Our first-ever SpitfireMom Jennifer Berson has had quite the year. From launching her new website, taking LinkedIn and Instagram by storm, she’s also raising 2 boys, 5 and under. So when we asked to share her sanity saving tips, she had a lot to say. With the school year upon us, I thought now was the perfect time to post again!
If I had a dollar for every time I answered “busy” when people asked me how I was doing, I could retire and wouldn’t have to be so busy! I don’t enjoy having that as my go-to answer, but there’s no better word to sum up the controlled chaos that goes along with being a mom and an entrepreneur. This job certainly has its challenges, but if you manage your time well and enlist some help from your “team,” you can stay sane and thrive in both your business and motherhood. I swear, it is possible…Here’s my 7 sanity saving go-to tips for getting it done!
Stay Sane Tip #1
Make Your To-Do List Work for YOU
At the end of your day, after the kids are in bed, take 10 minutes to make a list of everything you need to do the following day. Here’s the important part: Don’t just list all of your to-dos related to running your house and business smoothly, like picking up groceries or returning emails. I want you to also think about 3 small tasks you can do the next day to move your business forward. The goal here is to be proactive, not just reactive. If you simply work from your email inbox all day everyday, you’re never going to further your own professional goals. Think about the big, end goal you’d like to achieve, and chunk it down into smaller tasks you can do every day to get closer to attaining that goal. Add 2-3 of these smaller, manageable tasks to your To-Do list every night for the following day, and I promise you will be closer to achieving your big professional goals before you know it!
Stay Sane Tip #2
Manage Your Mindset
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you don’t have enough, or aren’t giving enough to every area of your life. Change your mindset to “I can do this. I have everything I need to make it happen.”
Some people may truly feel balanced in their work and personal lives, but I honestly don’t know too many. I made a career switch eight years ago from law to PR, hoping to ultimately have more balance in my life and for the chance to spend time with my kids when I ultimately became a mom. While it’s never easy to get everything done, and I find myself working hard all of the time, I do feel that I have found more of the balance I was seeking and am very lucky to have a career where I’m still able to be part of my young children’s lives. But I realize that things are generally not perfectly balanced, and I try hard to be ok with that. Sometimes work will be more demanding, and other times the pendulum will swing the other way, and family becomes the priority. The goal should not be “balance,” but instead you should always try your best to be focused on whatever task you are working on at that moment. Say “no” strategically and try not to allow the angst or guilt weigh you down. Change your perspective on what balance means, and instead seek happiness and celebrate the peaks and valleys, as they are all opportunities to learn. Appreciate the unique position you are in as a working mom to get the best of both worlds.
Stay Sane Tip #3
Set boundaries for home and work, and then stick to them. Also, don’t feel the need to apologize for the boundaries you set. For example, my workday ends at 6 p.m. when our nanny leaves. From then until 8 p.m., I am with my kids, cooking and eating dinner, giving baths and finally tucking them in for bedtime. During this time, work takes a backseat while I am focused on family. After the kids are down, I can check back in on any unfinished tasks for the day, wrap-up emails and make my to-do list for the next day (See Tip #1). My clients understand the schedule I have set and know that I’m focused on family between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m. Most people will respect the boundaries you set if you get your work done. Most won’t even notice.
Stay Sane Tip #4
Make Naptime Your Power Hour
Instead of doing the housework while your kids are napping, use this time to move your business ahead. Make calls, send emails, map out what you want your business to be. It will be a more productive use of your precious daytime hours to really focus on moving your business (and your dreams) forward. The housework can wait until the kids are down for the evening.
Stay Sane Tip #5
Get Positive People on Your Team
Look to your partner, friends and family to support you. You need cheerleaders and you need resources. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want. And remember that it’s important for you to share how big your vision is. Your business is not just a side hobby. When you share your passion, people will naturally want to help. Pull together a solid team and get people on board with your vision.
Stay Sane Tip #6
Follow the 2 Minute Rule
Think to yourself, “Is this something will take me less than two minutes to complete?” If so, just do it and move on. Don’t schedule it, don’t put it off for later – do it right now. Hang up your coat, sort the mail, file those receipts and/or make that appointment. Now it’s done. The more small tasks that pile up, the more clutter and the more wasted time you’ll experience. Trust me, just taking care of these simple tasks will make your personal and professional life so much easier.
Stay Sane Tip #7
Make Time for Yourself
I mean it! Claim your “Mommy Time.” I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but consider this a friendly reminder to make it a priority to rest & relax, and take care of you. Schedule some me-time, whether it’s a workout, a night out with the girls, an hour for a manicure. You may think you don’t have time to do it, but it’s important to make the time and ask for support with your kids in order to get out once in a while. Make time to reconnect with what you enjoyed doing before children. Remember, you are the glue holding your family together, so everything will run more smoothly when mommy is relaxed, recharged and refreshed. An hour to yourself here and there has magical healing powers! Both your family and your business will benefit from a recharged, refreshed you.
This story first appeared on June 15, 2014