I’ll never forget the day- it was a brisk November morning. I was sitting in my minivan, staring out at a thin dusting of snow that had just blanketed the city. I was parked in front of a residential construction project I was working on, with my head on the steering wheel in utter exhaustion, because in the backseat behind me I had a brand new baby, less than a week old, our fourth child in six years. Also in my car, were goldfish crackers all over the floor, crumpled water bottles, grease stained bags from every drive-through chain in the GTA, and bags and bags of interior design supply type things for clients.
I was less than a week out of the hospital, with an infant in tow, and I was going in to work. It was that day that I was finally brave enough to look around at my messy minivan, and realize how messy my life, and my priorities had gotten.
Work-life balance is something I get asked about a lot- because with six children ages eight and under, and a busy interior design business, you would think I might have experience in this area.
But as I share in my newest YouTube video, what I have is experience failing at work-life balance. While it pains me to admit it, for the first five to six years of my eight year parenting career, life was not balanced. Work filled SO MUCH SPACE. And the people most important to me suffered.
If you desire work-life balance, I’d love to offer three strategies that have worked for me, post my minivan meltdown.
1. DEFINE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE TO YOU
As I share in my video below, I’m not talking about material success- but more like success where your relationships and your health are concerned. What does a healthy marriage look like to you? What needs to be made possible for you to have an awesome relationship with your kids? What are your greatest priorities? How does your schedule reflect that?
2. HAVE APPROPRIATE BOUNDARIES FOR WORK i.e. MAKE SURE WORK STOPS AT APPROPRIATE TIMES
My friend Mona Corwin says it best: “Balance is when attention is given in the proper amount, in the proper place, at the proper time.” The challenge before my minivan meltdown was that work NEVER ENDED. Work filled ever nook, gap and cranny. And it’s not that work is evil- it just needs to have it’s proper place, attention, and time in your life. When it doesn’t- when it bleeds into everything- it can be a real challenge on your relationships.
3. LIVE IN YOUR STRENGTHS
I know I talk about this a lot but I just think it is such a great tool for productivity- the wonderful assessment tool StrengthsFinder can really change how a person approaches work, and save valuable time and energy which can then be allocated to other priorities like your family and your health. I think if one can design their work-life around their strengths, they can have more mental and physical energy to dedicate to the important people in their lives.
I’d love for you to watch and leave me a comment on my YouTube video- do you think work-life balance exists? What does baalnce and success look like for you?