Hello. Welcome back to Live Free Creative. I’m your host Miranda Anderson. I am recording from my parents’ house in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I just had a funny cord moment because my microphone cord got bent while the microphone was packed in my suitcase. And so when I plugged it in, it wouldn’t accept it in my computer. And I had this thought, “At my parents’ house I am sure that there’s a box of cords.”
This is something that at my own house, I’ve tried hard not to have all of the leftover electronic cords, you know, that are sort of mismatched and you just toss them all in a box.
Sure enough, in one of the drawers in my mom’s study, I found the box of chords with probably 50 different chords with no electronic devices attached to them. And I was able to find not one, not two but three of the USB cord that I needed to replace the one that got bent in my suitcase so I am able to record this episode for you today.
So although I don’t condone keeping all of the cords that you’ve ever received for your whole life, in this one circumstance, it definitely came in handy and saved me a trip for running to the store to replace it today.
You are listening to Episode 105 of the podcast. I’m going to be talking about a few of the ways that I like to manage the juggle of motherhood and work.
This podcast hopefully will have some tips that will be helpful for you, even if you are not a mother and even if you don’t work, as I share just five specific tips that I use in my life to find the sweet spot, to manage multiple roles that seem to at sometimes come into conflict.
This could be true for having a career as well as managing a relationship. You might want to have some hobbies, as well as your volunteer and service opportunities. Any time that you want to wear multiple hats in the same life, there comes a time where you need to figure out some strategies for managing the juggle.
I am purposely using the word juggle instead of balance, because I feel like balance creates this sense of true sort of centered equanimity between all of the things that we do, and life for me has always felt a lot more like a juggle of grabbing hold of things, tossing them into the air, figuring out what sticks, figuring out what things I’m going to let fall.
Sometimes letting things fall accidentally and figuring out what happens when that occurs and understanding that it’s okay to not hold on to everything at once, that some things are going to be easier than others. And some things at some times might be more important to me than others. That through all of that, I can feel centered. My person, my mental state, my heart can feel at peace while all of the things happening in my life might be up and down. And that’s okay.
Before I jump in, I want to share a quick segment. I haven’t done one of these in a while. This one is called Odd Jobs.
Segment: Odd Jobs
I always have a fun time when I’m in Utah with the memories that come back to me, I lived in Utah from the time I was born until I graduated from college, which was two years after Dave and I got married.
And although we haven’t lived in Utah for 12 years, so many things about it are still, of course, so familiar to me. As I was driving down a street in my neighborhood the other day, I remembered what is probably my very first job, which was working as the custodial staff for my dad’s small office.
My dad owns a commercial construction company. And so he maintains a relatively small office. I think at its biggest, maybe only had eight or 10 employees working in the office who then managed all of the outside teams of subcontractors to build these big buildings. Things like schools and corporate office buildings and not residential construction, commercial construction, so big strip malls and things like that.
My dad taught us about the value of work from the time we were very young and one of the ways that he provided an opportunity for us to work and understand the correlation between spending time working and earning money and then saving and all of the interplay of those things of, you know, a micro economy, a personal economy, was to give us the option to work cleaning his office.
Once a week, when I started, I’m guessing I was probably around nine or 10 years old and I would clean in tandem with my older sister who’s two and a half years older than me.
My dad showed us how he expected the work to be done. And I think my mom would, of course drive us–neither of us could drive–and even help out the whole time. But through this job, we learned how to dust, how to vacuum, how to clean bathrooms, how to scrub floors.
I remember having similar types of chores at home, but actually most of where I learned to really clean was in doing this custodial work for my dad. I think it’s also memorable because I knew we got paid. I think when we very first started my sister and I would split the money.
And then as time went on, different iterations of siblings would do the work together. I remember a time in high school when we would switch off weeks because we wanted to do it by ourselves and get a full week’s pay.
I also remember times when my dad thought it was so weird that none of us wanted to do it. There was this opportunity to earn, I think between $40 and $50 a week for a job that probably took one hour. That’s a much higher pay rate than you could make, you know, in the early two-thousands working retail or working in a restaurant or something, you know. $20 an hour is not a bad pay for a teenager.
And he would be confused about us wanting to prioritize our social engagements, or even sleeping in, over heading to the office and doing that work.
A couple of my favorite memories from this very first job are one, the very first office. When I was very young, my dad had an office nearby our house and it was in a building that was shared with a florist.
And sometimes when I would be a cleaning and taking the garbage out to the dumpster, there would be piles and piles of just wilted flowers from the florist that of course they couldn’t use when they went a little bit beyond what was reasonable to sell. And so I would dive into the dumpster and gather up small bouquets of wilted flowers, not so wilted that you couldn’t use them for a couple of days.
But I just remember thinking, “These things are so beautiful. How are they going to waste?” And gathering up little bouquets to bring home. This was my first foray into dumpster diving, my friends.
Another funny memory was from the next office. My dad moved into a different office sometime when I was in junior high or high school. And one of his longtime employees was married to a Delta Airlines flight attendant.
This was at the time when Biscoff cookies, you know, those little signature cookies that you get on a Delta flight, you couldn’t buy them in a regular store. They are made in Europe. They were sort of a specialty thing. And I loved them so much. I would just wait to go on a Delta flight somewhere on vacation so that I could get those little Biscoff cookies. I love them so much.
And for Christmas one year, this employee’s wife, the flight attendant brought in a giant box of Biscoff cookies for an office gift and set it on the counter in the little kitchen area.
And so for a couple weeks, every time I went into clean, I would just fill my pockets with little packets of Biscoff cookies. So excited to have access to these little treats.
Reminiscing a little tiny bit about my very first odd job as I’ve been in town this weekend brought a smile to my face and also filled me with a certain sense of love and gratitude for my sweet dad who probably sacrificed the cleanliness of his office by letting his young kids and teenagers take advantage of an opportunity to learn, to work and develop a sense of responsibility outside the home in a way that was really meaningful at that time.
That, my friends, was my very first odd job.
The Work / Motherhood Juggle
Okay, friends. Let’s jump into the work / motherhood juggle.
There are five specific ideas that I thought of as I was preparing for this episode that have been helpful for me in recognizing and managing these different sometimes conflicting roles that I fail as a mother and a creative business owner.
These same types of things can apply, like I mentioned in the beginning of the episode, to lots of different roles that you may play. And I think that they’re helpful to just maintain some perspective and hopefully provide you with some encouragement as you’re looking at your life in a new way.
Tip 1. Determine The Purpose
So the first one is very simple and I think very central to all of the roles that we play. And this one is to determine your values regarding the roles that you’re looking at. In this case, my values as a creative business owner, what I hope to accomplish there.
And my values surrounding motherhood. What type of mother do I want to be? What do I want that to look like and feel like for me?
I like to ask myself a couple simple questions. The first one is, why am I doing this? This question is really nice because it can be applied very specifically to any action or decision that you’re making, whether in motherhood or in a relationship, or in your work.
Why am I doing this? What is the purpose behind it? A lot of times we go ahead with things that we think we should be doing without understanding the purpose behind it. And a lot of times those might be actions or decisions that are imposed upon by our friends or by the social media that we follow or by the culture that we grew up in. And they might not actually apply to our own personal values.
So exploring a little bit about what things matter to us individually really helps us create a life that reflects who we are and what we value.
I like to ask myself the question, what kind of mom do I want to be? The type of mom that I want to be might be really different than the type of mom that other people want to be. And that’s so good. That’s okay. We’re all created so differently with different interests, with different levels of patience, with different ideas about what matters within a home environment, within a motherhood environment, within that relationship and that role.
Clearly defining that for yourself, or at least beginning to explore it, is so empowering because you start to realize that you do not in any way have to measure up to anyone else’s ideas about what motherhood is supposed to look like. That can be a unique and individual role to you.
My friend, Ralphie Jacobs, who’s a parenting expert and someone I’ve had on the show before. I’ll link that episode in the show notes.
She has this Instagram campaign that she does from time to time, that hashtag I’m this kind of mom, and the idea is to reflect that the type of mom that you are is going to be unique to you because you are one of a kind the way that you mother, and the things that you value in your motherhood do not have to be the same as everyone else.
When I think about my creative business, one of the questions I like to ask is how is the work that I am doing contributing to a greater good? This is a really important question to me because I don’t want to be spending time creating work, putting products and courses,, and mentorship, and even podcasts out into the world that aren’t contributing to a greater good, that aren’t uplifting and inspiring people to feel more free to live their unique life.
That is the goal that I have behind all of the aspects of my business, to encourage people, especially women, to create space for the things that matter most to them in their lives, whether through decluttering and organizing, like in my Live Free From Clutter course, whether by really feeling motivated and supported to attack projects and complete goals that they’ve wanted through my creative mentorship program, or whether it’s simply to entertain and inspire with this free weekly podcast that helps people think about things in a little bit different way than they might have before.
I want all of the work that I do to be contributing to the greater good. And sometimes I get in the thick of my work and I see what other people are doing, and I start to sort of work on something new. When I pause and ask myself this question, I realize that this aspect of my business or this new product, or offering might not be contributing to the greater good.
It might be more of something that would like pat my own back or sort of help me feel individually successful. And I can quickly disregard those things and realize that that is not the purpose that I want to fulfill as a business owner and as a creative content producer.
And so I can more easily set those things aside and say, no, that actually doesn’t fulfill the purpose that I hope to achieve.
A final question that I want to share in this number one tip of determining your purpose and values within your individual roles is: which tasks will lead to the highest outcome? Where can I focus my best amount of energy and resources in order to create the highest good, highest amount of connection, the highest amount of efficiency, of relationship, of commitment.
Pinpointing where you’re making the most progress and what are the tasks, or the activities, or the different aspects of life, whether in motherhood or in business, that contributes to the highest value, those are the things to continue doing.
And I can also look at sort of inventory what tasks or activities or projects or ideas take away from the overall value. And I can recognize there are probably some things that I do in motherhood that don’t contribute to my highest values of encouraging my kids to become their best selves or a supporting connection within our family members.
They’re probably things that I spend time and energy on that actually don’t affect those end values at all. And that’s where I can start to really peel away the things that are unnecessary, and that frees up all the space and energy that I want to use on the things that do matter most.
I hope that thinking through some of those questions for yourself, and this may be something that you want to take a few minutes and write down. If you decide to join Live Free From Clutter, the doors are gonna open in a couple of weeks for that course, this is something that we do within that course as a group, determine your values and then figure out what are the actions that uphold those values.
And we create a full, intentional living plan, personal intentional living guidelines, which is really cool. Actually spending a little bit of time on this one will really inform the decisions that you make moving forward into the next few steps and is just a great foundation for understanding how you want to personally juggle the different roles that you fulfill in your life.
Tip 2. Only Multitask Within One Role
Moving on to number two, my number two tip is to monotask within your roles. So you’ve probably heard a lot about multitasking and that’s something that especially women are pretty good at. We can have our irons in seven different fires at once, and just be managing all of these different things.
You probably have also heard that lots of recent studies show that that is a very ineffective way to accomplish things because your brain has to switch between tasks and you just lose a lot of mental energy and stamina as you make those switches.
Now, I think a lot of just modern lifestyle makes full focus on one thing at a time almost impossible. So I try to monotask within my roles and multitask only in the ways that the different roles that I’m fulfilling are supportive of each other.
So I’m going to share a couple of examples of this.
People who are mothers know that that job, especially once you have multiple kids, that job requires having your attention split because not all of your kids are going to want to be doing the exact same thing at the same time.
And also in order to prepare, to take care of children, especially young children, you have to spend some of your time both caring for them and giving them attention and preparing for their feeding and their clothing and their changing, all of those things.
I heard Design Mom–Gabrielle Blair of the Design Mom blog–years ago say how important it was to keep your multitasking within specific roles. So some examples that she shared that I loved are that she knows that she feels better, and knows that it’s more empowering, when she’s in motherhood, that to multitask within that role.
For example, being present to help your children with their homework. If they’re sitting around the table or sitting up at the counter, helping them with their homework at the same time that you’re making some preparations for dinner.
So both sort of cooking and being there present and informed so that you can do both of those things at once that are very much both sort of motherhood and household management roles.
Another thing might be hanging out with your kids and watching a movie while you’re also folding laundry. And this is something I like to get my kids in on.
So those are both very like encapsulated roles within my motherhood and household management duties. They can feed off of each other and help each other because as I’m cooking dinner, my kids get to see me doing that. So I’m being both present for homework and teaching them how to cook as they watch me.
And sometimes actually they get in with me, you know, Plum might be cooking with me because she doesn’t have homework, while with the other two boys, we’re going back and forth talking about a science experiment or something that they’re learning in math.
The same thing might happen as we’re working on the laundry, that we are watching a show that we like and connecting as a family, but also they’re learning some essential household skills at the same time. So those things really converge.
The real conflict starts to arise for me when I try to multitask or overlap roles. For example, if I’m answering emails for work while my kids are doing homework, it feels a little bit more distracted. And I feel a little bit more tension because those roles are not the same thing.
My work role and my motherhood role, I like to keep a little bit of distance between them.
Trying to manage social media while I’m watching my kids at the park, I prefer to put my phone away and be present as a mom when I’m doing the motherhood role and then be really present at work when I’m doing that.
So while I allow myself to multitask within a certain role, I really try hard to keep a clear definition between roles themselves. So when I’m home doing household and motherhood duties, I like to keep my work really set aside and tucked away.
And then when I go into work mode, whether that’s hours of the day, even though I’m at home or whether I go to my office, or a lot of times I travel for work, go to conferences and work retreats. I like to keep those things a little bit more separate. It helps me both focus and stay present, and also give all of the energy and attention needed to each of those things separately.
Within work, I can multitask a little bit. For example, sometimes I’ll make an Instagram story while I’m sewing something, doing a sewing project or a DIY or both. That’s multitasking within work roles.
And when I’m multitasking within home roles, I already shared some examples of that. I will say, for my family, because of my job as a content creator, sometimes very, not very often, but sometimes there is a little bit of overlap between my motherhood role and my work.
For example, if I do a sponsored post that has something to do with family and with kids, and we need to do a photo shoot with my kids, that is a time that I like to incorporate my kids within my work role. And I actually use that as an opportunity to provide them with work.
Whenever my kids are in a photo shoot for something that’s going to earn money for me and my business, I pay them as if they were talent that I was hiring for the photo shoot or for the project.
So just like I shared in my odd jobs, that my dad used his resources as a business owner to provide some opportunities for me to earn money as a child, I do that same thing in a really different way with my kids when they’re involved with the work that I do in social media or in content creation.
Tip 3. Create Basic Systems
Number three idea, kind of correlates a little bit with the last one, which is to create systems. I love systems. And it’s really funny because I’ve mentioned this before that one of my core values is freedom and flexibility. And having really specific systems is one of the ways that I have found the most amount of freedom of flexibility in my life.
So it seems like that is a paradox. However, in my life, the freedom comes because of the underlying systems.
Batch processing is a term that you may have heard of before. Basically it eliminates the need to multitask as much because you do a lot of the same type of tasks at the same time.
For some people, in a motherhood role, this might include meal planning all at once, preparing for school lunches and like packing a bunch of…I know people who do a bunch of sandwiches and put them all in the freezer and cut up a bunch of apple slices and put them in all of their little bags in the fridge, so that each day that same task doesn’t have to be done. It just becomes a grab and go system where you just spend one day a week doing all of the lunch or dinner prep for the whole week, so that during the week, you don’t have to do all of that. You don’t have to switch in and out of food preparation mode.
That’s an example of batch processing. In a work situation, an example of batch processing is doing all of your emails at one time, rather than checking your email on and off throughout the day, having a time assigned ,like 3:30, I’m going to check my emails and respond to any emails that require a response. And then I’m going to turn it off again and check them again the following day at that same time.
It enables you to really be in the head space and be more efficient because you’re not switching tasks on and off.
One of the specific ways that I like to batch process in my motherhood role has to do with our capsule wardrobes. I’ve talked a lot about capsule wardrobes. I have a very specific episode all about it. I’ll link that in the show notes.
Because of the way that we’ve decided to manage capsule wardrobes or edited closets at my house, I only buy clothes twice a year. I buy clothes in the spring and I buy clothes in the fall. And other than that, we use the clothes within the capsule for the two seasons, the spring/summer season, or the fall/winter season.
What that helps me do is get into clothes shopping mode for about a week and a half, twice a year. And then I never have to think about it again for the whole rest of the season.
During that timeframe when I’m thinking about clothes, some of the things that I do are go through all of my kids’ clothes with them, have them try them on, determine what still fits, what doesn’t fit, what they like, what they don’t like, and make a plan for what we’re going to need for the upcoming season.
It then enables me to really align my values of sustainability and minimalism with my actions of shopping for eco-friendly clothing in a sustainable way, which for us means mostly secondhand with a little bit of new, but sustainably made clothes mixed in.
And then once we’ve got it all down, it might take a week and a half or two, like I said, to figure it all out, to find the right things at the right places have it all arrive and get it all organized.
And then I’m done. And I don’t have to think about it again, except on the very, very rare occasion that something pops up like a special need or something that we didn’t expect for the most part.
This has served me so well. I like clothes. I think they’re great. I love for my kids to dress in a way that feels fun and comfortable to them. I love wearing clothes that make me feel comfortable and confident.
And I also love not having to think about it all the time, especially with sales popping up every single week and the endless less flow of new clothing because of the fast fashion world that we live in, there is always something new.
It is so helpful to just be able to turn a blinder on to that and know that there always is something new. And that means that I don’t have to really pay attention to it because, when I’m ready to buy clothes, I can do it in a focused and intentional way. And that system has just been so helpful.
A couple of the other systems that I have in place for motherhood are my Minimal Meal Plan. This is a system that I’ve shared before that has really changed people’s lives. There’s a simple podcast episode about it.
And I also created a whole, a little bit more in depth course. You can get through the whole course in about two hours. It has seven lessons that go really in depth and give you all of the tools that you need to implement a minimum meal plan in your family’s life that has taken away so much wasted time.
It has enabled us to live really stress-free when it comes to our meals. I never ever ask myself what’s for dinner because I already know.
Some of the systems that I use for work are: planning ahead. I do a planning session once a week, where I determine all of my necessary to do’s for the week with regards to work, and then I don’t stop there. I never leave it in the to-do list format. I always plug those into a specific timeframe within my work hours of the week, so that I know when it’s going to happen.
The other thing that this does for me is really reduces my decision fatigue and my need for motivation, because sometimes I have a bunch of stuff on the to-do list and I get to my work hours of the day, and I don’t really feel like doing anything. And it’s really hard to find motivation when you don’t have a decision made.
But if I have a very specific task delineated for that timeframe, I know what to do. I don’t have to think about it. I just jump in and start doing it. And so my planning eliminates my need for constant motivation.
So number three, just creating some batch processing and some simple systems really helps to keep the roll running smoothly and eliminate the constant conflict that you might come into when you don’t really have any plans and everything’s just all mashing together all at once.
I like to just keep some clear systems in place so that I have the ability to really be clear about what I’m doing, why and when, and things go so much smoother that way.
Tip 4. Use A Block Schedule
Now dovetailing off of that number four is to live within my preplanned block schedule. I have an episode again, all about block scheduling and block planning. It has a 10 page workbook that’s a free PDF download. And I will link that in the show notes. You can find that there.
This has been so instrumental in my ability to focus, to not waste time and energy, to feel inspired and to create rest and relaxation in my life. Basically, I think about my day in terms of buckets of time.
If I wanted you to just have a visual of this, just imagine getting six or seven different sand buckets and lining them up along the beach, and then assigning each of the buckets a specific timeframe. After that, I assigned each of the buckets a specific title, and keep roles and types of tasks assigned to it.
For example, the first bucket might say from the time I wake up until 10:00 AM, that would be my Morning timeframe. And the role that I assign to that timeframe is my role as a mom, the types of tasks that I assigned to that timeframe are getting ready, having breakfast exercise, doing some morning chores as a family and planning the day. So anything that falls under that would go into that bucket.
The next bucket might have the timeframe of 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. And in my life that bucket would also be assigned as my role of motherhood. Some of the things, the types of tasks that might go into that timeframe are outdoor adventures, field trips, doctor’s appointments, errands like grocery shopping or running to the mailbox, those tasks that are associated with motherhood that are errands and sort of getting things done and fun field trips and adventures go into that bucket.
I would probably add lunch into that bucket too, which some days might look like a picnic. Some days might look like eating at home. Some days might look like driving through on the way to a doctor’s appointment, because that is what we’re doing at that time.
My next bucket would have the label of 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This bucket in my life is usually my work bucket. The role that I would write on that one is creative entrepreneur, the types of tasks that go into that bucket are photo-shoots, podcast recording, editing interviews, phone calls, emails, all of the things that I do to keep my business running. Writing, relationships, all of those things would go into that bucket.
The next bucket would be 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. That again, bounces back to motherhood and the types of tasks happening then are homework, dinner, preparation, piano lessons, and some of those winding down type things.
Then from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. My role is, again, mother, I might also have the role of friend or community member there because the types of tasks happening in that bucket would be PTA meetings, getting ready for bedtime, book clubs, girl’s night outs, date night, those types of things would go into that bucket.
And then my 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM bucket, my role would probably be wife. That’s the time that I like to spend with Dave, the types of tasks we can put in there are watching a show together, having a deep conversation, spending some time reading or writing in a journal.
Now, thinking about my days in terms of this bucket method or a block schedule enables me to predetermine where something fits best. So for example, I just got an email from the vet where we take our dog that said that she’s due for an annual checkup and her rabies vaccination.
I can call and schedule that appointment for any time. So, because I have a block schedule all planned out, I can look at it and know that that probably fits best within my schedule between the hours of 10 and 1. And so when I call to make my appointment, I’ll schedule that in that particular time slot, because I know that that’s a household errand running roll time of day.
I don’t want to schedule that appointment at 2:30 PM, right in the middle of my work hours, because that would take me out away from my focus. It would cause some role conflict of, okay, now I need to take the dog to the vet, even though I could have scheduled a meeting for that time. It just helps me plan the things that that I have control over.
Now, of course, every once in a while, there’s something totally beyond my control, or I choose to say we’re going to do an all day activity today. And so I’m canceling any types of errands and any type of work so that we can go enjoy some alternative things, you know, that’s necessary, vacations and downtime.
For the most part though, having a block schedule for me has really created some clarity around making sure that I am able to do the things that I want to do, even in different roles that I feel because I have a little bit of an idea of where all of those things can fit.
It’s been really helpful to think in terms of blocks of time or buckets of time as we’re preparing to homeschool this year. And Dave is going to jump in and work from home a little bit more than he has even during all of the pandemic, which I’m excited about.
So because of the way that we’re setting up our schedule, we are able to make plans around when he’s going to help and what that will look like. And then the days that he’s home in the afternoon, I can actually leave and my work hours can happen at my office or out in the community rather than at home, to create this sort of space that I like to really delineate the different roles that I’m filling.
Tip 5. Recharge
The last thing that I want to share today in terms of juggling these different things that might be happening in your life are to create space to recharge. I love how Stephen Covey talks about this in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as sharpening the saw.
He shares this really interesting metaphor of a wood cutter, a tree cutter. What are those people called who cut trees down? Paul Bunyan was a tree chopper. I’m thinking of the word lumberjack. I had to Google that.
Okay, so a lumberjack goes out to cut down some trees for work and he chops and chops and chops and saws and saws and saws. And as the day goes on, or as the week goes on, it gets harder and harder and less effective to cut down the trees.
And not only is his body getting tired, but his saw is getting more and more dull every time that he cuts.
He thinks that he needs to just barrel on to just keep going and just put in more effort and more muscle. And there’s no time to stop because he needs to chop these trees down.
And another lumberjack goes out, and after every couple trees that he cuts down, he takes some time to sharpen the saw and he sharpens it up. And it takes a little bit of time to step away from the work and sharpen the saw.
But as the days go on, this lumberjack is able to cut trees as efficiently and effectively as he did on day one, because the time that he’s taking to sharpen his saw he can cut down as many trees on the third day as he did on the first day. And soon, far surpasses in efficiency and effectiveness the other lumberjack who doesn’t take the time to sharpen the saw.
The metaphor here is obviously so clear that we need to step away from all of these things that are our hustle and bustle, our work and taking care of our kids and fulfilling our volunteer and service roles and opportunities, in order to recharge our bodies, minds and spirits, as we push through, we become less and less effective.
We become less and less able to really pursue the goals that we have and really uplift and support those who need our support and our love and encouragement.
A couple of the ways that I think about sharpening the saw in my own life are number one: to exercise. I can do this with my kids by going on hikes, by going to the swimming pool, by going on bike rides. I can do it without my kids, by going by myself on a walk. I love to go on a run.
We have a rowing machine. It’s fun to use the rowing machine. I haven’t tried it with the kids on my lap. It might work, but I like to do it by myself.
I also like to exercise in a way that combines a social aspect. So the other day I went on a sunrise kayak on the James River with a friend, and we were able to stay socially distanced on the kayaks, but we paddled around the river for about two and a half hours. And I felt so renewed after I spent that time sharpening the saw through some exercise.
Another way I like to sharpen the saw or recharge is by getting enough sleep. And if you listen to my episodes at the beginning of this year, I talk about nutrition about sleep and about exercise as sort of some baseline things that we need to do in our lives.
And so many of us forget this, especially if you’re a mom with young kids and especially if you have a job that you love to do, our inclination is to stay up, to do more. And I want to tell you very clearly that you will do more by going to sleep. You will have more creative energy, more effectiveness, and more ability when your body is functioning at its highest level, by getting enough sleep.
Another thing that I like to do is to make sure that I have enough alone time. And I know this is a hard thing to do when you have kids, especially in the time of COVID. I used to hire babysitters regularly for the whole time that I’ve been a mom. Since my babies were little, I felt really good about leaving them with other people for short bouts of time.
And as they got older, a little bit longer periods of time and even like a whole weekend or a whole week, so that I could go on vacation either by myself or with my husband. And that’s something that has been such a change.
Luckily, my oldest is old enough that I feel like he now can step into that role of taking care of the other kids during the day for a couple hours at a time so that I can go on a walk by myself so that I can listen to an audio book.
I like to read. I like to eat out, get takeout, go into nature, into the mountains or down by the river. As I spend time alone with myself, I’m able to connect to myself and I bring that connection and that wholeness into every single other role that I fulfill. I am a whole person.
If you listen to Episode 19, Wholeness in Motherhood, I really believe in the power of becoming whole as an individual to enable me to show up as a whole person for my kids, for my husband, for my business, for my community. I am worth the time and resources and energy that it takes to take care of myself individually. And that bleeds over into my ability to take care of, of anyone else.
I’m going to go back through the, these five tips for the juggle motherhood and work life or any of the other roles that you want to apply right there.
Number one is to determine your purpose and values. Ask yourself the question, why am I doing this? What kind of mom do I want to be? What kind of employee do I want to be? How is the work that I’m doing contributing to a greater good?
Number two is to multitask within your roles, but really try to keep those roles separate. So you can feel good about doing all of your motherhood things, all kind of in mesh, and then try to keep your work time really clear, separate so that you don’t have to feel the tug of not doing great in either of those roles at the same time.
Number three is to create some systems and batch process things, both in motherhood and in work, that allow you to stay really focused and be really efficient on one particular type of task at a time so that you don’t have to do it continually day after day.
Number four is to use a block schedule. Think of your time in terms of buckets of time, that enables you to have clarity as you’re making decisions about what to do when, and also that makes sure that you have all of the space that you need in your life to do different types of things in the order that makes most sense for you and your lifestyle.
And finally recharge, sharpen that saw, make sure you’re exercising and getting enough sleep and eating well, make sure that you are giving yourself alone time that isn’t a role of motherhood, and it’s not a roll of work either, and it isn’t contributing to any of your other relationships. You’re giving yourself time for yourself to heal, to learn, to experience, to feel inspired to rest, because as you do that, that you are showing up better in every single role that you fill.
I want to just wrap up today letting you know that this isn’t always easy, but it also doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes talk about it as being.
I think that sometimes we like to live into the drama of, “Oh, it’s so impossible to do all of the things”, or “Things are really difficult trying to juggle these things.” And maybe it’s because I feel really comfortable letting some of the balls drop. I feel really good knowing that I’m not going to get to everything and that’s okay.
I don’t want to get to everything. I don’t want to do everything. I don’t want to finish all of the to-do list every single day, because I know that that is a never ending story.
I like the idea of really paring down to what matters most and what is most effective, and then giving yourself some grace for knowing that it’s okay, that you’re not doing all of the things that Pinterest shows you or that social media might show you.
You know that the things that you are doing are the ones that make you feel the most fulfilled and that help achieve the goals that you have personally for your business or for your role as an employee or for your family and your role as a mother.
Thank you so much for tuning in today. I hope that you have found some of these ideas and examples helpful, and that you can use them to find a little bit more peace and creativity within the different roles that you juggle in your own life.
Especially now, as school is getting started, those of you who do have kids and also want to pursue any other type of role or creative work or hobbies with all the kids home this year, it’s going to be a little bit different. And so I’m really leaning into these ideas that I’ve shared today in my own life, in order to set myself up for success.
I really believe that we have the freedom to live our lives exactly the way that we want to. And I want to encourage you to explore what that looks like for you, so that you can feel the most fulfilled possible.
Talk to you next week. Have a great one. Bye bye.