Ambition! What an amazingly powerful, driving force. It can also get you into really tight spots, though. So, what do you do when your ambition drives you to balancing time between career and family and graduate school? It IS possible to achieve that balance. Read on to find out how.
- Take a day off
I know it sounds strange to tell you to take a day off when you are trying to do it all. But, a tired body lead by an exhausted mind cannot be effective and productive. So, take a day off, by yourself if at all possible, to just recover and renew. Go shopping, stay in bed late, take a long hot bath. Whatever it takes (within reason) for you to feel like your batteries have been recharged, that’s what you should do on that day. Nothing more, nothing less. Put away the books, and the mop and broom. Simply take time for yourself! You’ll be much more prodictive when you do get back to work!
- Retreat to set objectives and goals
You can schedule this as part of your day off, or simply take some time out by yourself after everyone goes to bed. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down what you see your life looking like in a year. Then, write down what would need to happen between now nad the end of that 12 month period in order for that to be a reality. Break that even further into specific actions that would need to be taken in order for those things to fall into place. Write that down. Now you have a list of goals (what you want to accomplish) and objectives (tangible, measurable things you can do to get closer to your goals)
- Make a weekly and daily schedule
Using your list of goals and objectives, create realistic, stress on realistic activities you need to complete on a weekly and daily basis in order to complete your objectives and goals. Give those activities a day and time. This is you new schedule. Post it where EVERYONE in the family can see it. Make sure to include things for all the members of the family to do. Before creating your first schedule, sit everyone down and explain that mom needs help, and that the best way they can help you is by following the schedule and doing their share. Make sure you do the same!
- Create a routine
It is a lot easier to get things done when you don’t have to stop every five minutes to think about what your next step is going to be. The worst enemy of productivity is distraction, and not having a routine in place will cause you to wonder around in circles and fall prey to every distraction imaginable. Routines can be hard to establish (it takes seven times doing the same thing over and over to establish it as a routine or habit), but they will become your best friend in the end.
- Prioritize, the right way
First of all, this is the time to remind you that you are NOT Wonder Woman. You cannot do it all. So, every morning, make it part of your routine to take fifteen minutes to “purge” your to-do list. First, decide which things you can delegate to others, like picking up the dry cleaning or buying milk. Cross those off, but make sure you tell the other person you need them to take care of that task. Then, out of what’s left, what can realistically be moved to a later date without causing greater damage or stress? Take your planner and schedule a new date of completion for those tasks. Be careful not to move an item more than twice. This is NOT an excuse to procrastinate! Out of what’s left, is there anything that can honestly be just tossed and never done? Do yourself a favor, and let them go. Whatever is left, organize into priorities. Focus on the top three to five. That is your to-do list. Do one at a time. NEVER try to multitask, you will just get confused and flustered. If time allows you to comfortably add one more task at the end of the day, do it! It will make you feel great!
- Visualize the end result
Before going to bed at night, take a minute to congratulate yourself for all you have accomplished. You deserve to know how outstanding you really are! Then, take another five minutes to visualize what you are working towards. Picture the way your lifeyou’re your family’s life will look like at the end of this process. See it all so clearly you could paint a picture of it! Sigh deeply and believe it! You CAN and you WILL do this, and will be a better person for it.
Balancing time between career and family and graduate school is no easy task, but it is doable. I was working three jobs and managing a family when I went to grad school. I survived, and so will you. Keep on going, and believe in yourself! You are doing Great!
|Marcy Amaro is the owner of http://www.GlobalMarketingClassroom.com. She is a wife, mother of two, and a former English teacher, turned internet entrepreneur.
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Author: Marcy Amaro