Kelly Thomas, Senior Associate at Sterling CorporationWhile reading Oh the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss to my 18-month old son, I came to the lines that read, “So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act” and began to think about the importance of maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

A year and a half ago, I took on a completely new role in life when I became a mother for the first time.  Before my son was born, maintaining a healthy balance between my professional and personal life was never something I struggled with. I always seemed to find time for the things that were important to me… my career, my husband, my family, my friends, and myself. Adding a child into the mix completely changed it all.

When I returned to work, it was a major adjustment for me and my family. When my efforts to try and prove I could do it all began jeopardizing my relationships, adding unnecessary stress to my life, I knew it was time to take a step back and reevaluate. Below are some tips I’ve learned that have helped me manage a healthier work/life balance:

  1. Unplug: Put your phone away when you get home and devote your undivided attention to the things that are important to you outside of work.
  2. Learn to Say “No”: Say no to the optional things that can add stress to your life. Do you really need to attend another kid’s birthday party this month? Send a gift in your stead and use the time for your own family bonding.
  3. Schedule Time for Yourself to Relax and De-Stress: Make time for yourself to do something you enjoy each week, like taking a fitness class or trying your hand at Pinterest projects. While we all juggle multiple identities at once – such as mother, wife, fundraiser in my case – don’t forget about cultivating interests that make you happy.
  4. Use Efficient Time Hacks:
    1. Shop online
    2. Hire help for cleaning and landscaping
    3. Plan and prepare meals in advance
    4. Prep your work attire and tomorrow’s to-do list the night before
  5. Enjoy your Weekends: Spend each weekend doing the things that you love. Use this time to recharge for the work week ahead.

We can all be more efficient with our time. Making small changes like planning and prepping ahead when we can, and making a conscious effort to set aside time for personal interests in addition to the many responsibilities we have at home and work will help us tackle a healthy work/life balance.
In the words of Dr. Seuss: “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so… get on your way!” Best wishes for a productive and balanced year to come.

Kelly Thomas is a senior associate at Sterling Corporation, an Lambert company.