19 May 2017
In last week’s editorial Mr Tosen asked, “Are you a well being?” Unsure of the answer, I spent some time considering whether I was using the tools he listed to impact my wellbeing in a positive manner. Tool number ten was ‘work/life balance’ or having harmony between all the aspects of our life. Gasp! Is this even possible? Harmony between all aspects of our life! Is this a fairytale, a fantasy, or a possible reality? Achieving this balance is certainly the gold-standard most parents would like to think they are working towards achieving. So what are some strategies we can use to level out the see-saw of work/life balance?
I believe the key to maintaining a balance between work/school and family life is organisation. I love the idea of being organised. In fact I love it so much I while away the hours on Pinterest finding the best way to display my kids’ books, organise my pantry and alphabetise the condiments. However, back in the real world, I’m actually surrounded by fabulous friends who are already nailing this work/life balance and I think we could all benefit from sharing ideas for improving organisation.
1. Meal Planning: Don’t over think it. Make a list of 10-15 meals your family enjoys on a regular basis and rotate them through a weekly menu. This will help the family budget, minimise waste, and can also remove the stress of thinking about what to feed the family … every … single … night!
2. Create a Family Calendar/Planner: In our house it is an oversized whiteboard calendar which also displays the regular weekly activities for the kids, i.e. library day, sports day, music lessons and after-school activities. These are all listed so the kids can get into the habit of looking at the board and preparing for themselves what they will need.
3. Age-appropriate Chores (deep breath): Apparently, I’m not doing my kids any favours when I do the chores myself because I like things done a certain way; I may even be robbing them of the opportunity to practise responsibility! They may actually be able to do more than I realise. Getting your kids to empty the garbage, fold their clothes and sweep the floor, etc. may save you time, and create an atmosphere of teamwork within the home.
4. Avoid the Morning Rush: It is a great idea to have uniforms and other items required for the next day laid out the night before. Making school lunches the night before (preferably by the kids themselves) will also help minimise the screaming, ahem … I mean ‘gentle guidance’, required to get the family to exit the house on time in the morning.
If you are already doing these things (and possibly more) yet still find the balance is out, you may need to learn to say ‘no’ more often. Try to prioritise your social, volunteer and extra-curricular obligations, and only keep those that add the most value to you and your family.
How about you? What tips do you have for staying organised?
Nadine Dunne, Karen Toepfer & Georgina O’Reilly