Everywhere you look, you can see stories and images of those that supposedly ‘have it all’. We’re going to debunk this myth once and for all and give you practical tips to help you balance personal and professional life.

How to balance personal and professional life
Photo by Surface on Unsplash

Ah…. that darling image of a mama coming home from work, rushing straight to her children delighted to see them, then cooking up the most scrumptious of meals for her little munchkins while they sit quietly playing.

Okay, you can spit out your coffee now.

No said image actually exists, let’s be real. The odd moment now and then, granted.

 However, expecting every day to be rainbows and unicorns with everything on your to-do list, is unreal.

1) Minimize

If I could state the number one thing that has helped me juggle it all a little bit easier, it’s been having less stuff.

Fewer heaps of clothes, fewer toys scattered everywhere – even fewer items of food to choose from. I dare you to open your fridge right now, for example, and tell me how many things you’re going to use in there. How many yoghurts do you have hiding in there? And what about those leftovers you said you’d heat up and somehow forgot about?

I mean, I know it’s not just me. 

A whole lot of exhaustion derives from a very real mental state named decision fatigue. 

What is decision fatigue?

I hear you ask. Well, as in the title, it’s the sheer fatigue of constantly making decisions for the entire family. Although it does help if you share the mental load, it can still be something that can weigh you down from day to day. 

Have you noticed that if you go anywhere without kids it takes 5 minutes to head out the door, followed by a massive sigh of relief when you get in the car? That’s because it’s second nature. You don’t have to think about every single item possible needed for even the shortest of trips.

So the concept I’m sharing is less stuff = fewer decisions to make surrounding said ‘stuff’.

2) Eliminate distractions

In the same way, if you want to find more balance in your life, you’re going to have to get more firm in your boundaries if you spend all your free time scrolling through social media.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good mindless scroll – but there’s a time and a place.

Our phones, computers and televisions were all made not only to entertain us, but also to distract us from the current reality. It therefore makes sense that if you cut down on external stimuli in your own life too, you will be able to gain clarity and more energy as a result.

The same goes for people or situations that no longer serve you, anything that leaves you drained. It’s got to go.

Write a list down of everything you do in a week, then notice where your energy is going. Is it for your future self and your wellbeing? 

Also read: How to Become more Intentional with Your Time and Why It’s Important

3) Identify your priorities

Once you’ve eliminated the energy drainers, you’re halfway there really. All you need to do is determine what you now want to KEEP in your life.

To do so, you can focus on your values and belief system – what do you want to live by?

For example, if for me one of my core values was say, love, then I would purposely seek out and nurture healthy, loving relationships with those around me as well as cultivating it for myself.

Sometimes this may look like staying in doing something you enjoy instead of going to a party you’re not really feeling but you feel obliged to be at.

Sometimes it might look more like going out because it’s been ages since you’ve had a kid free night and you need to let off some steam.

Using the right amount of intuition and discernment, you can determine what’s best for you.

Which brings me onto my next point…

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

4) Follow your pleasure

…I don’t mean in a purely hedonistic, egotistical way. I mean diving deep into what lights you up. Learning what your purpose is right now and how you can best follow it.

We often associate pleasure with extreme moments of euphoria, which while true, helps us avoid finding the little joys in the mundane. 

YES it can be fun to wash the dishes. YES cooking can be an intimate ritual. YES reading the bedtime story (albeit exhausted) can be sweet. We just have to look for it.

For me, pleasure begins within the body. When we connect with how we feel, what parts of our limbs and muscles need attention, how we’re breathing, we can gather a great deal of information.

Having check in moments throughout the day can help bring you back into the body and release tension.

5) Make a little sacrifice

Or if the word resonates with you more…compromise. What I mean is, sometimes in order to feel rested we need a good night’s sleep (rather than binging Netflix until the early hours) which I know is hard to do with kids and I’ve been there many a time getting in a revenge bedtime.

It might be an early bedtime, it might mean going the extra mile when you’re exhausted in the evening and laying out the next day’s clothes for the kids to save the school rush stress – you will know what it means for you.

I know that it’s hard when you’re stuck in the exhaustion wheel of infinite washing, little sleep and toys everywhere. You’re too tired to tidy, when you do tidy it gets messy quickly and so it goes. I do think though, that by installing little routines throughout the day – a quick pick up, 10 minutes to do the dishes, etc can be of great help to motivate yourself through it.

That you tomorrow will be grateful.

How about you, what do you struggle with the most? I’d love to hear.