AKRON (Jan. 28, 2014)—Like many people in the workforce, I wear many hats. I am a manager responsible for setting online strategies and ensuring we're on the edge of trends, and I am the voice of our online users.
I love what I do and have enjoyed the path I've taken to get here.
I am also a mother, a wife, daughter, secretary, maid, cleaning woman, cook and chauffeur. And that's not saying only moms wear a lot of hats. Men do, too. But I only know my own experiences of a life of multitasking.
Starting out as a newspaper reporter meant I had to give up kissing my daughter goodnight, or my husband for that matter. Working a 14-hour day was commonplace if news needed to be covered.
I was married to my job. I would have practically moved into the newsroom if it meant I could prove myself worthy of advancing as a journalist and be taken seriously by my town's newspaper readers.
Then one morning, I woke up and went to say goodbye to my daughter and realized she had gotten so big since I had last seen her three days before.
That was when I took a literal and figurative step away, and I realized I needed balance. I needed my work and home life to even out so I could be in the moment with my family when I was at home. But I also needed to continue to prove myself professionally to advance.
And so began my search for balance.
So many times it felt as if only one part of life was going along swimmingly. If things were great at home, work felt like fast-moving balls of chaos flying at my head. If things were progressing and going well at work, the opposite was true of my home front.
And so began my search for balance.
I am no longer fresh out of college. I have about seven years behind me since college. It has been five years since I first started to search for the balance between my home and work lives. I think I have found it.
For anyone looking, here's my recipe for a balanced 2014:
1.) Don't put the burden of fixing a bad day on your family.
It's important to learn how to brush it off and keep a positive attitude once you get through the door. It's not your family's fault if something didn't go your way. They're your greatest cheerleaders, but don't hold them accountable for lifting your spirits.
2.) Keep your perspective long-term.
Things are never as bad as they appear in the short term. So realize that in the end, everything will be OK. If it's not, then it can't be the end. This attitude will help you stay more level, and will prevent you from overreacting and knocking your balance off course.
3.) Whether you're with family or at work, give it 100 percent.
One of the biggest causes of my balance upsetting itself is feeling as if I've left any effort still on the table. I need to feel as if the workday got the best of what I have. Then I'll go home and give my family the best of what I have. Otherwise, I'll take that feeling of unproductivity and worry home with me. It can easily and quickly gnaw away at my time with family or at work. But if I know I've done my very best there will be no feeling of regret.
4.) Realize that in order to give 100 percent to whatever your focus, it means not bringing trouble from home into work, or taking problems from work home.
It's easy to check work email from home or continue to track progress on a webinar's registration from home because of technology. And I'm not suggesting never do it again. But realize when it's appropriate and when it's not. Separating the two is really important to balance.
5.) Realize that it's life. And it's not always going to be a perfect balance of anything.
All I can do is my best to stay level. Sometimes that will become impossible and one or two things will go crazily wrong at work or at home—or both. When that happens, I need to roll with it and keep moving. It may be easier said than done, but it's possible. And even more than that, the reward is amazing.
The reward is a life outside of work and enjoyment in your job. And that's worth the search.