When you are working through college or in the early years of your career, your life can feel pressure packed and often a little overwhelming. Think ahead to the time after maternity and you may be able to ponder on what “overwhelming” truly feels like, as you strive to balance being a mother and having a career at the same time. Working mums have incredible challenges, as they have to work toward efficiencies in so many different aspects of their daily lives. They have to be able to balance their career with what their clients, bosses and fellow workers expect of them along with the considerable challenge of raising a happy family. It’s no surprise that so many working mums in this situation sign up for online life coaching to help them put things into perspective!
There are certain traits that all highly effective working mums share. In most cases, they’ve taken adequate time to consider their position, understood the hurdles that they have to deal with, and implemented a strategy to get them through – it’s just that simple. We have identified seven habits that these highly effective mothers all seem to share. As coaching for women is now a recognised and much valued service, the working mum need not necessarily be alone and overwhelmed anymore.
Learn and practise time management. There are only 24 hours in the day, but we need many more. Unless you know of any plan to change this soon, you’re going to have to make do with the 24, like everybody else! During professional coaching sessions, many of us hear that one of the primary habits of highly effective individuals is excellent time management, and this should be the main aspiration for the working mum too. Go relax in a quiet room with a notebook and give some consideration to your responsibilities. This means all of it! Make a note of how long every task or role takes you to complete, and when you’ve written down everything you can think of, tally it up. Your next job is to realistically condense it all into a manageable time-frame, giving you adequate time for each. Once you have your time management plan in place, you must stick to it like glue.
Set a routine. As an extension of time management, it is important to get into a routine. Some of us don’t like to be structured in this way, but if you are to become a highly efficient working mum you must do so. If you take one step at a time, complex tasks often feel a lot easier and this is definitely the case here. Turn away from that feeling of being overwhelmed and put one foot in front of the other. Establish a routine, which may take a couple of weeks to do, but once you have done so, your day should be a whole lot easier.
Focus! Know that procrastination can be the enemy of efficiency. You have to avoid distractions. Hopefully, as part of your time management plan, you will have allocated a small amount of time per day or per week for things that you could classify as “other.” Don’t expand this time unnecessarily and don’t be tempted to run off for a quick cup of coffee with a colleague/friend/neighbour, unless it has already been built into your time management schedule, of course!
Develop your productive space. Whilst you may be quite productive if you work away from home or at the office, if you are a work from home mum you had better ensure that your working space is very productive, comfortable and remote. Try your best to utilise a room which is not used for any other purpose, which can be closed off if needed, and try not to use your work computer for any leisure purposes. If you work from home you will have to be even more focused on time management, as there will be a whole host of other distractions to worry about.
Don’t forget your fitness. All the planning in the world is no good if you find that you’re getting more and more “rundown”, and you find that you don’t have the energy necessary to undertake your daily life. When you’re planning your time management, allow for daily exercise routines. Maybe you have a treadmill at home or your membership to the local gym; either way this time cannot be compromised. Look at it as “fuel” for all the rest of your day.
Maintain a support group. While you may know who to turn to at work for help should you need it, sometimes you just need support and help in the act of life itself. If you know someone else who is in a similar position, then you can support each other. Gather together as many trusted friends and/or relatives as you can, and don’t be afraid to lean on them during the times when it can all seem to get too much. Professional coaching may also provide the support you really need in this time of your life.
Reward yourself. Remember that you need to look after number one, and while you’re doing a great job of balancing your career with motherhood, there must be some time for yourself. What is it that you particularly like to do? Whatever it is, plan “golden time” for yourself in your schedule. In this way, if things get particularly challenging for some reason, you will have something to look forward to. It is so important to acknowledge yourself – you’re not an automaton – even working mums need a reward!
Amanda Alexander is the Founder and Inspiration behind Coaching Mums. She’s a distinguished ICF accredited coach, who for almost seven years now, has been bringing a new feeling of hope into the lives of working mums from around the world, showing them how to discard their guilt, rediscover their passions and to have a lot more fun! For amazing articles and truly effective professional coaching tips, sign up to get “Inspire” right away, our absolutely outstanding free newsletter!