As a mother running my own business, I have only too often felt the strains of juggling the school run with client meetings and endless emails and that is all before being able to actually do the things that clients are paying for, so my lifestyle management business is based on my own very real learning curve.
I’d spent a long time in the corporate world and problems in my personal life saw me bring up my children alone. Suddenly, I was working longer hours, paying child minders and feeling each and every commute.
I hated coming home late and cooking a rushed dinner for my children who were not only hungry for food but also my attention and naturally I wanted to spend time with them too. I wanted to be the one who picked them up from school and took them to the park for a picnic. I wanted to watch them grow up and be there for them. I had friends that were stay at home mums and I wanted some of that, but I also knew that for me I was the one who kept a roof over our heads, so my dreams of spending my days baking and attending coffee mornings would have to be amended slightly!
The decision to start up my own business was very easy – I wanted to spend my time with my children and not on another pointless, delayed commute. I was tired and not just physically. It was absolutely time to ‘regroup’ and pull my life together. Even if that meant wearing last season’s shoes and eating a lot of baked beans for a while!
The internet has allowed virtual workplaces and online businesses to pop up all over the place and this was a very real option for me. Working from home was the best chances for me to work around my children. But then this brought a new problem – always being in the office. Working from home took away my commuting stress, but as I was now working in my home I had to adjust to a way of working that was both going to improve the quality time with my children and still get the job done.
The popular but not very effective art of multi-tasking meant that I wasn’t giving anything my full attention. Either the phone was ringing or a child was crying, and when both were happening it only added to my stress. I needed to be able to give each individual thing my attention, prioritising what was important in that moment and what was less important, so that it freed up more time for my social life or family time, which was what I really wanted. I started my business in Life Coaching and lifestyle Management because that is where my heart is and helping others to achieve the peaceful life balance that I have found is a very nice way to earn a living…
Here are five very simple strategies that I would like to share with you, they improved my work/life balance no end, and stopped working hours and family time from blending into one another.
1. Actually schedule ‘me’ time
It is essential to take some uninterrupted time out to process what is going on in your life and to see what you need to do more clearly.
2. Keep to office hours
Whatever office hours you chose – stick to them and make sure that family time is not impacted by work calls etc. This is easier said than done, but it is important to ensure a quality work/life balance.
3. Hire a cleaner
Reduce your day to day house work. It’s amazing how much can be done by someone who does not have to keep stopping to answer the phone or send an email.
4. Set smart phone to silent during family time
If you have clearly explained your working hours to everybody who may be impacted by them, there is no guilt in leaving an email unanswered until you get back to the office.
5. ASK FOR HELP when things get too much
There is no shame in needing a helping hand.
These tips don’t only offer the secret to balancing everything successfully; it reveals that it is quality and not quantity that matters. Once you have mastered the art of balance then your own time is yours to enjoy!
Margot Bloom is a professional Life Coach who set up Mrs Bloom: Queen of Lifestyle Management after several trials and tribulations in her own life that saw her juggle family life with a full-time career. Margot now lives a much more sedate life. She now wants to train others how they can achieve the ultimate work life balance, after all, in Margot’s words, “the freedom to drink chocolate milkshake with the children after school is much more preferable than being on another delayed train or long commute!” Today, she has helped hundreds of people realise their full potential, whether it is in their home life or their business life.