In this month's column, Giovanna talks about how she juggles her work and home life...
How do I manage the juggle? I don’t.
Well, that was a short column this month… thanks for reading. Ha!
In all seriousness, over the last few years, the conversation around juggling work and home life so that they’re beautifully balanced has increased. It’s a topic that continuously pops up.
We’re all searching for a way to stop the push and pull that comes with trying to provide for our family but also be there at the same time.
I often find myself wondering whether it’s actually obtainable at all – although I doubt any of us will stop trying to achieve equilibrium.
Here are a few things I try to do in an attempt to stay on top of things and keep all the balls bouncing in the air:
First things first, we have to realise that no matter what we focus on that day there will be guilt for what we’re not doing.
Hopefully, by accepting this as fact, it won’t haunt you quite so much.
Remember, plans can be cancelled or rearranged.
When Emma Freud was on my podcast she shared that even though her children are now teenagers (and older), every Sunday she looks in her diary at the week ahead and doesn’t stress about taking things out if it seems too much and totally off balance.
Prioritise and be at peace with your decisions. My children come first – always, but, when I am on deadline I can become quite stressed and tetchy until the work is complete and sent in.
In those circumstances I know it’s best for the children if they go and spend the day out with grandparents, rather than spending the day with me where I’m feeling anxious and on edge.
That way the work gets done is sent in, and then I’m back in full on nurturing and tranquil mother mode quicker . . . or, at the very least, they know they have the whole of me.
Compartmentalise. I do not like thinking about work stuff until I’m sitting at my desk, and am currently trying to stop blurring the lines about which mode I’m in.
This isn’t the easiest thing to do when emails and notifications ping up on my phone throughout the day, but I have found it’s important to choose what I allow into my day.
Instead of work-related stuff dripping into my family time, I’ll set aside an hour when they’re in bed to tackle it all before I start getting actual work done.
Organisation is everything.
This covers everything from knowing what the kids need for school the following day to having uniform laid out the night before and organising who is doing the school runs.
The day starts in a much calmer way if I’m not needed to spend ten minutes finding clean P.E. shorts or locating an appropriate ‘show and tell’ item.
Make a to-do list and enjoy crossing things off.
Whether it’s the next chapter of a book I’m working on, researching, interview planning, writing columns, or spending some creative time on a new idea – if it’s on the list I will find time to do it.
Plus, it’s hugely satisfying crossing something off and knowing I’ve achieved something I set out to.
Run. I know, I know. You’re super busy already with your juggle and I’m adding something else in.
However, I’ve been running three times a week for the last two months and have found something wonderful in being outdoors on my own away from the noise of life.
The endorphin rush that comes when you finish is what gets me out there.
And a top tip – if you can, go out when you know you’ll be coming back to a quiet house, like when the children are in bed or out at school.
Not jumping straight back into family chaos helps the buzz last a little longer.
The Giovanna Fletcher Column: "Running makes me a better mum!"
The Giovanna Fletcher Column: "8 smart hacks I've learned since becoming a mum!"
How do you juggle your work and home lives? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
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