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An End Time to My Work Day

Yes, you really can do it!

by sandra beck  |  2080 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is how do you do it all? At first, I would stumble around all the usual answers: I delegate. I am really organzied. I have a terrific team. Then I took a minute and really thought about it. I think the secret of running a business as a mother is that I just do as much as I can — and then not beat myself up if I don’t do as much as I wanted.

After taking all these time-management courses, reading books, and talking to professionals I realized one thing: we all have the same total amount of hours. It’s what you do with those hours that determine how much you get done and, more important, how satisfied you are with your life.

Let's say you sleep for seven hours a night. Right there, that takes out 35 of the 168 hours in your week. Add in three hours for the kids each day, eight hours on my business...there goes another 51. Wow! Got 72 left, let's shopping, cleaning, laundry, cooking -- how about three hours per day, so another 21 gone. Still got 51 left. Driving! Oh my God, driving... to dance class, to soccer practice, spanish lessons, to the train to pick up my husband -- that's at least another 90 minutes in the car per day. Down to 41. Baths, homework, getting my son new hockey gear. The dogs...feeding, bathing, walking and playing -- we are at 31. Taking my mother shopping, helping my dad with the lawn -- 25. Eating the famliy dinner just one night a week -- there goes another 7. And one hour watching The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, and I'm basically out of time. No wonder my hair is never fixed.

When I do this, I realize how much I get done in one small week. And how little time we really have. About once a month, I pull an all nighter to get caught up on my work. Catch up on on-line shopping and shipping for birthdays and holidays. Sometimes I sit in my home office and stare at the fish tank into the wee hours of the morning while I clean and back up my computers.

Despite all this, I make a concerted effort to be done by 5:30 p.m. in my office. I try to go out to dinner with my husband twice a month. I try to get together with girlfriends for a game night. When I leave my home office, I shut my door. No more computer. I may peek at my BlackBerry if I am nervous about something, but there is an end time to my workday. I also decide whether or not I am going to work on the weekends.

2 comments so far...

  • This is so true. I've observed that my husband is incredibly productive and yet a very low-stress, happy kind of guy and I attribute it to the same attitude you recommend - keep at it constantly, but don't beat yourself up if things don't always go smoothly. I admire this...yet haven't gotten there yet myself. :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 16th May 2008

  • Fantastic. You always have a wonderful way of helping me to see the big picture.
    - your pal, Ally

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Ally on 15th May 2008