CEO Prosperwell Financial, Wealth Advisor RJFS.
Working as a woman is difficult, especially in a male-dominated industry. Add on being a single parent, and life can be overwhelming. People talk a lot about having a “work-life balance.” But I don’t think life is about balance. As a mom, I used to always feel guilty. If I was working, I felt guilty that I wasn’t with my kids. But as a business owner, I felt guilty if I was with my kids and not working.
I learned to let it all go. I was always struggling to find balance, but I realized life is not about having balance. It’s about having a healthy blend of all the things that are important to you—a blend of work, kids, fun, travel, friends, family, etc. As a leader, finding a comfortable blend between your work and your personal life is key. There are many fun and creative things I have used to find and keep that blend. Here are tips to help you find a blend as well:
1. Establish a schedule.
As a leader, it is imperative to have structure if you want to find a better blend for your work and home life. To build structure in my own life, my kids and I took a big sheet of paper and wrote the times of the day on the left, and then we added all the things that needed to be done around the house on sticky notes. The to-do list included things such as reading, taking out the garbage, picking up the mail, etc. This gave the kids some choice and control and helped me create some more structure.
There are a number of ways you can establish a schedule that works for you. For example, you can do something similar to me and use large sheets of paper and sticky notes to organize your schedule, and your family can contribute. You can handwrite a schedule on a dry-erase board. You can also use technology and a shared calendar with your team at your office to help organize and establish a work schedule.
With my team at the office, for example, we meet every day at 8:15 a.m. for a 15-minute huddle. We say the one thing we are grateful for and the three things we are working on. Each week, we also have a team meeting that is less than 90 minutes and digs deeper into the issues and things we are working on. Then, once a month, we have a development day all day where we tackle the bigger issues. I learned this strategy from the book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman.
It is all about finding a system and structure that works for you. I leave my house before 5 a.m. three days a week to exercise in my office building. This is my form of meditation and my time to be in my thoughts. Find and develop a system that works for you—and stick with it.
2. Consider your savings and budget.
As a wealth advisor, I help my clients invest and plan for the future, and I do the same. I’ve always lived life by “what if’s.” What if you lose your job? What if something happens medically? What if your spouse passes away? Bad things are just a fact of life. You want to plan and be prepared for those things.
You can ask yourself the “what if’s,” but don’t stress yourself out. I recommend having a budget. I believe having a budget and a savings plan can help you feel more in control of your money and life. At work, you can involve your team. At my company, for example, we have conversations about money.
At home, you can also involve your family if you’d like. For example, you can set up what I call a “family 401(k).” This can be as simple as a jar on the counter that you and your family contribute to. If you have children you involve, you can have a family meeting and determine what you are saving for. That money might go toward a trampoline, a trip, etc. Then, you can establish how much you’ll match. So, if your kid puts in $10, for instance, then you might match it by contributing $10 as well.
As you’re creating your budget and savings for your family, business or team, ensure you discuss boundaries about money, and ask whether something is a want or a need.
3. Ensure you’re in charge of your life.
Finding a comfortable blend between your work and personal life is all about finding what works for you. I wish I could set the phone aside, but that just isn’t possible. My phone has my kids’ sports information, coordination with their friends and communication with my friends and clients, and it runs my security system, my car, my bed, my sleep app, etc. I have accepted that, but I don’t let my phone run my life. If this sounds familiar, ensure you’re running your own life. Use the “do not disturb” button on your phone when you’re at home so you aren’t distracted by work.
There are so many choices leaders have to make every day. If you’re a parent on top of that, navigating work and home responsibilities can be especially difficult. As a result, life can make you feel full. It’s all about finding a comfortable blend that works for you. Hopefully, these tips can help you.