I know everyone keeps talking about levelling up or bossing up (myself included) but God knows it’s not easy. Pursuit of our dreams and aspirations calls for us to be intentional but also for a serious balancing act. Furthermore, our daily lifestyles can make it feel near impossible to break the cycle necessary to get anything “extra” done.
I would be lying to you if I told you I had it all figured out. As a career mum, wife, daughter, sister, friend, professional mentor, business leader, board and council member, part-time wedding planner, blogger and oh yeah family mitigator (lol), I am always fully engaged.
In my book “LIFE LESSONS A Purpose Driven Leadership Journey” I touch briefly on the struggle that comes with juggling career and family because I know first hand that the struggle is real! Truthfully, over time it has gotten much better for me but it still is not an easy road.
Having a strong purpose and passion for the things I am involved in continues to be my driving force for moving with intentionality to go after my dreams. While I don’t have any clear cut remedies that would fit all lifestyles, overtime I have incorporated some key practices that help me to keep it all together.
1. Get into a more structured routine! My life is mostly set on a routine which starts at 5:00am and typically winds down around 9:30pm. Having a clear routine keeps me on track each day. From the time I wake up there are set things that happen at specific times and in specific ways. For those with younger kids, I remember when my daughter Amyah was younger, like clockwork it was shower then bedtime story at 7:30pm. No matter the cries of “but mummy I am not sleepy yet” the lights were out by 8:00pm sharp. This was my way of enforcing a routine in both our lives.
2. Start your day off with positivity! I love me a good Sarah Jake-Roberts sermon in the morning or some inspirational videos that address topics that help strengthen my knowledge or uplift my mood. A good 10 – 15 minutes while dressing and you would be surprised how wired you become for whatever comes your way.
3. Ladies! Drop the Superwoman Mentality”! Yes we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us but do we don’t need to do it all! Between juggling a high demanding job, getting more involved in school pick up and drop offs and all the other million activities I had on my plate, cleaning the house on weekends just seemed like self-inflicted torcher. So after a literal meltdown one Sunday I made the decision to hire some help. While everyone may not be in a position to afford this type of assistance, the main point here is to try to shed the things that you don’t actually have to do yourself. Reassign or delegate more wherever possible.
4. Discipline is the cornerstone of forward movement and success! I am quite flexible but having discipline and structure keeps me on the straight and narrow. Everything and I mean everything makes it into my calendar now. As I tell my team all the time, if it’s not in my calendar, it does not exist. Another tool I absolutely love is Samsung Notes – there is a note for everything!
5. Stop being afraid to ask for help! Having a good support system really makes a difference. I used to feel so inferior when I first had my daughter, was juggling my studies and was trying to manage a household. The pressure placed on us career women from external factors is real but sometimes it can also be self-imposed. We want to be great at everything (trust me I know) but the reality is that “to get up you have to give up”.
6. You might seriously want to consider meal prep! With my schedule, I really don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I love a good meal prep. As a matter of fact, when I am meal prepping my diet is at its best. Since my family doesn’t like leftover meals I just make it easier now for them to throw a meal together.
7. Embrace the “power of pause”! Scheduling in downtime gives you something to look forward to. However, don’t discount the simply things like taking a walk on the boardwalk, trying new restaurants and taking in a few good movies to help you reset and recharge.
8. Prioritize your own self-development! Knowledge is power has always been one of my guiding principles. I no longer choose stuff that takes me in a classroom but with all the free and reasonably priced webinars and conferences out there, we have no shortage of supply. Get committed to staying ahead of the game.
9. Set and enforce some boundaries! This one took me a while but for the most part, I now leave work at the door (even in this remote working environment), well unless I have a serious deadline to meet. As I move into a new era of raising a teenager my evenings are reserved for family time. This approach also supports my thrust for pursuing other interests.
10. Last but by no means least, find yourself an “Accountability Partner”. My body has a love and hate relationship with exercise so I find this is one area in which I am yet to build greater consistency. I found having not one but two “Accountability Partners” last year really helped with my motivation to not only eat better but also to exercise. One thing I have realised over the years is that when you feel better about your body, you generally feel better overall.
One small change can have a huge impact on your progress but if you can build consistency overtime for at least one aspect of your life, this is the real sweet spot.