As you might be aware, one of the things happening is that we are moving in April. We’re heading to Florida and renting an Airbnb for three months. Hopefully, the house is ready before then, or we will have to find another one.
One of the things I have realized is that it seems hard to find daycare in Florida. There are some long waitlists at every place I have contacted. However, when I looked for daycare for the baby, I was fortunate to only wait a month.
I started realizing that I would have to juggle working while taking care of an active toddler in the house again. Therefore, I wanted to discuss some of the things that have helped me in the past and what I will implement when we are in Florida and have no daycare.
Automate Your Life
The first thing is automating as much as possible. What I mean by that is having a very similar morning routine, bedtime routine, and anything else you can automate every day. It also helps with kids because they’re used to routines. So if you make the routine as streamlined and as similar as possible every day, they won’t get stressed out, which in turn won’t stress you out.
I have heard this some leaders do. Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg wear almost the same outfit every day. I’ve also heard that Jennifer Aniston ate the same lunch every day when working on Friends. Just having those things automated in the sense that you don’t have to think about it just happens because it’s part of your routine. If you do it all the time, that helps you focus on what you need to put your mind to do.
Be Present in What You Are Currently Doing
If you are working from home, have kids in the house, and deal with all those responsibilities, try to be present in what you’re doing. What I mean by that is when you’re working, focus on working. When you have to deal with the kids, focus on that. Yes, with smaller kids, it’s harder to do that. Even with smaller kids, I have seen that for him now that he’s almost two years old. It’s much easier than when he was a year old because he understands more. So when I’m in a meeting, I make sure to have him draw or do something that he has to focus on. And then, at the same time that he’s doing that, I say, “Hey, it’s quiet time. I’m working.” I’ve noticed that more and more, he’s understanding. I know it’s gonna be much easier when he’s older.
But I am starting to see that it isn’t the chaos and the screaming that used to happen when I was in a meeting; now he just sits there quietly and draws or whatever. So that has been really helpful as well. And when I turn off this computer, that means I’m focused on my family. And I think that that will help.
Separate Work and Life
It’s kind of the same thing as being present. Set work hours, have your kids on a routine, and have those times blocked for different activities. If you decide that you want to work 9-to-5, do not look at your notifications, don’t look at your phone, don’t look at your laptop, don’t look at email until nine. As well as if you’re clocking out at 5pm, do not look at anything work-related after that time. So for me, I usually will start working. And I’ll have my notifications because I have them scheduled. So when I can get notifications is between eight to six. And the reason I have it from eight to six is that I am in a management position. And I do have team members all over the country. And we’re all in different time zones. So I will try to stay available until 6pm. Because I know that people on the west coast will not attend the West Coast. I guess it’s Texas. So they’re on yes Central time. So then they’re an hour behind right now. So then I try to be there till six. So that is something that I will say is just to make sure that you have those separate in that sense.
You want to teach people to respect your time and boundaries and set those expectations. One thing that I have implemented for my teams is “No Meeting” Fridays. That’s something that I’m trying to make sure everyone understands. Do not schedule any meeting unless it’s a super important meeting or if a client decides to schedule something. However, I have also been telling my clients. Yes, they’re going to be those one-offs when setting boundaries. But at least you probably have 80% like the way you want it to be.
Can Parents in Leadership Positions Have It All?
Lastly, I want to reiterate that you can’t have it all. What I mean by that is don’t think that you’re going to be able to have everything perfect. There will be times that you’re going to have to work a little longer than usual. Same thing you have to deal with your family. You’re going to have to let work go for a while.
I think the maybe mid-2000s. It was that whole thing of like, oh, can women have it all? We can’t have it all. We have to pick and choose what we want to focus on and what we need to focus on. In the long run, I think we can have it all, but you have to pick what to focus on in the short term. I really wanted to reiterate that, especially for parents who are leaders. No, you can’t have it all at one time. But you can have it on in the long run by picking and choosing. Do not overwhelm yourself and/or burn yourself out trying to get everything done 100% every day. It’s not going to happen.
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