Today we’re going to talk about all the life balance tips! We’ll talk about the daily routines that did and did not work for me last year while running a business trying to make a little money, trying to keep up with the house, trying to keep up with the kids and their schedule, plus take care of myself and have some kind of social life! The hope is that maybe you can learn a little bit from my mistakes and from my wins this past year!
There were quite a few things that I realized, “Oh shoot I probably am not going to want to do that again!” I’m going to be talking about some of the things in my daily routines that had just slipped under my radar until I sat down to do this review and to really take a look at what my year looked like. I’m excited to share that with you. Figuring out my life balance tips took reflection on the positives and the negatives.
I’m also excited to share the things that worked really well! These life balance tips come from my process of reflecting and seeing the systems that worked! I want you to take this process to help balance your life too! What do you say let’s get started so that you can move forward into your new year confident in what doesn’t work so well and what works really well for those of us that are juggling all the things!
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Starting The Year Off Balance
I kicked off my brand new year in a much different way than I expected! The last week of 2022 was on complete and utter pause and hold. We had quite a bit of sickness run through my family and extended family. I have a lot of gratitude for my ability to care for people. I have the flexibility and a really big heart. I want to be able to give my time and my ability to care for people as much and as often as I can. I know that that is probably something that you experience on a regular basis. Life balance tips go out the window when you drop everything to take care of the people around you.
Over the last week, I literally didn’t touch my laptop-not even one time! I barely touched my cell phone, and I took care of people, and I took care of myself as much as I could in the process and so that means for the first time in three years I missed recording a podcast episode.
What a humbling experience it is whenever all of your plans go out the window, right? We talk about that here in the blog often. What it looks like to be in survival mode, and I love how systems support me. I love how they’ve been able to support so many of you and the community and so we are getting back in the swing of things.
It’s OK When Things Don’t Always Go As Planned
I know that I am starting off the year with a few things not quite in the places where I wanted them to end. So if you are feeling that as well: a word of encouragement to you from me that all things in good time will pan out. They will play out the way that they’re supposed to, and I feel really strongly about that. While we’re talking about how things are supposed to pan out, let’s look at what this past year actually looked like, and I will give you my top life balance tips for the upcoming year.
Learning From What Wasn’t Working
As I was reflecting on this past year, what I found most interesting were all of the things that didn’t work! There were things in my daily routines that were just not working for me. What routines made it so much harder for me to keep the house clean, and communicate my feelings and my needs to my husband? What made it really hard to actually sit down and get some stinking work done, and what made it hard for me to connect with my kids? What were the things that really made it hard for me to get to the gym, and to eat the way they wanted to eat? I always want to look at that kind of data and that kind of information, and I want you to be able to look at those things in your life too.
Using My Experiences to Help You
When you go through this process, my hope is that you use this information to really help guide you. You can know that whenever you come up against things that maybe are similar, it’s as if someone has gone before you, and now you have the opportunity to say, “you know what this could work for me.” It’s always nice to hear from another person. That’s how we learn. We learn by listening to other people’s stories. We learn by sharing our stories, and that’s what’s so great about having a blog!
“My hope is that you use my wins and struggles to help guide you. It’s always nice to hear another person’s experiences. That’s how we learn. We learn by listening to other people’s stories. We learn by sharing our stories.”
Life Balance Tips: What Did Not Work
So what did not work? What doesn’t work is summarized in two things- not succeeding at home and business. Succeeding at home and business looks like truly having time for my home which is the actual house cleaning, the kids, and my husband. Then running a business and making money. Those two things both require me to be in two different spaces, two different compartments in my brain with totally different bandwidths, and so I want to be able to show up to both of them really really well.
# 1 Working Late at Night
The one thing that made it incredibly hard for me to show up to either of those two things really well was working late at night. I have a unique opportunity, and I know so many women that do this. I’ll just stay up late because it’s when the kids are in bed. I did it a lot. I did it far too many times, and I’m pretty much done with it at this point.
Every single time I did it it was just a darn poop shoot the next day! I’m tired, I’m cranky. Sure, I got six hours of uninterrupted work or four hours of uninterrupted work, but going to bed at eleven o’clock or midnight is not conducive for me to do what I want to do the next day. I can’t focus. I can’t function. Anything else that I wanted to accomplish that next day is just gone out the window
My situation just lends itself to having the opportunity because there are some days of the week our oldest daughter is with her biological dad, and then our youngest goes to bed super early and my husband is at the fire station, so I’m like literally home alone with no one and nothing. It’s like why not work? But one of my best life balance tips is that working late at night interferes with everything you’re trying to accomplish.
#2 Last Minute Work in My Business
Not being prepared and not having a plan did not work for me this year. I did a blog on what happened when I got rid of my workflow. I have a full operating system that I run my business, and it allows me to show up and know exactly what to do. Even further than that, not having things planned out in advance and just winging it doesn’t work.
Winging what I’m putting on the podcast, winging what I’m putting out on social. There is this notion out there that you can just kind of put anything together in your business. Maybe do it because we fly by the seat of our pants, or because our business always comes last, or because we have so many other things that are literally burning down in front of us.
I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that when you’re new and you’re learning it’s just what happens. There are just certain things that you can’t foresee. At this point, I just was like okay I’ve learned what I need to learn. This is not working for me now. Now there’s a little bit of support, and help, and I have other people working with me. It doesn’t work for them to not follow a plan either.
#3 Not Planning Meals
Another thing that did not work in my home was not planning our family meals. I have a system for this, but I just have to reiterate that it really doesn’t work to not follow the system. It doesn’t work for me more than anybody when I don’t plan meals every week. That’s still going to be a hard fast fundamental need for me every week.
#4 Getting Behind on Laundry
The next thing that did not work was getting behind on laundry. This really does not work for me. I have a laundry system that I love, and as soon as my little teeny tiny basket fills up, I grab the basket, wash it dry it, and then put it away. There’s just no putting it off. The discipline for that has to be there.
#5 Fewer Date Nights
The other thing that we have struggled with this year is fewer date nights. I don’t really know why to be honest. I think our at-home dates got a little relaxed with what was actually considered a date and what was considered lounging while exhausted. The formality of date night has slipped a few extra times, and I miss them. Blaine and I have had some conversations on what that’s going to mean and how to have the discipline to put those in place the way that we used to.
# 6 Less Time Outside
Less time outside was not working for me and for the whole family. You all know that I’ve had the Great 8 Fundamental Needs for a long time. You can actually learn all about my Great Eight Fundamental Needs inside my Time Management Workshop. It’s about 30 minutes long you will learn everything about them and why do them.
Blaine and I actually said we want to shift this to nine because we wanted to put in an additional fundamental need to be outside every day. What ended up happening is we just tried to set the precedent that the family fun fundamental need would take place outside so that we wouldn’t have to shift to Fine Nine.
This year we talked about it again, and I feel really really committed to the fact that we want to do an outside challenge such as “1000 Hours Outside.” The creator has these free downloadable sheets and it’s just like this incredible inspiration to get your kids outside. She has these beautiful little challenges where you can color in every single time you spend ten hours or an hour outside. There are all different kinds of charts that you can use and so already here you try and reach 1000 hours outside which is actually a lot for our family so we’re just going to challenge ourselves to 500 hours this year.
This is something that is so important to Blaine and me because we actually grew up spending most of our time outdoors. I think probably a lot of us in this generation did, and it’s really lacking for our children so that’s something that we are looking for a huge shift in this year.
#7 Work Blocks With Kids At Home
Last but not least what I want to share with you that did not work for me at all was work blocks with my kids at home. I won’t say that this won’t work for everyone and I think this is just a season it’s something that I was feeling really hard right now because I’ve always had a work block with my kids at home. I didn’t have a choice, and you probably won’t have a choice either. Let me explain what I mean when I say this a little bit.
How you do work blocks with kids at home looks different for everybody. For me, we’ve chosen to put our kids in mainstream education. That means that they were gone for a lot of hours of the day, and there were times when I still was working after they got home. That just wasn’t working for me anymore. I didn’t want to do that. There’s nothing wrong with it. I just felt really called to stop working when they are home.
It’s always been a loose goal, but as of late, the actual mental distraction that it causes when my kids are home after they’ve been gone all day and I’ve been able to focus. Now that I know what a focused work block feels like versus what it feels like to work when they come running in and out. Obviously, there are times when this has to happen, but it’s actually not really all that productive for me anyway.
Late in the year, I say probably around October, I started shifting into this where I just was not working. That’s another reason why I was staying up late sometimes working when they were asleep because there are times when I just don’t get the work done either they’re not in school or Blaine and I play all day long.
This Looks Different in Different Seasons of Life
The truth of the matter is, I’m being really open and honest with what this looks like in my life. I’m juggling a business that is growing, and I have a family that’s growing. My kids are growing. We’re going to be moving soon. Recognizing these changing seasons is one of my top life balance tips.
I see you trying to find your hiding place so that you can get your work done. And I see all of the women that are in my program, and what they’re doing and what they’re juggling, and I see you. I feel this, and there’s no reason why we can’t be successful. Right now I’ve got to shift a few things that were not working for me last year. My kids are five and ten. This is what this looks like for me right now
It was very different when they were younger. I thought about how I’d be able to work more when they’re home and they’re older. The truth of the matter is that it’s not necessarily gotten easier to do that. I can work when they’re home. Absolutely I can. It’s so much easier than it was before. They will leave me alone if I have to get work done, but I don’t always want to. Because they’re older and they’re independent, and I have my own time, I don’t want to work whenever they’re home anymore. I would rather spend that time with them.
Those are some of the things that did not work for me this past year, and you’ll be able to see some of those shifts that happened from the outside. There definitely will be some changes made to make sure that those things that didn’t work don’t get repeated this year.
Life Balance Tips: What Did Work
This is where I get to share with you how awesome things were this year because there are two sides to every coin! There were some really fantastic things that happened in the past year that I do want to continue. I do want to see the great things continue to be great, or the good things become great! If you want life balance tips read about some of my wins from the past year.
#1 Working Outside the House
First of all working outside of the house has been a massive game-changer for me. I still have my little space at home, and when we move I will have an office. I also have a co-working space, and I love the coffee shop- just any coffee shop! Getting out of the house is such a game-changer. I cannot begin to describe how much more productive and focused I am when I’m not at home. So I’m going to keep juggling what that looks like for me, and how often I’ll be working from the house versus outside of the house and going somewhere else.
#2 Hard and Fast Bedtime Routines
The next thing that works really well (that always works really well) are hard and fast bedtime routines for the whole family! If you get anything from this blog make sure you have bedtime routines 5-6 or even 7 nights out of the week for all of your kiddos, and yourself obviously! I can see that I know that this works because I know what it happens when the bedtime doesn’t happen, and I don’t want that to continue to get in my way, or continue to cause unproductive days.
It’s completely within my control to get dinner on the table at the right time, and get everyone bathed, and get everyone to bed, then do my nighttime routine, and get myself to bed. That is 100% within my control most of the time and so that is what we’re going to keep working on.
#3 Letting Go of My Own Timing
This has been a hard one, and I don’t know when this became apparent to me, but one of the things that worked really well last year was letting go of my own timing. As a one on the Enneagram, and recovering perfectionist it does eat it me up every now and then. But for the most part, I have completely let go of my own timing for things. I work really hard to reach goals and discipline is one of my company values. It’s one of my parenting values, and its just one of my overall values. However, the timing of things is not something that I can always first see and control.
I can’t always tell what mood my kids are going to be in, what my husband’s going to need when he gets off of shift or, even what our marriage needs. Maybe we might need to connect more and I had to work block planned. There are just certain things that I’ve decided to let go up and not be such a stickler on. Because of the fact that I have systems set up and place, I don’t have a ton of anxiety about it. It’s really served me well.
#4 My Operating System for My Business
The next thing (this might be my favorite one) is my operating system for my business. I’m telling you this works so unbelievably it will knock your socks off! It’s an actual game-changer. It will literally and it has changed my life, and has changed many people’s lives.
I run every single part of my business with one operating system and I know every single thing that needs to get done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually for my business. I don’t lose any sleep at night about it, and I don’t lose any time trying to figure out what to do. It’s possible for me to just down and it tells me what to do, I do it and I move on. It just works it works. I live and breathe by this thing. It is amazing.
#5 Time Blocks For My Home
Next on the list are my time blocks. My five time block method is absolutely still working for me through and through. Actually there it’s just getting better. It gets better by the month, and it gets better by the year. My husband gets more on board, my kids are beginning to understand how this rhythm is. I am almost becoming one with the thing! It’s weird but it just gets better and better working for me in my life.
If you’re not doing it yet, please do it! My five block method you can find more about here in the time blocking workbook or watch it in the workshop. It’s time for you to do the things that I know work really well. Take it from me. I can’t even tell you how well they serve me and my family.
Here’s another thing that has worked so well for me this past year. It was networking. I love being social, but I’m not super social. I love to learn, I love to listen, and I do like to talk, but I you know I’m not like I used to be super social. Something weird happened (maybe that just happens when we get older) but I put myself out there in a lot of different places recently.
I spoke on multiple stages in front of crowds of people that I’d never met in my life. Gave hugs to people that listen to the podcast, but never met before in my life. I network on Instagram DM’s. I networked in Facebook communities, and in high-level and low-level masterminds. My mind is blown. When it comes to your business growing your network and networking has been the biggest game changer! I’ve actually really been loving it I’ve been loving it so much and I will continue to do it this next year.
#7 Being Flexible
The last two things that I want to talk about are intangible but very valuable. The first is being flexible. This has served me really well. As I already explained the last month of this year definitely reminded me that I need to be flexible. I’m walking into a brand new year with none of my year-end work done. It’s not something that would make me feel really great, but you know what? It’s OK.
Sometimes you just have to be flexible. So we thought we would have the laundry put away today or we did it, great! What else were we going to do this and what do we need to move out to make it happen? Being flexible works really well. I’ve been a stick in the mud at times in my life because sometimes being rigid makes me feel safe. I will just put it like that, but being flexible is way more fun!
The times when I’ve been able to be flexible have served me well. Those are the times when the parts of my personality really come out and shine. I feel the most joy. That leads me to my final lesson from this year.
#8 Enjoying Each Moment
The very last point I want to make is how important it is to enjoy each moment. Focusing on what is at hand. Wherever you are, be all-in. Put your stupid cell phone away. Stop binging Netflix all the time. Get out from behind the screens and just enjoy the moment that you’re in!
If you’re cooking, cook. When you’re reading, read. While you’re working, work. Just be where you are and enjoy that moment. You don’t have to be doing fifteen things at once. It may not feel like you’re doing a lot when you’re only focused on one thing. But when you look up and look around, you realize that you got a lot more done in a much shorter amount of time.
That is my really short and sweet straight-to-the-point recap for the past year. Hopefully you’ve gained some life balance tips from my wins and struggles. There’s a lot that I’ve learned about what didn’t work as a full-time entrepreneur, working from home (sometimes working from a coffee shop). Hopefully, you’ve learned a few things from my mistakes and you’re able to grow from my wins. I’m really looking forward to spending the entire next year right here with you!
Do you want to connect with me and a whole community of women? Join us in my Facebook Group! Ready to reduce overwhelm and find more time in your day? Our Facebook group is full of life balance tips from other women in the thick of life! This community is can help you transform your chaos into confidence, so you can manage your motherhood and business. All while balancing it all!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I add systems like time blocking to my daily routine?
I have so many resources for managing your schedule to make sure the systems in place are serving you. The best place to start is my FREE Time Blocking Workbook. In the Time Blocking workbook, you can learn the basics of time blocking for work-from-home moms, build the right time blocks for your schedule, and practice your first try at time blocking on paper! Stay strong mama, we’re all rooting for you!