Creating Boundaries to Maintain a Sustainable Cadence of Life
Guest post by Jen Panaro:
Isn't the world of parenthood totally crazy?! Having children opens our eyes to so many unexpected twists and turns, a whole new set of priorities, and another human (or two or three or four..) for whom we become entirely responsible. No longer is our own agenda our only agenda.
In my experience, it can be easy to fall into a habit of always putting other's needs first, especially when they are those of people important to us like our kids, our spouses, our families, and our colleagues. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and those kids or our coworkers or our family are often sending louder requests for our time than we call for ourselves.
While I'm far from perfect at managing all of the competing demands on my time, I have found that it's really important to set boundaries about time for myself, time for my family, and time for work. Being conscious about how certain pockets of my day and week are allocated helps prevent a fairly intertwined existence between work and personal lives from getting jumbled up into an incomprehensible mess.
Let me share a few tangible examples of small changes I've made to help develop physical and mental boundaries so no single component of my life overruns everything else.
In my company, we often use access to each other's calendars to more efficiently schedule meetings. It's far easier than shooting a half dozen emails back and forth to find a time that works for everyone involved.
Because I drop off and pick up my boys from school each day, I've blocked off 8 - 9:30 am and 5 - 6:30 pm on my calendar with daily recurring appointments. My company has offices across the country, and I work with colleagues in various time zones, so it's not always entirely clear to others that certain times may be before or after standard business hours in their location.
As needed, I take calls or schedule meetings during these times when it makes sense. But having the daily appointments blocking off this time helps ensure that others don't schedule unexpected meetings or calls during these already difficult transition periods of my day. Further, I'm at my desk before 9:30 and don't leave until after 5:00, but these blocked time periods also offer a buffer so I can get accomplish a few of my own tasks in the morning and wrap up my day in the evening before shooting off to school.
Email On My Phone
The email icon for my work email used to sit on the first page of apps on my phone. About a year ago, I moved the work email icon to the second page of my apps and turned off push notifications for new emails. Instead of my phone reminding me when new emails come in, I only check emails on my phone when I have a reason to hunt them down. I almost never check my work emails mindlessly.
Leaving my work emails alone after hours certainly creates a boundary for me. But it has the added benefit of helping me to manage email better. When I check emails on my phone, they seem to get "lost in the shuffle" more often, so it's best just to leave them be until I have a chance to sit at my computer and do something about them while I read through them.
Turn Off My Computer
I work primarily from home, so it can be easy to drag my laptop around the house and always be checking email. At the end of the day, I do my best (when I can) to turn off my computer and keep it tucked away in my office when I'm spending time with my family. It seems small, but having to turn on my computer makes me far less likely to peek at and respond to a miscellaneous email as I pass by when I should be focusing on my family.
I still struggle to find the right balance between work and my family (and even a bit of time for myself). Often times I feel like it's not necessarily a struggle to find the right balance but more to accept that I don't have time for everything I want to do and need to slim down my list of commitments. In either case, creating a few simple tangible barriers between work and family, like blocked off time on my calendar or the turning off my computer makes it a little easier to compartmentalize different components of life and more mindfully focus on the commitment at hand.
For a few other ideas every #MomBoss might appreciate, check out 5 Easy Ways to Simplify Life By Leveraging Technology, Awesome Podcast Episodes for Every #MomBoss, and 10 Ways to Find More Time To Read With Children.
Jen is the founder and editor of Honestly Modern, an online space where ethical and minimalist meet mainstream for modern moms. She has a passion for creative dabbling and strategic thinking that she’s squeezed in between family, a corporate career, and an occasional barre class. With life full of choices and trade-offs, Jen offers ideas and solutions to help modern moms find balance and a socially conscious cadence among the opportunities and obstacles of everyday life.
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