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13 Ways Successful Women Strike A Balance Between Work And Family

13 Ways Successful Women Strike A Balance Between Work And Family

Today’s modern working woman often has an array of many hats that she has to wear on any given day and in any given moment.

Hats can include but are not limited to… mom, chauffeur, chef, coach, wife, sister, moderator, negotiator, colleague, boss and many, many more.

Over the last 15 years in my work as an executive coach, I have had the joy of working with all sorts of amazing and successful women from around the globe. Their struggles are variations on a theme, as they try to find greater balance between the different facets of their lives while doing their best to express their genius and talents through their career and family.

As women, we’re great caretakers and will put the needs and priorities of others first but over time this only leads to failure.

What I’ve consistently seen is that most women think “I just can’t have it all.” They’re resigned to the thinking that somewhere in their busy days something has to give and most times they’re the one left holding the short stick. Often overlooking their own health and well-being in order to take care of all the competing priorities of their career and family.

So how can you actually “have your cake and eat it too?”

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Instead of trying to slice up your time fifteen ways to Sunday to fit in everything in, you have to first start with your own mindset – that your health and well-being matters. And then put into practice some new habits that will regularly fill you up so you can better serve those around you.

Here are 13 secrets of successful working women from around the world to help you adjust your thinking, and positively shift your priorities to make time for the life you’ve been dreaming of living. A life where there is a balance between a thriving career and a happy home life.

1. Set Your Compass

compass

    In other words, get clear on your core values and purpose. Your values and purpose are your internal compass for how to best utilize the natural gifts, talents and genius that you uniquely have to express in the world through your work. When you can walk your path and remain true to your values and gifts, it naturally reduces the amount of stress you experience as you honor yourself and your spirit in all that you think, say, and do in each day.

    2. Manage Your Own Health First

    If you’re energy is low and you don’t have the umph to take care of the other important people and things in your life, then everybody loses.

    Be sure to eat healthy foods that feed your body with good nutrition, and make time for some kind of regular exercise so you can work out the stresses of everyday life. If you don’t, these stressors can build up in your system and lead to a variety of health issues both mental and physical, so dodge the bullet by being proactive in taking good care of yourself. Your loved ones will thank you!

    3. Communicate Your Wants And Needs Clearly

    As much as we would like to think that our significant others can read our minds, they (mostly) can’t. Instead of having to make them guess and be disappointed when they don’t figure out exactly what you want, ask for what you need. Practice having open, honest and heartfelt conversations with your loved ones so all involved feel seen, heard and respected. They will appreciate it and you’ll avoid the mistake of assumptions gone awry.

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    4. Fill Your Own Cup

    Fill Your Own Cup

      Be sure to take time out for things that rejuvenate your spirit. Things like meditation, prayer, getting a fabulous massage or a mani-pedi, doing yoga, or taking a walk during your lunch break are all great ways to de-stress and fill your cup back up with goodness. Find a few ways that work for you and practice them regularly. It will calm your mind and ease your spirit.

      5. Giving And Receiving 100%

      It’s often said that being in a relationship is a give and take. That you each give 50% to the whole of the relationship to make it “work” at 100% – right? But the real key is to give 100% of yourself, your attention and your time in the moment, to your loved ones while asking them to give 100% of themselves to the relationship as well.

      In other words, when you’re with your significant other (or with a colleague for that matter), be there fully in the moment with them as best you can. When you give your all, they can feel it. And as human beings, when we feel seen and heard fully, our hearts open and it creates a stronger connection with another. This helps to build trust and collaboration which goes a long way towards reducing misunderstandings.

      6. Be Clear On Your Priorities

      What is the most important thing in your life above all else? What is the second most important thing in your life? The third thing that is most important in your life? When you’re clear on what needs to be prioritized first, then it’s less stressful to make choices and decisions based on your priorities as you honor your values, heart and spirit.

      7. Get Your Zzzzz

      Getting enough sleep is super important! It’s the time when your body can process through the stress of the day and rejuvenates your cells. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can create a multitude of negative affects such as loss of attention span and productivity, forgetfulness, depression, weight gain, premature aging of your skin, and health risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, just to name a few.

      If stress has you worrying and keeping you up at night, try various mindfulness meditations before you go to bed to slow down your system and calm your mind for a restful night’s sleep. Your body will thank you and so will everyone else around you.

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      8. Know Your Boundaries

      What are you willing and not willing to do for your work? Where do you draw the line between work time and family time? When does your work-day begin and end? When is your sacred time with family and loved ones? If need be, put it on your calendar and color code it.

      The more you practice honoring these boundaries, the more you’re honoring your core values. You’re also establishing separate neural pathways in your brain for those different areas of your life. As you do this, it becomes easier to “code switch” or change gears in your mindset to leave work at work and be fully present with friends and family.

      9. Be Mindful Of Your Energy Drains

      Are there some ‘Negative Nellies’ or ‘Hateful Harolds’ in your life? You know those folks who are always trying to pull you down into their latest drama, “woe is me” story or other negative mindsets that drains your time, energy and focus?

      Notice the people and situations that are sucking you dry of your positive life force. Limit your interactions with those kinds of people or eliminate them all together if you can. The less you collude with their story, or buy into it, the less they have something to attach to and will eventually take their story elsewhere.

      10. Schedule Regular Play Dates

      Schedule Play Dates

        Just as much as your kids need play dates with their friends, so do you with your significant other and girl friends. Taking time out to let your hair down and be your “adult” self instead of Mom, or boss, or colleague creates downtime for your hard working brain to just have fun, be silly and do what floats your boat with friends and loved ones.

        11. Dance With Your Inner Muse

        We all have some kind of creativity that comes through us. It can look a thousand different ways such as painting, writing, gardening, cooking, knitting, and dancing just to name a few. When you take time to express your inner muse, it allows your right brain to light up and activates various pleasure centers in your brain. This releases a cascade of happy chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin which leaves you feeling good and creates a positive ripple effect into other areas of your life.

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        12. Ask For Help

        As a recovering “I can do it all by myself” kinda woman, it’s taken me a long time to learn how to ask for help from others. Truth is, when you’re plate is full, there is no way that you can do it all by yourself! When you’re willing to ask for help from those around you for various things you give them the opportunity to be of contribution to you in some way.

        All of us want to be of service in good ways – it’s hard wired into our DNA. When you allow someone to share their expertise or assistance with you, it’s the same as receiving a gift from them. They feel good about giving it and you get to practice graciously receiving their gift of kindness.

        13. Let Go Of The Small Stuff

        dandelion close up

          In each day there are bound to be issues and challenges that come up which can easily drag you down the rabbit hole of stress, worry, fear or frustration. When you’re clear on what your core values and purpose are, then it’s easier to choose your battles based on what’s truly important, what’s going to move you forward in a good way and serve the greater good.

          When you are able to let go of the small stuff you build up your energy reserves for more important things that need your time and attention.

          As you try on these different keys to having more balance, let me know what works best for you and the positive shifts you’re noticing in your work and home life. I’d love to hear!

          Featured photo credit: Morgan Sessions via download.unsplash.com

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

          How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

          If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

          Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

          But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

          Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

          If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

          1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

          For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

          Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

          If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

          But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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          So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

          Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

          In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

          2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

          Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

          Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

          Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

          Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

          For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

          Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

          Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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          For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

          Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

          Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

          Bonus:

          If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

          3. Take meaningful time for yourself

          We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

          Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

          If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

          Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

          This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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          No time for me-time? Try this:

          If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

          This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

          Bonus:

          Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

          4. Get productive and feel accomplished

          Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

          When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

          While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

          Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

          No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

          So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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          Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

          This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

          Try this:

          Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

          The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

          Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

          The bottom line

          There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

          The only question is — which tip will you try first?

          Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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