If I had a pound for every person who asks me ‘I just don’t know how you do it’ I’d be able to retire.
Of course, by ‘it’ they are referring to running a busy and growing business alongside a busy home life. But obviously I don’t see this as an ‘it’ because this is MY life, MY choice, and it’s exactly the balance of these two polar opposite areas of my life that I thrive on.
So why is it so difficult to imagine that both things can be balanced?
Yes it’s tiring at times, and perhaps I’ve sacrificed some me-time, but for me the rewards and the exhilaration of this full-to-the-brim life means that if I get hit by a bus tomorrow I’ll never be able to say perhaps I could have fitted more in.
So I think the reason people make this comment is that perhaps they’re stressed as opposed to busy. There is quite a difference between the two. I love being busy, I can be productive and get things done, and it gives me a sense of satisfaction that helps drive the energy for the next set of tasks.
So here are some of the things I rely on to make sure I’m happily busy instead of stressed…
Rule #1 – Love routine
Be disciplined with routines and run your life like a well-oiled machine so that you can really enjoy the moments when you break the routine. For example, dinner time in our house is regimented – menus planned in advance, food ready in the fridge, the same time every day, etc – which makes it a real treat when we spontaneously say ‘let’s eat out’. I find a structured routine both at work and at home is a real comfort to keeping things under control. Mostly a system/routine has been created because a crisis occurred at some point e.g. school uniforms put out the night before so you don’t have a mad morning panic when you work late and are tired in the morning.
Rule #2 – Learn to say yes and no
Saying yes to help is often as hard as saying no to stuff that isn’t really important and just adds to your list of things to do: but both are equally important. Always easier said than done but you know it makes sense. Understanding your priorities is a good place to start. For me, my family and the business come first, so one of the things I had to say no to was the social side of the school mums’ network. It’s not that I’m being anti-social, it’s just that it made no difference to my children and added a layer of guilt and complexity that I didn’t need. A tough call because it would be lovely to be friends with everyone, but instead of going on a mums’ night I try to see friends I already have that I don’t see enough of anyway.
Rule #3 – Keep smiling
And above all, keep a healthy sense of humour. Whether it’s a tight deadline at work or a last panic over a school play costume, my husband has taught be to remember to stand back for a moment and ask ‘what’s the worst thing that can happen?’ – it helps keep things in context. If I’ve had a difficult day, I always try to laugh about it later, there’s usually a moment when you think ‘you couldn’t make it up if you tried!’ and that helps you smile.
At the end of the day, ‘it’ is your life , so if you’re not enjoying ‘it’ then try to make some changes until you feel a bit better.