Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. Most of us want it all, but many women struggle with the idea of having it all and often find themselves having to choose between having a happy fulfilled family life and having an equally thriving career. As a woman who has both, I don't subscribe to the notion that we have to choose. In fact, I feel strongly that we can have both.
The key to having it all, in my opinion, is:
- Time management
No job/career should demand 24 hours of your time, even if you are an entrepreneur. There has to come a point when you are closed for business. There may be instances where something out of the ordinary arises that may require you to work after business hours, but that should be the exception not the rule. The same applies if you work for an organization and are in a leadership position.
There will be times when an emergency occurs that requires your input or a last minute decision that needs to be made, but these instances should not be the norm. If they are, then some operational streamlining and revamping may need to be done. You have to start asking yourself "Why can't this operation function without my 24 hour input?" As leaders, one of our responsibilities is to build a well functioning team (both in business and at a home). Meaning, that business should be able to run smoothly without a 24 hour presence being needed.
Once I started putting a value on my time, delegating when necessary, and establishing clear boundaries I was able to accomplish more. I then educated everyone on my team (husband, kids, family members, colleagues) when it was acceptable and unacceptable to cross those boundaries. I realized that if I didn't start valuing and respecting my own time no one else would either. You know that saying "We teach others how to treat us"? Well, that applies to our time as well.
Building a great team is no easy feat, but once you do, it makes your life that much easier. You have to recognize the strengths of the individuals on your team (both at home and in business) and then delegate tasks accordingly so that you don't get left doing all the work. At home, the household chores are split 50/50 between my husband and I and as my daughters get older (3 yrs old and 7 months old) they will be assigned age appropriate chores and responsibilities.
When one person is left to do all the work you face the risk of burn out and you also put at risk the quality of the work. Can you imagine if only one person was responsible for building a car or a plane? For one, it would take months possibly even years before one was completed and secondly the quality would also be affected because no one person has the expertise on every part that goes into making a car or a plane. Being able to leverage the expertise and talents of the members on your team is what will make your business successful.
When you divide the work, you as the matriarch and head of the family do not have to carry the load alone. Splitting up the work allows everyone to work as part of a team and helps to make them feel valuable. You want them to feel like their contributions matter. No one likes to be told what to do 100% of the time.
Effective leaders know how to relinquish power and empower those who work for them. I find this to be particularly true at home raising my girls because even though my oldest daughter is only 3 she enjoys helping me. It makes her feel important and proud when she is assigned a chore and completes it. When she asks to help me around the house I let her. Even if I have to redo what she did, I want her to always feel like her contribution matters.
So when people ask me "how do you manage it all?" I say, "By making the most of every second of every day."
Time management, delegating, and setting boundaries is how I have been able to accomplish everything I've always set my mind to do. I may not be able to do it all, but when I plan (as best as I can), delegate, and set boundaries I can definitely have it all and I'm enjoying life in the process.