Need Tips on Achieving Work/life Balance

Updated on March 28, 2008
S.S. asks from San Francisco, CA
11 answers

Funny, but my HR manager asked me to co-host a seminar on Work Life Flexibility. I think she looked around, saw me laughing with some friends at work (thus, happy), realized I have 2 kids (thus, multitasker), and figured I could speak on the topic. What she doesn't know is that I am lucky to have a very supportive husband but other than that, I just take it day by day. It can be exhausting too! It's a daily struggle of making sure I have time to pick up my kids, check homework, set aside time to cuddle and read together, try to spend a few minutes alone with my husband (not always happening), and all while holding down a full time job that requires a lot out of me. I am not superwoman, I just try my hardest to make things work. This seminar is coming up and i have no idea what tips to impart (aside from prioritizing). I have no funny anecdotes to keep people from falling asleep and not all of the participants will be dealing with balancing work and kids. Some of them probably want general tips on how to balance work with...let's say training for a marathon, hanging out with friends, etc. Any ideas you can share would be most appreciated! I know there's a lot of us out there struggling to do it all. Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

I know this is really delayed but they re-scheduled the seminar to late May and so I am only now able to give you all an update. Just wanted to thank all the hardworking, multi-tasking moms out there to who gave me advice. I printed your responses out and read them out to the participants. They loved it!! Thanks again to all you mamasource moms/dads who are always a great group to look to for resources. =)

More Answers



answers from San Francisco on

First of all, where do you work and how do I get a job there?! I wish my company would put time and energy into this topic!

I write on Hubpages and have written about this topic. Not sure how helpful it will be, but you're welcome to plagiarize any/all of it! Let us know how it goes!

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Gee...can I attend this seminar when you get it figured out :)! You could hand this task back to your boss and tell them your job is so demanding that you don't have it figured out either and your first step in figuring it out is to not take on this project :) okay...maybe not...

I would not know how to make a seminar out of it but I would say key tips are...

Schedule your priorities; don’t let your priorities schedule you
Don’t take on more than you can handle
And last but not least (haaa haaa) make sure YOU is first on the priorities list
Schedule yourself into your day.

Good luck with this!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on


As someone who has been sahm and a fulltime job holder on top of being a mom. Support is the best thing you can have. ON top of that, everyone should be thinking of how to balance their lives in general. I read once that everyone should schedule every day to fulfill your spiritual, social, physical, and mental needs. The spiritual can be reading uplifting literature, meditation, prayer, etc. The social can be family, friends, meeting new people, etc. The physical could be anything from eating a healthy meal, to taking a walk, to having a good workout. The mental can be reading, taking a class, doing the daily crossword, etc.

Many of these things can be combined. I have had very spiritual experiences on walks I have taken, for example.

Lastly, schedule it and prioritize. If you do these things and have a routine, you will feel happier and so will others around you.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chico on

Hi S.,

You are a wonderful writer and communicator! I just read through you post with the greastest interest in what you were saying. Take that enthusiasm and energy with you when you speak at your seminar. People will be riveted to your words. Tell about your own experiences as you just did.

Remember the words of Mark Twain to Jack London, "Write what you know about." I would love to be a participant when you speak.

You are in my prayers,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Hi S.!
My gosh, it's yet another thing on your to-do list, getting prepared for this seminar!!
I think all working people, men and women, especially, feel the tremendous pressure now a days to perfect the "art" of balancing work and life. How the heck do you do that? Everyone is searching for tips, for advice, for the wonderful answer to happiness, because isn't that what we think we will find if we're effectively able to balance life and work? Everyone thinks that there exists out there, some magic answer and method to this balance and if we find it, BOOM, we are now happy and our lives are balanced and perfect! HA HA --what a laugh! My point is there of course, is no perfect way to balance your ever changing life and ever changing work! I think you ahould blow this myth out of the water for all the folks attending this seminar! They will be so less stressed knowing they don't have to keep searching their whole lives for some magic balance! They can just let go and be. They can realize that they already do have their own, unique way of balancing their lives. Everyone is different. Maybe you could engage them all and make them feel more a part of the whole thing by having everyone share their own personal tips and tricks for getting by everyday. I just think it's kind of sad when, because of so many demands and the ever present feeling we all have that we MUST do it ALL, and perfectly, we have to go to a seminar to learn better how! I still have to remind myself everyday that I am not perfect and I will not be able to give 100% to my kids, my husband, my self, the house, the bills, the grocery shopping, my job, the pets, the cooking, the friendships, the this and that and that and this, because no human being is capable of all that, so I don't know why we are so obsessed with achieving it! Try to convey the message to everyone that in order to be happy and enjoy our work/life balance we need to remember to just relax and know we can't have it all!! Thanks for reading my ranting and have fun at the seminar!!

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answers from San Francisco on

Of course having other people take some of the workload from you is a great idea... but not everyone can afford that, or has even the free resources at their disposal.

And there are all the answer you can read in the myriad of books available: take time for & care of you/get help where you can/ask for support/ don't take on unnecessary things/prioritize/be organized but flexible/breathe/be realistic but challenge yourself too. The list goes on.

And these are ALL good tools. I'm not saying otherwise. We all need tools in our arsenal. But I think you already hit the nail on the head: take it day by day.

I believe you try your best, and try & remember that sometimes your best is better than other times, and that sometimes your best even sucks. If you're doing your best than that's all you can ask. Like I said, sometimes your best sucks, but if could do any better you would.

I would tell people that there's no one right way to balance your life. If there were, there'd be one book & we'd all buy it. Life just doesn't work like that. There's no magic formula, that if done correctly, is going to make you say, "ah, now I have achieved balance. It will stay this way. Now I can work on something else." Life is a moving target... no, not that, cuz that implies there's some end goal to be reached. More like a journey... or whichever of the endless metaphors or similes you prefer.

Learn the tools, ask the questions, & use whatever works best for you. And just take it day by day.

Anyway, that's what I'd say, if I had to lead a seminar. Thanks for letting me blather on. Now I'd better do a little balancing, and get back to work. :-)

Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

Maybe your co-host has some good ideas. Well, you have a good start, you're a humorous writer so I think you'll manage to make it not boring.

Unfortunately, I can't give you any good tips since I don't even work full time like you do and I still am challenged with balancing it all. The only thing I can think of is pay other people to do things. (Since I don't currently work I do EVERYTHING myself - my kids don't even know what it's like to have a real haircut.)



answers from San Francisco on

We can have it all, just not at the same time.

Multitask less often.

I know it sounds counterintuitive and unproductive.

I do plenty of multitasking while working at my paid job. When I'm with my kids, I'm with my kids. I don't sneak a peek at email, voice mail etc. I was so stressed and feeling pressured because I was trying to do everything at once. Now I enjoy my family more because I decided to not try to sneak in work while tending children.

I work the equivalent of four days a week from home while being a full time mom with limited childcare.



answers from San Francisco on

My big tip. Identify the 5 things that are most important to how you want to raise your family and then find the most time effective way to achieve those things. So if you really don’t want to use disposable diapers but can’t handle the extra laundry get a diaper service. If home cooked meals are important go to one of those dinner places that helps with the prep, or cut up all your veggies on Sunday and put them in ready to use containers for the rest of the week (I keep a 1 gallon freezer bag of chopped onion in my freezer which really helps.)

I don’t have any funny anecdotes but if you want to start with a laugh ask the group if they’re looking for a way to work full time while making sure that their kids are well fed, educated, entertained and all around happy all while still having enough time to have regular romantic evenings with their spouses. Then tell them that it’s very easy to achieve by simply sending their kids to boarding school (or wishing to their fairy god-mother). Delivered right it should get a chuckle.



answers from San Francisco on

Some ideas:

You have to realize that you no longer exist, but somehow you still have to make time for yourself or you'll go insane. My alone time is a nice long hot shower on the weekends.

Learn how to scarf down a meal in 5 minutes flat.

Throw away your to do lists and allow clutter to pile up. You'll get to it eventually.


answers from San Francisco on

I think you are going to get a LOT of responses on this topic! I think no matter how well the rest of the world perceives us as balancing our work and life well, we ourselves never feel that way.

I've been trying really hard over the past 2-3 years to better balance my life. For me, the key has been getting help in areas where I need it. For instance, I have hired a cleaning lady. That saves me a good 6-7 hours on the weekends. I started going to Dream Dinners, which saves me at least an hour every night. I hired a nanny to pick up the kids from school, get them started on homework, and give them their baths. That has alleviated a lot of stress and allows me to spend time with my kids in the evenings. Additionally, I've been scheduling time in my day planner to do things for myself, such as getting in a workout. I figure, isn't taking care of my health at least as important as any of these work appointments I have?

Rather than trying to "do it all" I've realized and accepted that I can't do it all, at least not very well. I am trying to focus on doing well what I can do well, and outsourcing the rest. Some of it gets outsourced to people outside my family (such as cleaning, dinner prep, child care), and some things get outsourced to my husband (half of the grocery shopping, dry cleaning drop-off and pick-up, driving the carpool to ballet class sometimes). It's amazing how much more I am enjoying my job and my family now that I am not trying to do every darned thing myself!! Also with being able to focus on what I do well, I feel like I am a lot more productive, vs. my old method of doing a tiny bit of everything but not very well.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's responses to this topic. I know I still have a lot of room for improvement in this area!

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