There is a constant struggle to maintain a “healthy” work and life balance. You have to work to live, that’s a given; but how much work is too much?
Where do you draw the line?
When do you spend time with your family?
How do you maintain the balance?
These questions, and more have been on my mind lately. With 2 children (a toddler and a baby), running my freelance writing business, and working rotating nursing shifts, a work life balance is even more important now then it ever was.
I have found this is the most difficult aspect of my writing journey. My husband brings in money from his job, however I still need to be earning some money so we don’t go backwards.
There are so many articles and blogs out there touting the benefits of work/life balance.
We all know why it is important to maintain this balance, but how do we do that?
The great thing about writing is you can do it anywhere!
Down by the river whilst having a picnic, at the coffee shop, out in the backyard, on a break at work, on long car trips. Like I said, anywhere!
The important thing to try and remember is to seize any downtime I have and use that to write. So amongst the housework, the mothering, nursing, and being a wife I write.
With a baby and toddler these “downtimes” are during nap times. I am lucky that for the moment they both seem to sleep at the same time in the middle of the day. I am sure that wont last for long!
EDIT: It didn’t! By the time I published this post my toddler dropped his day sleep. The benefit of that is I only have to fit in my youngest naps. Thankfully she naps twice a day and I am able to fit some work in then. I am still learning how to occupy my 3 year old during this time. Play dough and drawing are great so far….
We are quite strict with our toddlers bed time.
He has to be down between 7 and 7:30pm every night.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Routines are great for toddlers….and work-at-home-mums too! #routinesarelife #sleeptimeismetime #wahm #toddlerroutine” quote=”Routines are great for toddlers…and us work-at-home-mums too!”]Once he is down, and the baby fed then I usually have another hour or so where I can work, or spend quality time with my husband and netflix!
But that is all work, right? When do I have downtime? When do we spend time together as a family? How do I balance my freelance business with my family?
To ensure I maintain balance, I aim to have atleast one evening a week work free and one full day of the weekend (either Saturday or Sunday) is dedicated to family day. Eventually the aim will be to have the full weekend for family. However, with a baby and toddler my work time during the week has decreased. Meaning I have to work over the weekends sometimes to ensure I get all my client projects completed. Not to mention my own work, book keeping and general tasks to run my business.
You may be asking right now, but when do you do housework? Groceries? Laundry?
I will say grocery delivery or click and collect is an amazing time saver! It is the perfect time management tool! Rather then an hour or so at the supermarket, they are delivered to your door or you shop online and a personal shopper grabs it all off the shelf for you and has it waiting for you to pick up at a specified time.
My husband and I share the cleaning duties. Well, kind of. I do tend to do the majority of it as he works 5 days a week, and I don’t want us to be cleaning all weekend instead of fun family activities.
And laundry….well that just gets done when it gets done! Haha!
There simply isn’t enough hours in the day, week, month or year for everything.
The key I found is to prioritise.
To help me prioritise and ensure I have some fun during the week, not just work, I write out a list of what I need to achieve for that week. Then I break it down into what I HAVE to do each day. At the moment, I usually only have an hour to write a day, sometimes more at night. So all the things on my list need to be able to be completed in a timely manner.
Around what I absolutley have to do, including housework, cooking and the never ending piles of laundry, I schedule in “family time”. To me family is my number one priority, so I have to make sure I spend quality time with them. My diary is scribbled on and highlighted, wrinkled and torn. I would be completely lost without it.
I am a bit of an organisational control freak, so I have to-do lists for absolutely everything. With how crazy busy my life is at the moment, I rely on these lists to ensure I get all my daily tasks done. I have to work hard to stay motivated, and not procrastinate. If I waste time getting things done, then it cuts into the time I get to spend with my family. And that is not ideal.
The most important thing I hope you take away from this, is it is important to schedule in family or down time. You have to take care of yourself.
How do you maintain your work and life balance? Have you found any tricks to help? I would love to read them in the comments below.