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Finding the Balance between Work and Home

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 11:25am | by Helen Hoart

After several years of trying to do everything perfectly, I finally adopted this mantra:

“If it worth doing, it’s worth doing imperfectly.”

By acknowledging I couldn't be perfect in everything I was doing, I freed myself up to enjoy life much, much more.

Before adopting my “imperfect” model, I used to put off inviting friends to dinner because I didn't have the time to cook a gourmet meal.  After my revelation I realized spending time with friends was much more important than the gourmet meal.  That freed me to invite people over for potluck or pizza from the local carryout.

The same goes for my kids’ parties.  I used to knock myself out trying to create the perfect party with homemade theme cakes and homemade treats for the guests. After my revelation, a trip to the park so everyone could play soccer with birthday cake from the local bakery was fine.  The kids loved it, and I wasn't exhausted and cranky.

That’s not to say I’m advocating being sloppy or lazy in what you do.  I embrace Harriet Braiker’s quote:

"Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing."

But for me it’s important to know what the important things are that I want to be excellent at. I don’t need to be excellent at everything.

So to make sure I have balance in my life and am not stressing out over inconsequential things, I concentrate on the things that make a difference for me and do them as best as I can.

Here are some other tips for achieving more balance between work and everything else:

Schedule “me” time.  We all have so many obligations to employers, family and friends, we sometimes lose ourselves in our obligations to others.  If exercise is important but you’re still juggling young kids and a job, find a gym with childcare.  Or trade childcare with a friend, so each of you can get a little “me” time.  (And remember, exercise can help with stress levels and give you more energy.)

 Too often, women think that wanting/needing “me “time is a sign of weakness.  On the contrary, knowing that you need to recharge is a sign of a smart, strong woman.

Untether yourself from your cell phone, laptop or iPad, when it’s family time.  Kids get to see the benefit of family time with no distractions. If you’re not checking emails on your phone, you can make sure they haven’t snuck the game boy or the iPod to the table or to the park.

Delegate: remember you don’t have to do everything.  Find a dry cleaner or grocery store that delivers. Consider having a cleaning service. It may be expensive but if it frees you up to do the things that matter and will make a difference in your life, it could be just the thing to do.

Most important, don’t let yourself drown in trying to be perfect at everything you do.  Pick the things that really, really matter and then go for them with gusto.

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