Moms In Tech: 5 Simple Steps To Maintain A Work-Life Balance
With the dawn of technology, the line between work and your normal life has greatly been blurred. Why is that? You may ask. A lot of jobs in tech can be done from just anywhere. Yes anywhere, in the toilet, the sitting room, while eating, anytime too.
Now guess what? The device you use to chat with your beloved family, to have video calls with them, to read books for fun is the same device you use for work. You use it to receive emails from your boss, to carry out your research, to send out your messages, so what do you expect? It’s only normal that this line would be blurred.
Things are Different Now
Things are very different now from how they used to be not too long ago. Formerly, you would leave for work before 8 am and come back after 4 pm and then get into your life- properly. Who do you think this blur between work and life affects more? The man who gets up in the morning, takes his breakfast, prepares and goes off to work, comes back in the evening, watches football and goes to bed? Or the woman who wakes up early takes care of her family, goes off to her job, returns home and goes back to her kids and her responsibilities at home? Is it then strange that according to Maven working moms are 28% more likely to experience burnout than working dads? If this woman by some miracle has her office in the same house as her home would she easily be able to separate this from that? Of course not.
So now, she is hungry but the email is due in the next hour, and the laptop is only 10 seconds away, so what does she do? She postpones eating to type and send the email. It is 10 pm and she has to sleep, but her boss just called again and told her that one of the staff just fell ill and that she would now have to do the research again and have it submitted tomorrow. So what does she do? She postpones sleep and begins to do the research. Now tell me, what is work? and what is her normal life.
They have been merged almost to the point of being inseparable. However, it does not have to be like that. Let’s look at a few things that could help tech mums to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Plan your life
If you don’t plan, you will seem to never have enough time for anything. There are different methods of planning. One of the best I recommend is planning weekly. Some things are non-negotiable- eating, family time, cooking, getting your job done etc. these things have to be given priority. You first have to get them into your calendar and then other things follow. As long as you have a new activity, schedule it immediately so that you don’t forget and then get caught unawares. Include all the recurring activities in your life and any new extra for the week. You could have a list of the activities you have to perform every week.
Plan your Day
The next thing to do after planning your week is to plan your day. It is best to do this at night in preparation for the coming day, but do whatever works best for you. Plan the activities of the day and assign the approximate time it takes you to complete them based on past experiences- this means that from today you will have to take note of the things you do and how long it takes you to do them, afterwards, you apportion the specific time you would get them done.
Maintaining a consistent work time
This works best if you do not have a physical location for your job. You then have to be very strict with yourself. For example, you could decide and let everyone involved know that 9 am to 2 pm every day is your work time. At this time you attend to all work matters and people around you know this.
Of course, you may be more flexible than people who have physical job locations because that’s the advantage of working from home but you must avoid turning this blessing into a curse by ensuring you always start and finish your work between these hours. This leaves the other hours of the day free for you and your friends and family.
This entails both letting go of procrastination and building yourself a reputation for doing just what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it. This means that you don’t put off work until it becomes urgent on the time quadrant, (you can read more about this here) as this will make you produce subpar results.
Being disciplined will also make you do your work so well that your boss does not push everything else onto you or guilt-trick you into doing what you are not responsible for. For instance, if you are fond of going past the deadlines, your boss may feel justified in making you work overtime when you should not and making you do jobs that may not be yours to do in the first place if there’s a need for an extra hand. This in itself is capable of messing up your entire work-life balance.
Learning to say no
It is ok to say no to unreasonable demands of you in the workplace if they will interfere with your life and especially if you have before now done your best at work; so much so that even your boss can testify. If demands are made of you that will mess up your life and your plans you can politely disagree. This would seem fair to your boss if they have seen your passion and professionalism in doing your job, it will also save you the guilt that often comes to you from saying no to people.
People will always have their opinions and some people will not take it well if you say no to them; however, you will have to move on. At no point in your life will everyone ever agree with you so you have to learn to take it well. But to keep your side of the street clean, always ensure that you have done your best.
I know you have heard this term so much it has become cliché and you may have even forgotten exactly what it means. However, at the risk of your ire, I will go on. Self-care is something you do for yourself that may be silly (it usually is) but gives you joy for reasons you cannot explain and gets you out of the stress of being an adult.
It does not have to be as noble as reading a book, nor as useful as having a manicure. However, it can be as fruitless as counting the stars (since you can’t count them). It could be as inspiring as looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself things like “girl, you are so cute”, “I just love those lips, thank God I’m the owner” or even watching yourself dance or at least move your body (since you can’t dance). However, this could also be as serious as taking note of what you eat, taking care of your health, and creating and sticking to a healthy menu or diet.
By now I believe you are ready to start practising these tips immediately to start maintaining a work-life balance. For even more tips read 5 top skills for stay-at-home mums and how not to lose your mind as a stay-home mum. See you on the other side, when you have become stress-free and in control of your life; you are the master after all and who says ‘adulting’ has to be so hard?