A lot of people ask me how I do it - mom, wife, executive, blogger (all around badass...). My usual answer is "Caffeine and denial" (mainly true). Other times, I explain that I just don't sleep (also true). Or I'll say that I just keep running until I have a mental breakdown - roughly every 6 weeks or so (really true).
The honest answer is that I've learned a few tricks that help to keep me going - and keep me focused on the things that I really WANT to do. I do not believe that we can do it all. But by following a few simple tricks, you can do all that YOU want to do:
- Embrace imperfection - As a recovering perfectionist, this is one of the hardest rules for me, but one of the most important. I've learned to embrace "good enough" and realized that my 60% is often more than most folks' 110%.
- Stop doing stuff that you don't like - I used to try to do everything: join the PTA, throw dinner parties, keep up with current events, attend networking events. While there are many things that I must do to keep my family clothed and healthy, there are lots of things that I USED to do simply because I thought that I was SUPPOSED to do them. So I ask myself a simple question before I do anything: Do I WANT to do this, or am I doing it because I'm SUPPOSED to? By cutting out all of the "supposed to's" I found plenty of time to do all the stuff that I actually want to.
- Be selfish - I love my kids, my husband, my friends and family. But if I don't carve out time every day to do something just for me, I end up terrorizing all of them (plus everyone at my job and half the population of Twitter...). Being selfish is a virtue - put on your oxygen mask before you assist others.
- Drink wine - or eat cake, or watch reality TV or read trash magazines or get lost in your favorite book. Whatever it is that brings you joy, find a way to make it a regular part of your routine.
- Know yourself - I like to organize and plan. I appreciate structure and accomplishment. I am much better (and happier) helping my kids with homework and piano lessons, or snuggling with them over a few dozen books than rolling around on the floor playing robot for 4 hours. I may not be the "fun" parent, but I'm ok with that. Instead of being jealous over the way my husband can build a fort or block towers, I've learned to appreciate the unique way that I connect with my boys.
- Treat time like money - I used to complain that there were never enough hours in the day, even once I stopped doing the stuff that I was supposed to do. Then I read an incredible book called 168 Hours. After reading this book, I tracked what I did every 30 minutes for 2 weeks. I found that I could waste up to 3 hours each day on Facebook, Twitter, or watching yet another Law & Order marathon. While there's nothing wrong with these things, I learned to be more mindful with my time, and before I knew it I had more time to do the things I really want to do.
- Celebrate your success - It's oh-so-easy for me (and other Type-A-perfectionists out there) to focus on the next item on the to-do list rather than celebrating the small victories in every day. Did you lose 5 pounds? Instead of focusing on the 10+ you have left, celebrate the 5 that are gone! Finished 2 items on your 20-item to do list? Dance in your living room! You work hard every day. Celebrate every win, no matter how small.
- Be kind to yourself - At the end of the day, we're all trying our best. Cut yourself (and others) some slack and give yourself a break. You deserve it (even when you think you don't).