A question that I am asked frequently is how I balance work and personal life as a new mom, while working full-time. I usually do not know how to respond. The truth is I was exhausted! I often found myself on autopilot and having difficulty juggling everything. I remember being overwhelmed when I returned to work after being on maternity leave. I attempted to manage and fulfill work commitments, schedule time to pump, finding time to sleep with a newborn, maintain my home, make time for my family, and everything else in between. There simply was not enough time in a day. I was exhausted at the end of each day. I tried hard to maintain a smile and give the appearance that I “had it together”, but the reality is I was burned out.
I did not feel that I was doing a good job and I was very hard on myself for not having it “together.” However, returning to work has taught me a lot about myself, the importance of being intentional, focusing on the present, and taking time for me! Truth is there is not a right or wrong way to balance your professional and personal life. Whether you are a parent or not, It is important that you find a healthy routine that works for you. I do not have all the answers, but I want to share a few strategies that may help.
- Be honest with yourself and ask for help, if you need help!
- Find a place where you will not be easily distracted. Occasionally, change your work environment if you need to.
- Take your lunch break, and disengage from work! Leave your desk, and do not check emails during this time.
- Step away when you are feeling overwhelmed (i.e take a walk).
- Do not feel obligated to say ‘yes’ to everything. If you can’t do something, it is okay to say no.
- When working, have nothing out on your desk except for your current task. Eliminate all other distractions.
- Turn off email notifications as you are working. This can be distracting. Set a time for yourself for checking and responding to emails.
- Take time-off! (vacation, vacation, vacation).
- Disengage from social media when possible.
- Do not check your work email unless it is an emergency.
- Find time for you!
- Make time for your family, and limit distractions during family time.
- Be transparent and ask for help when you need it.
- Join a group or participate in an activity that you are interested in (i.e Zumba, Yogo, the gym).
A helpful resource to help keep you on track, is the Pomodoro Technique.