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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bringing order and balance to your chaotic life….By Jennifer Olney

I'm honored to be asked to write a guest blog by Yomar Lopez on bringing order and balance to our daily chaos or as we call it, life. Thanks to Yomar for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Our days run 24/7….and if you are like me; you have combined your world with a family to raise…a home to keep together, and a host of other commitments to husband, extended family. Even less will get done on those days that the kids are sick or a client has a crisis that brings the world to crashing halt.  I’m reminded of that famous commercial back in the 70’s for Enjoli perfume “I can bring home the bacon…fry up it up in pan… I’m a woman, yada yada yada…but let’s get real. We can’t do it all. Something is going to slide off the plate and the last thing we want to do it let someone down. So how do we keep the balance?  Here are a few things that might help you….they have helped me to keep the sanity in my life.

First off…A plan:  You need a road map. Any good leader has a plan of attack; otherwise, you will get off track fast.  I would suggest start with the priority….your family. Focus on how to keep the home in place and running like a well oiled machine. It’s the foundation for who we are and our base of operation for our lives. If your house is in order, everything else can fall into place.  Think of these questions – Why am I working? How can make the most of the time with my family, my spouse? What is my ideal lifestyle?  How do I want to look back on my life and know what really matter most?

There is No “I” in Team:  You have a team in both your family and your work life.  You’re the coach of these clubs.  Create a plan that invites their input and be clear about their roles on the team.  Communicate the plan to everyone on the team, and ensure they know the goals of the plan.  It’s important to put your plan into practice and collaborate with your teams to allow all their talents to be used to help the cause.

Manage the Chaos:  Fear not…the schedule is our friend. To keep the peace and manage the hurricane winds that blow in our lives, we must maintain a schedule. We are true creatures of habit and in so we must love to have a record of our events in our lives. To be truly effective, both work and family teams need a schedule that promotes balance. Using methods that work for both – visual, online calendars, whatever method that is easy to implement, use it and keep it accurate.  Maintain a healthy balance of activities and don’t overload the schedule – priority is key to maintaining your sanity and everyone’s as one.

Pop a Squat and Let’s Meet: I find that meeting with the family team is a great way to keep everyone on track. And a great way to do that….family dinner. There is nothing like getting everyone around the dinner table to break bread, catch up on the events of the day and use this time to really check in with all parties.  We reconnect, recharge and give ourselves the connection we need to keep ourselves a family team.

Boundaries…know your place:  This is a tough one, especially if you are like me and have a home office. It’s so hard to pull yourself away from the home office….when it’s well….at a home. You have to have the boundaries and the ability to know how to separate the two areas.  I have a method to the madness. I have keep office hours to generally 9am – 5pm. During the school year, it’s great that my son is in school part of the day and that really gives the time to work without interruption….but summer is another matter. I try to divide my day and be fortunate to have clients who have been with me for many years to know that I have to make “Kiddo” breaks in my day to ensure we have our time as well. I also enlist family and friends to come in and help out.  There are also camps, clinics that break up the day as well. On weekends, I use the time to keep it to dull roar. I maintain a schedule that works for me. The main idea is to know your balance of your own family and clients. And don’t move your boundary line….once you do…you won’t get it back.

As I have progressed through the work/home balance, I have discovered that I have had hits and misses, with any process; you realize that nothing is perfect. The main thing is to never give up. Know what you prioritize in your world and keep that in check. I’ve been blessed with an outstanding supportive husband and my VP of Creativity…AKA…my son, Nick. I have worked hard to keep my world in check and having a great team is definitely the best way to not lose your sanity in the process. Always keep in mind as well…no one ever succeeded without having fun too, it’s important to remember that you can be your best when you add a dash of fun to your world.

1 comment:

Yomar said...

Jen, since you originally posted this article here on The Practical Life, I have struggled to find the right words to say to really add value to what you wrote here.. You've said so many good things and I don't know where to start!

I will say this: getting friends and family involved in "what you do" is great because it helps them appreciate your work and value your time. It can also lead to referrals and collaboration opportunities. Last but not least, it's a great way to really make those boundaries much clearer.

The important thing to note here is that, even with an awesome plan and fantastic organizational skills, you have to expect distractions and adversity to strike. I like to budget some time to deal with the chaos so that I can always get back on-track with my timelines.

Needless to say, if you have a busy household and many things vying for your attention, it is easier said than done. I like to think of it as a constant work in progress. Just do a little bit every day so you don't go crazy.

I love that you tied in the essence of our blog here. Work-life balance, working from home, family-first business.. It's all there. You're amazing and I can't wait for your next piece!

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