I’m a mom. A working mom. A divorced working mom. Now I can talk all day about a profile for my own target demographic. I mean, I’m a media buyer and I spend all day learning about what people like me watch, listen to on the radio, what we read and how we make our buying decisions but that’s not what this is about. It’s about a Quest to find the Balance between my personal, family and work life.
My six year-old son Jake started kindergarten this August and I found myself in a place where my work schedule changed. I could no longer afford the daycare so I found myself sitting in that infamous school car line waiting to pick up Jake at 3pm and 2pm on Wednesdays (BTW – who came up with the brilliant idea that kids need to get out of school an hour early on Wednesdays?!?! It was certainly NOT a working mom!).
After 2 weeks of this new schedule, I realized that I had just lost about 10 – 15 hours out of my work week and I needed to get that time back. I tried working at home when we got home from school but how many times can you say, “I’ll be done in 5 more minutes honey…”? I tried working at night after I put my son to bed but when you have a total of two and half hours between your child’s bedtime and yours, well let’s just say that Top Chef and the Biggest Loser won out over turning the computer back on!
I’ve been talking for years with other working moms about how they do this in their lives but this schedule change meant that it was finally time to get serious. My business and my son were both growing so I started the quest to make some changes and find a way to get that time back and be more productive.
Day One: Sandler Sales Goal Setting Session for 2010
I was invited by a new client to a Goal Setting Session for 2010 and decided that this would be the place to start my journey. While we waited for the session to start, I shared my Balance Quest with one of my client’s partners, Diane. She shared with me some personal stories that she had dealt with this year and how it changed her thinking.
Diane had to deal with some financial issues that were beyond her control (ie the economy) so she had to figure out a way to manage them without going crazy. She shared with me her new philosophy on life, “Whatever you thought was important in your life, its really not. Do what feels good to you and that’s what you’re meant to do.” Well, that sounded good, sort of like words from the Secret as told by Diane.
The Goal Setting session was a good way to kick off the Quest. Having worked in the corporate world in my former life, I’ve been to these things before so there were lots of “yeah, I remember that … I need to do that one …. ” moments. We skipped through the workbook and our assignment was to finish all the exercises so we could come up with a one, three, five and ten year goal plan.
My first thoughts were that I could knock this thing out by the end of January. Then my inner voice whined, “Yeah, right, like you just don’t have enough do.” This was one of those moments that my voice was right. I decided a change of strategy was needed and I contacted a good friend to work on this with her. We agreed to do one exercise a month and by this time next year, we should have our goals written out with specific action items and timelines.
I can say that the Goal Setting session was a good foundation to the Balance Quest. I took many ideas away from the session with two that I’ll start to implement in January:
- Use non-business hours to do non-business work – made the decision to schedule night time work like financial paperwork, invoicing and items that I need to do to run my business every month. I’m going to have to give up some of my downtime. I’m just going to have to accept that but its a good tradeoff to spend that time with my son.
- Try to break up big projects into smaller more manageable pieces – getting these smaller goals accomplished will help me stay on track and not feel overwhelmed.
I’m off to a good start! I appreciate you reading this and taking this journey with me. Please feel free to make comments and send me your tips on what you do to help balance your personal, family and work life. Hopefully, we can all find a way to learn from each other.
I’d like to leave you with this one last thought about my Balance Quest from two of my favorite characters on the TV show Criminal Minds, Dr. Reid and Gideon:
Reid: You know, I should feel something. But I don’t.
Gideon: Well, not knowing what you feel, that’s not the same as not feeling anything. This is gonna hit you and, when it does, there’s only three facts you need to know. You did what you had to do and a lot of good people are alive because of what you did.
Reid: What’s the third?
Gideon: I’m proud of you.