I’m not so sure about leprechauns, but I’m fairly certain “work-life balance” exists. It eluded me for many years, where there was too much focus on the work and not enough on life. And then, truthfully, there were four years where the scales shifted and I was so engrossed in life and raising my children, that there was just no time for work. But during the past six months, I’ve become a believer that one can integrate work and life into a healthy, happy mix. For me, part of the equation was Virtual Assistance.
There was a learning curve, of course. And an adjustment period. But I’ve settled in to a new routine that allows me to have a healthy work-life balance. There are a few key elements that make it all possible.
Life is hectic. I have two kids and a husband who often works late. There are school projects, sports activities, social engagements and sometimes even date nights. Add to that my virtual assistance schedule, where I support multiple clients with various needs and schedules of their own, and life gets crazy. It’s a lot to juggle, but organization makes it all possible. I start each day with a calendar and my to-do list. Sometimes, my day is so crammed that I have to outline tasks hour-by-hour. But if I want to get it all done and still have time and energy for my family when the workday is over, an organized schedule is the only way to do it.
Even the most well-orchestrated day can go awry. A sick child home from school? A supplier who overpromised and can’t make the delivery date? A crashed computer? It happens. And the only way to deal with it and still cross off those to-dos is to be flexible. I was once out Christmas shopping – and had a cart full of the perfect stocking stuffers and hard-to-find presents – when I got an unexpected work email that just had to be handled from my home office. It wasn’t ideal, to say the least. But I put my cart aside, ran home and addressed the issue, then went right back to my shopping. It was something I could never have done if I was still working in a corporate setting, so instead of feeling inconvenienced, I felt grateful to have such a flexible situation.
A sense of humor
When I first transitioned from “Mom” to “working Mom,” there was a learning curve for sure. Not for me as much as for my kids. My four-year-old didn’t always understand in those early days that he couldn’t make demands like he once did and have them immediately answered. I tried to schedule client calls and office time when he was at preschool, but sick days and unexpected issues do come up. My daughter still laughs hysterically every time we talk about her little brother screaming for me from the bathroom when I was on a conference call. Fortunately, my office door was shut, so I could hear him but my client could not. Even still, I couldn’t wrap up that call fast enough. It’s easy to lose focus and get annoyed every once and again, but having a good sense of humor is a much better approach!
The truth is, I’ve grown accustomed to checking emails on a rather frequent basis and to setting up my daily schedule in a way that allows me to be flexible if an unexpected issue arises. It took some adjusting – for myself and my family – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Organization, flexibility and a good sense of humor mean that I have a productive, successful work life and a happy, carefree home life. It’s my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Have you found a true work-life balance? Share your story, advice or words of wisdom with us. We’d love to hear it all!
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