! I have learned a lot and I finally feel like I'm at a place where I have a pretty good balance. I would love to share my tips with you so that you can find that balance, yourself!
SCHEDULING YOUR WORK LIFE
I seriously don't even know where to begin with this tip! Let's just say that I could literally talk about it for an hour, because guess what? I do! Productivity Boot Camp has an entire chapter on blocking your time (AKA a block schedule). If you want to become a block schedule ninja, then use the code FCFBLOG for 10% off!
The great thing about blocking your time is that you don't live your life hour by hour anymore. You set up certain blocks, like classes when you were in school, and you live by those blocks each day. I go into detail about my block schedule and how it will change your life in this post. It's worth the read if you're struggling with finding balance in your home and/or work life!
Here's a little insight into how it has really helped me with my work life balance:
MY BLOCK SCHEDULE
I have a morning block that starts when I wake up and goes until 3 hours later. That's my block where I'm focusing on my family and getting a jump start on my day, rather than working. I'm cooking breakfast, rotating laundry, getting the kids to school, possibly prepping for dinner, or cleaning the house. Whatever I'm doing during this morning block is for my family.
If we flash-forward a few blocks later, I have my working block right in the middle of my day. There's no point in trying to work when my kids are having a playdate or doing their homework, so I schedule mine for when 2 of my kids are napping. The rest of the kids know that during that time, I'm at work. I go upstairs, shut the door, and only focus on work-related things!
Summertime can be more hectic for work-at-home moms since all of the kids are at home rather than school. So I usually hire one of the neighbor girls to come over and play with the kids while I'm working. During the school year, I'll hire a nanny, send them to my mom's house for a playdate, or turn a movie on for them. Basically I try to do something so that I can work uninterrupted.
BE PRODUCTIVE WITH YOUR TIME
The BEST tip that I can give you is to schedule these blocks during your day so that you can be productive in all aspects of your life. Have a productive block where you can get projects done in your home. Obviously, have a working block so that you can sit down at your computer and get your work done. Have a family block where you're having a family dinner or running your kids to their activities. By having these blocks and associating them with their own times, you won't constantly be doing the juggle and shuffle of trying to do it all, all of the time!
Still have questions about how this works?? Check out more details on how to schedule your blocks and how these blocks can help you with your work life balance. You'll also find a printable where you can actually fill in your own block schedule. Go own that schedule LIKE THE BOSS BABE THAT YOU ARE!
TELL THINGS TO WAIT THEIR TURN
One mistake that we make as moms is to feel like we have to do it all, all of the time. It's just not possible to give 100% to 5 different things at once! Read that last sentence again, and LIVE BY IT! I like to make a timeline of what I need to get done. This lets me schedule out my priorities. Then, I don't focus on something until it's that something's turn.
If I have 5 things that I need to do for the week, I'll figure out which one that I need to do first and do that one first. I won't focus on the other 4 until I'm done. Sure, I may make some lists. I'm a BIG list-maker. In fact, my “To-Do Book” is a game changer, especially for you working moms. It gives you a place to write ALL OF THE THINGS so that you can remember to do them. I usually grab simple notebook like this from Ross or TJ Maxx .
Make your list so that you get everything down and out of your brain. Then set priorities to those things on your list. If you are trying to tackle all 5 things at once, you're never going to get all of them finished. Be all in on the one thing that you're working on and finish that bad boy!
WORK LIFE TIP: “I'M AT WORK”
This next tip is especially for you that work at home. I want you to embrace the phrase “I'm at work” or “I'm going to work,” and say it often. After being a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom, I've found that sometimes people don't understand that work is work. It doesn't matter if I'm working at home or in an office!
I used to find myself saying phrases like:
- “Oh, I would love to meet you guys for lunch, but I can't because I have a project to do.”
- “I've got to do some stuff on my computer.”
To them, it would kind of hurt their feelings. It made them feel like I was choosing something else over them. Or maybe they wouldn't really honor the fact that I needed to get some things done. Why is it that when someone is just going to “swing by for a minute,” it's always much longer than a minute?
I have found that when I use these phrases, it suddenly gives a level of respect and distance that you need between work and life:
- “Oh sorry, I'm going to be at work”
- “I'm at work”
- “I'm working right now, can I get in touch with you later?”
Make sure that when you're sitting down to start your working block, you tell your kids, your family, your neighbor, whoever, that you're at work and you'll get back to them when you're clocked out. Really embrace it! Let the whole world know, so that you can get things done, son.
BE ALL IN
If you truly want to find that work life balance that we all crave, you need to “be ALL in!” Here's what I mean by this. When you're working, be at work. When you're at home or with your kids, be at home or with your kids! It is so easy to just be online all of the time – especially if your job is online like mine is. If you're having a stressful time at work, it is so hard to disconnect.
For me, 90% of the work that I do is from my phone, and it is just so easy for me to get sucked down a hole. I can still be with my family while I'm on my phone, but I'm not necessarily engaged with my family. If you don't know this about me, I have a little bit of a phone addiction. Shocked? One of the things that has helped me is to have chargers throughout the house that are next to drawers.
When I'm in my family block and my kids get home from school, I will literally plug in my phone and close it in a drawer so that I can physically be all in with my family. If I have to take them to activities during the block, I will tuck my phone away in my purse. That way, I'm not tempted to be working when I should be engaging and conversing with my kids.
Likewise when I'm in my working block, I will lock my door, turn the notifications off of my phone, pause any laundry that's going, and be all in on work. This helps me to give 100% of myself in that time and helps me to dive in!
ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH KIDS AND SPOUSE
Another way that I have been able to reach a good work life balance is to make sure that I focus and find daily time to have one-on-one time with each of my kids and my husband. I know that for me, the mom guilt is REAL. When I'm working, I feel like it's just taking away from my ability to be a good mom. But I know that that doesn't have to be true!
Since I have 6 kids, it's hard for me to find the daily time to have with each of them. For my 3 older kids, each one gets two days per week where it is “their day.” We have it written on the board in the kitchen, they know when it's their day, and they get a lot of special privileges on that day. They get to choose their seat in the car, what music we listen to, what plate they have at dinner, and they get to say the prayer at the meals.
TUCK IN TIME
Most importantly, they get 15 minutes of alone time at night. This may be with me, with me and dad, or maybe just dad, depending on what the schedule is. This is a time where we just really connect. We may do a puzzle together, watch a show, I may paint the girls' nails, or we just hang out. I have found that quality ALWAYS trumps quantity. It's not necessarily about how much time you have with the kids during the day. It's about how engaged you are during that time and how special you make it.
Fifteen minutes a day may not sound like much, but momma, let me tell you what. Your child will look forward to it and it is really special! Get more details on how we do tuck in time. It's a game-changer, folks.
STOCK YOUR FREEZER WITH MEALS
I can't say it enough, you need freezer meals! This is especially true for those who work outside of the home, work full time in the home, or travel. I know that the take-out bill can get pretty high at our house during busy months if I don't prep for them!
One way that you can combat those busy days or weeks is to have a meal prep day. Take a Saturday or Sunday that you're not busy and use it to prep meals for the whole week. This takes you a little bit of time up front, but then makes dinnertime super easy during the busy week!
You could also double some of your meals when you cook them. Stick half in the fridge and half in the freezer. That helps you to stock up on freezer meals while also cooking your weekly meals.
There are even classes that you can go to where you pay for the ingredients, make the meals there and then leave with a bunch of freezer meals. You learn how to make the meals and they become your normal dump and go meals for busy nights. When I have a busy day, I pull a freezer meal out and stick it in my slow cooker or instant pot and BOOM. I have a homemade dinner for my family that gives them a meal in a short amount of time.
CREATE A MEAL CO-OP
This is the coolest thing! Basically, you get a couple of moms together (I would shoot for 5 total). You discuss any dietary restrictions, or likes and dislikes, and come up with a daily schedule. When it's your day, you cook enough of the meal for your family AND the other families. Then you drop off the meals at their house.
After that, your day of cooking is done for the week. The rest of the week, you have hot meals dropped off at your doorstep! You may have to cook more for the day that you're cooking, but I'll take it if it means that I'll have a homemade meal dropped off at my door at dinner time. Sign me up!
One of the hardest things for me as a work-at-home mom is that I don't want it to hinder my kids being able to do activities. I want to support their extracurricular activities and let them have playdates to hang out with their friends. But sometimes it's just so hard to load up into the car 100 times a day!
I have made it a point in my life to set up as many carpools as possible. I've set them up for our neighborhood, dance class, seasonal sports, you name it! It is such a life saver because you end up driving around about half of the time. I'll just send out a text to the moms that I know asking if we can get a carpool figured out. It has been so great for my work life balance!
This tip for finding work life balance is a big one – get help! There is no shame in getting help. If finances allow, outsource a few of the things in your life that you don't necessarily HAVE to do. Hire a cleaning crew to deep clean your house once a month. You could hire a neighbor kid to mow your lawn. Hire a babysitter to drive your kids around or play with them so that you can get some work done. If you have the means, do that.
Walmart Grocery Pickup is also a GREAT way get some help! You add all of your groceries to your cart and then let someone else do your shopping for you. Talk about saving some time and impulse buys!
Otherwise, maybe you can work out a trade for some help. You could trade babysitting with another working mom. You could work Mondays and Wednesdays while she has the kids. Then she could work Tuesdays and Thursdays while you have the kids.
Aside from that, don't be afraid to ask your own family for help! As moms, we often feel like the weight of our family and work is all on our shoulders. But it doesn't have to be! Your kids are fully capable of packing their own lunches, cleaning their own rooms, even doing their own laundry. Make them a clipboard system so that you don't have to do it all on your own. Your spouse can help, too. Just because they don't offer to help doesn't mean that you can't ask them for help! Don't nag, nitpick, or criticize, just lovingly ask for help.
LET IT GO
My last and most important tip for achieving a work life balance is to be like Elsa and let it go, let it gooooo. All of you perfectionists in the room, I'm talking to you! Your new goal in life is a B+. We're not shooting for A's anymore, and we're definitely not shooting for an A+! B+ is the goal and anything above that is a perk.
If I try to make something perfect, it only adds stress, angst, terror and horror to my life! I'm talking about homemade dinners, doing activities with my kids, the cleanliness of my house, or my appearance. Just don't fall into that trap! Good enough is good enough.
Ok, well there you have it! Those are my best tips for finding the perfect work life balance. Do you have any tips that you would like to add? I'd love to read them in the comments!
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If you liked hearing about the ways that I stay productive during my day and would like to know more, check out Productivity Boot Camp!
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