You can find serenity by learning to balance your schedule based on the life you have, not the life you want. Whenever a group of working moms gets together, the subject of work/life balance inevitably is raised. It doesn’t matter if the women work at home, in their own businesses or for other companies. The women who seem like good balance artists are asked their secrets for success. The women who have trouble balancing are frustrated and often on the verge of tears.
Over the years I have learned that the secret to balance at my house is working with reality instead of the dream. By this I mean that you should schedule your activities both personal and professional based on your real life. For example, my teenager must be up at 6 am so she can be at the bus stop by 7 am. My other children must be up at 7 am to be at the bus stop by 8:25 am. I must pick up the little ones at the bus stop at 4:25 pm and they do not go to bed until 8:30 pm. I work from home. This means that there is no point in scheduling any work from 4:15 pm to 9:00 pm because my children will be up and running around occupying my mind and my time. No matter how much I would like to sit down at 6:00 pm and write or talk with clients, it will not happen, at least not without more drama than it is all worth.
Successful balance means that you work with the life you have, rather than the one you want to have or wish you had. When you are trying to balance work and life, be realistic. When you schedule, be sure you put the following things in our calendar before adding your schedule:
1. Children’s school and activity schedules
2. Spouse’s activity schedule
3. Your religious obligations
4. Your work obligations
At the start of each school year when I get my children’s school calendars, I take the time to actually fill in days off, half days, HSA meetings, school breaks, concerts and the like. I make sure to keep track of my husband’s work events on my calendar. Events at church or for church I add to my telephone right at church while I am reading the weekly announcements. Once all that stuff is in the calendar I see what time is free and available. This means when I schedule time for my work obligations, I don’t have to feel guilty or stressed because I have taken everything and everyone else into account.
A secret for me is an electronic calendar. I use an electronic calendar because it means my calendar is on my phone, my tablet and my laptop. If I lose or break any of them, I still have my calendar “in the cloud.” One benefit of the calendar being on my phone is that I can carry the phone in my pocket or on my hip and have an alarm go off when it is time to do the next thing on the schedule. My scheduling for balance wasn’t perfect day one. It wasn’t perfect day two. But now, it does work well for me and I continue to schedule purposefully, and with my actual family and obligations in mind. Perhaps one day my dream scheduling and reality based scheduling will be the same.
In conclusion, you can find serenity by learning to schedule based on the life you have, not the life you want. So, the question for you this serene day is, are you scheduling your life based on reality or on a dream?