We thought it would be fun to run a series of interviews with our team on how we manage our work life balance, something we strongly support here at Simpatico.
This week we would like to introduce you to Becky, a very talented woman who’s not only our writer, but an author, business owner and super busy mom. She is an amazing writer and we highly recommend you check out her last book “Super Mom Myth.” We are so happy she agreed to write a guest post for us on how she (doesn’t) do it all.
How I (Don’t Really) Do It All
By Becky Kopitzke—author, blogger, speaker and freelance writer at BeckyKopitzke.com
Yesterday I dragged myself out of bed at 5:46 a.m., pulled on my workout clothes, let the dog out, filled up a water bottle and make it to my 6:00 kickboxing class with 30 seconds to spare. By 6:50 I was home packing school lunches and popping French toast sticks in the microwave for two sleepy daughters who, despite my threats to take away the iPad for the rest of their lives if they didn’t put their shoes on now and I mean NOW, plopped their bottoms into the van and then into their desk seats on time and with smiles on their faces.
I spent the next six hours in my home office writing articles, updating three social media accounts, designing new T-shirts for my online shop, responding to approximately 100 e-mails and of course—letting the dog out. Oh, and I threw in a couple loads of laundry. Go me.
By 3:00 I rushed to the carpool line to pick up my girls, fed them snacks and checked more emails on my phone while I waited for karate class to end. By the time we got home I had just enough minutes to preheat the oven, toss in some fish sticks and whip up a salad before my husband got home.
After dinner, I folded the laundry.
Helped my 10-year-old study for a science test.
Listened to my 7-year-old chatter about recess.
Engaged in a meaningful conversation with my husband—which lasted about 12 minutes before somebody interrupted asking for graham crackers.
Then the girls practiced piano while I read my devotions, bought some Christmas gifts online, and, of course, let the dog out.
I think we played a board game somewhere in there, too.
Finally, after the usual 15 minutes of bedtime coercion—please put your pajamas on, brush your teeth, pack up your homework for tomorrow is another day—I flopped on the sofa listening to my children whisper and giggle past lights out because they share a bedroom and heaven help me most nights I fall asleep, exhausted, before they do.
I’m an author and a business owner and a work-from-home mom.
People sometimes ask me how I do it all.
My answer is—I don’t.
Because for every good activity on my calendar, there are half a dozen that didn’t make the cut, and half a dozen people I couldn’t please. Through hard-fought experience I’ve discovered the key to balancing all the things is this:
Instead, just do one at a time. And do it well.
On any given day I work, serve at my church, volunteer at my girls’ school, meet friends for coffee, mentor young writers and care for my family, my household, my health. Of course I can’t do it all at once. So I don’t try to convince myself that I can. Instead I choose, day by day, hour by hour, how to spend my time and energy.
I’m in the middle of writing my third book. So two days a week I block out six hours just to write. During those hours I am an author and nothing else. Freelance projects wait, housekeeping is put on hold, and thankfully my husband also works from home so somebody else can let the dog out.
I have regular clients to serve. So on certain days and during certain hours I reserve time only for their projects and emails, and I don’t worry about my book. During those hours I am a freelance writer. I don’t try to wear six other hats.
I also write for five blogs including my own. So I map out an editorial calendar and meet blogging deadlines the same as I do for my corporate work. I engage with my readers on social media and dream up new topics, new campaigns, new products. My brain never shuts off, but my productivity must, or I’ll burn out. Therefore I keep three notebooks around the house to jot ideas and strokes of genius (?) throughout the day—which I safely store away until a block of blogging time allows me to focus and create.
Most importantly, I’m a wife and a mom. So before and after school, on weekends, holidays— entire months of the summer—I want to be fully present for my kids. I don’t do this perfectly, but I’m learning when to shut the computer down and read a story, go for a bike ride, talk and instruct and encourage. Relationships are the real stuff of life, after all. They keep us grounded and hold us accountable—so I aim to be intentional about planning lunch dates, prayer
meetings, family game nights. And when I’m sitting across from another human being, no matter what my to-do list looks like, I look them in the eye and love them where they are. Moment by moment, I have to say no to a lot of good things. But that’s only so I can give every “yes” my full presence.
And above it all, I leave room for interruptions. “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9). So whenever my agenda is thrown by the stomach flu, a flat tire, a funeral we didn’t expect to attend—I remember who’s really in charge. And it’s not me.
Planning is wise. But trusting is wiser. It kind of takes the pressure off, really.
So… what’s the magic formula to doing it all? There isn’t one.
But you can say no. Be fully present to your “yes.” And be thankful your success isn’t really up to you alone.
Becky’s next book, “Generous Love: discover the Joy of Living Others First, comes out in April 2018. Be sure to watch for future posts from other Simpatico employees on how they juggle everything life throws at them as well!