Six steps to striking a work-life balance


Here at Martin Waymire, one of our major objectives is to win with balance. This enables staff to participate in networking opportunities, volunteer or have (much-needed) flexibility with schedules to accommodate children. In the digital world we live in, however, always being plugged-in sometimes translates to being distracted. In order to get stuff done, you have to have processes in place to stay organized and prioritize. And if people tell you they’re never stressed? Don’t buy it, because we are all surrounded by stressful situations. What helps is how you manage it.

I’m a working mother of two young children, my oldest is almost four and the baby is 16 months along with two fur babies, one that is deaf and blind. Both my husband and I work full time and are involved in a number of community organizations; so to say our lives at times are hectic is a gross understatement.

There are times when I long to shower or go the bathroom by myself without spotting the door opening slowly and a child/dog/need-monster watching me. Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning on a hamster wheel, but I’ve learned one of the best ways to combat chaos is to prioritize and organize.

I learned a lot of this the hard way, so let me share some tips with you so you’re spared some chaos.

1. Organize the way that works for you.

Figure out your work style and structure your life around your needs. This quiz provides some really valuable insight into productivity assessments.

I’m an Arranger, meaning I appreciate teamwork, excel at making decisions based on intuition and like to have healthy conversations about expectations. In a nutshell, I like to talk. A lot.

2. Stop saying yes.

Set boundaries on what’s realistic and don’t say “yes” all the time. You don’t prove yourself by taking on too much, you prove yourself by maintaining your workload, a job well-done and keeping personal obligations manageable.

3. Schedule. Everything.

I have learned that if it’s not written down, it doesn’t happen. I try to maintain a monthly calendar at home of dinners, our family activities as well as a daily calendar for my work schedule (which is color coded to make sure I keep everything straight!).

4. Be flexible.

If having kids has taught me nothing else, be prepared for your plans to be submarined by life. When you brace yourself for the unexpected illnesses, the meltdown over whose turn it is to hold the plastic cellphone (even though we OWN two), the last-minute trips to the store, etc. it seems like sometimes you’re barely clinging to sanity. Remember, these things happen. You can try to schedule extra space in your calendar for things to unravel, but it’s important to remember you’re human. Every day, just do your best.

5. Determine what parameters you need from your employer.

Need flexibility? Want a lot of time off? Is travel important to you? Identify whatever parameters you need in a workplace and look for a good fit. As I mentioned earlier, Martin Waymire is extremely flexible on work/life balance and this is something that’s crucial for me and my family. Knowing I can come into work a little late after attending a field trip, bring one of my dogs into work (pictured above) or doctor’s appointment for me is invaluable.

6. Be present, wherever you are.

How many times have you sat at the dinner table hunched over your phone “catching up on emails?” Mm hmm. We’ve all done it. At work? Put your phone on “do not disturb” and turn off Facebook/Twitter/Vine/Pinterest/Instagram for an hour. You’ll be amazed at all the stuff you get done!

At home? Figure out a “no talk” time. Sometimes I put my phone on Pandora, plug it into the speaker in the kitchen (so what if we’re listening to the Disney station) and ask my kiddos and husband about their days.

It doesn’t mean dinner is always a relaxing escape, but I’m completely tuned in to them. Because at the end of the day, they’re who matter most.

So while it may seem impossible at times if you start with baby steps, and a little extra time to organize your life, you really can work any job and have your ideal home life. One Disney song at a time…