Balance is something that is on many bloggers’ minds. Our chat topic for Monday was Balancing Family and Work, and everyone had some great tips with do-able action steps to help us balance a little bit better. Beckie said: “How many of you do the ‘oh-crap-hubby-is-coming-home-in-15-minutes’ dance? raise your hand.”
Click through the jump for the chat transcript & tips for balance:
Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt
Tips for Maintaining Balance with Family and Work:
- The first thing to do is sit down with your family. Open communication. Beckie @infarrantly said: “The best thing I did was ask my hubs what three things are most important when he walks in the door. Ask your hubby the same question — it might change your focus a bit.” Amy @modpodgerocks said: “Check in with your family every so often – be open to their input when you ask them if you are giving them enough of yourself.”
- Make sure your family’s needs are met. When she asked what his top three important things were, Beckie’s husband said: #1 – have your craft project put away; #2 – plan for dinner; #3 – family/room kitchen picked up.) If our children and partners’ needs are met they are more willing to allow us time for our creative outlets. @lbreton said: “When I know my husband is stressed, I clean up before he gets home. It helps him. Not me.”
- Food: Make a meal plan, use the crockpot, cook in bulk and freeze, make extra for leftovers, etc. One of the most important things to pay attention to is feeding your family! Spend a few minutes a week making a meal plan. It will pay off all week as you don’t have to stress about meals at the last minute. Jen @jenjentrixie says: “I involve my kids in dinner planning. Each child plans a meal one day a week. They cook, set the table and clean up that meal. It saves me time, plus they are excited to eat the meal they prepared. I have to help the younger ones. But it has been great.”
- Cleaning: @casabellaproj said: “I *try* to do at least one cleaning task a day along with keeping up with dishes, laundry and clutter.” Linda CraftaholicAnon said: “I try to clean as I go so don’t get too terribly messy.” Beckie said: “I try to tame the laundry monster by putting in a load a day else I’m doing 7 at the end of the week.” Do a 10 or 15-minute clean up at the end of the day so you wake up to a more orderly home. Heather said: “Tackling big stuff first makes so much sense! Make bed first, since it’s the biggest thing in the room. I fold towels first because they take up most space in laundry.”
- Involve your family in your projects when possible. Kids love helping with projects, whether it’s crafting, cooking, or cleaning. @mycottagecharm said: “I get my kids to put away laundry by making a game out of it…with a timer.”
- Turn off the computer. Amy @modpodgerocks said: “I’m not trying to sound 1950s, but maybe get off the computer at least when everyone comes home . . .
- for a few minutes.” Beckie said: “Have time off the computer. Mine is the moment hubs walks in the door until 9 pm.” When you’re unplugged, really be unplugged and engage with other areas of life. Plan to do fun things, like go outside, have family game night, or other activities that don’t center around technology.
- Have a priority to-do list and do it first. Know what absolutely must be done that day and what you can let go (there’s always something else
you *could* do).
- Ignore “urgency.” Rebecca @RebeccaEParsons said: “I have learned that most issues aren’t as initially urgent as they seem and don’t all have to be handled
immediately!!!” Heather said: “Speaking of urgency: I JUST changed my email notification to only check every 30 minutes (instead of every five). Might change it to one hour.” Rebecca said: “I only check e-mail 2 x a day!!! or i go nuts…i let people know this also.” Jenny @crafttestdummy said: “I changed my email notification to “on demand”- it’s there when I can read it- and it’s not chirping for attention.”
- Take advantage of times when your family is busy with other things. @giggleglitzglam crafts while her husband watches sports. You can often work while others are watching tv, playing video games, or out participating in other hobbies and activities. @houseofsmiths has a great tip: “My hubby and I have worked out “daddy daughter” date night each week, work/crafting alone for a few hours.”
- Keep a family master schedule on Google Calendar. Whoever gets their activity on the calendar first has precedence. Bonus: if you use a family Google calendar, you can use it to calendar and plan your blog posts too.
- Set a timer. Last week, we recommended setting a timer for help with managing your schedule. We brought it up again this week. It’s such a great tool! Set timers for 15 minutes. Then blog for 15, clean for 15, play w/kids for 15, etc. That way, you only have to do the thing you dislike for a short period of time, and you are forced to focus on work without goofing off. Leila @lbreton said: “I also try to divy up what I’m doing into 5-10 min chunks of work. That way, I know I can stop when the kids really need me.
- Schedule in non-blogging, non-houseworky time. In other words: DATE NIGHT!! Beckie said: “I can’t stress enough how important weekly date nights are for married couples.” Also, take care of yourself. Jenn said: “Plan time to do other important things for yourself, like read, exercise, etc. Take care of yourself too.”
- Make sure you are not substituting your blog for your family, especially emotionally. Heather says: “I get a lot of validation from my blogging… make sure you don’t let it replace validation/support you should be
getting from your husband and family.”
- Give undivided attention to your family when they need it. Amy said: “When my boyfriend really wants to talk, I give him my undivided attention. Don’t be the computer mumbler (we are all guilty!)” and Taunitweets added “That includes phones!” Make sure you express love to family members the way they each like to receive it. 5 love languages quiz: http://ow.ly/3Jp5m. Heather said: “The thing @modpodgerocks said about giving undivided attention is so important! Especially for someone who prefers quality time.”
- Try to be focused and efficient with your work. That leaves more time for fun and family! Jenn said: “Learn the most efficient ways to get your blog work done.”
- Know when to let it slide. You don’t have to be perfect. You will never be able to do it all. Just remember, when your kids talk about you years from now, you don’t want to be remembered for always being on Twitter OR for having a painfully clean home. Your blog-readers love you, but not as much as your children! Your blog-readers need you, but they can live without you.
- Don’t obsess over mistakes and momfails. Feeling guilty doesn’t help anyone! Notice the things you are doing right and keep on doing them. Work on the things you need to improve. Admit if you have a problem! Michelle @muffintinmom said: “When I’m feeling like I can’t do anything right, I start a tally and make a line every time I feel like I’m rockin’ “it”.”