A Guest Post by Nancy Parker
Jobs these days are hard to come by, there’s no denying that. Competition is fierce, and people are doing whatever it takes to keep a steady paycheck coming to support themselves and their families. Because of this, it’s becoming increasingly easy to blur the lines between work and life, and people are sacrificing their daily life to work harder and longer hours.
This is especially true when you’re a nanny – you spend all day being in charge of someone else’s family and household, and then at the end of the day have to come home and still make sure your own household is in order. It’s easy to shirk personal responsibilities in favor of work ones when you’re balancing two different families. However giving up your life outside of work is more detrimental than it is beneficial, and if something isn’t done to combat it you’ll likely end up burning out and performing at a lesser level then if you had prioritized your own life in addition to your work life.
If you find yourself not getting the work-life balance right, consider trying some of these techniques:
#1 Make Time for Hobbies
It’s all too easy to forget that work isn’t your entire life, and to combat this you have to make time for the things you enjoy. When you’re a nanny for a family AND a mom aside from that you often find yourself so exhausted from a day of playing mom that actually fulfilling your role as mom and still identifying as your own person is more than slightly overwhelming. You’ll find yourself less stressed if you’re still engaging in activities that you find relaxing and enjoyable. It’s easy to get stressed thinking that the house is going to fall apart if you don’t put the dishes away right away, but the truth is life will – and does – go on just fine. In fact it goes even more smoothly when you’re still prioritizing your own interests.
#2 Draw a Solid Line Between Work and Life
Because we are constantly connected these days with smart-phones and the ability to tap into the majority of work systems, thanks to the Internet, it makes it easy to get caught up doing work while you’re at home. What starts as “I’ll just respond to this one email…” can quickly evolve into a full-fledged work session. Make sure that when you’re at work you’re focused on getting the job done and when you’re at home you’re focused on your loved ones and yourself. Each one deserves your undivided attention at specific times, and you’re doing no favors to anyone by only giving half the effort to either.
#3 Prioritize Your Tasks
When you start work each morning take some time to take stock of what it is you need to get done and then prioritize accordingly. Break things up into categories of things that have to get done today, things you’d like to get done today, and things that can wait until tomorrow. Having smaller task lists makes projects easier to tackle and helps alleviate the stress of a mile long to-do list. Plus when you recognize that some things can wait until the next day it’s easier to shed the guilt from not finishing them and pay attention to what matters the most – like your own family. When you balance being a nanny and a mom it can sometimes be easy to neglect your own kids needs and wants because you’ve spent all day focusing on your job: someone else’s kids. Let go of the job when you get home and prioritize the best job: actually being a parent.
#4 Exercise and Eat Healthy
Find time to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day – you’ll be glad you did. The endorphins you’ll get from breaking a sweat will help boost your mood and reduce your stress level. And when you’re eating healthy foods you’ll find you focus better and are more efficient, whereas when you’re living on take-out you’ll find yourself more rundown and sluggish. One way to spend time with your own family is to take the kids for a bike ride or a jog when you get home from work. Then spend time fixing dinner together – when everyone helps and it becomes a family affair it’s less likely to seem like a chore and more likely to just be about spending time together.
#5 Learn When Enough is Enough
As tempting as it may be to take on every task your boss asks you to do, you have to learn when to say no. It’s better for everyone if you take on only what you can handle – your quality of work will be better, your stress levels will be lower, and your boss will respect you more for being able to admit you can’t take on another task then for accepting the task and then drowning in a workload that’s too heavy.
About the Author
Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like Health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting and Work-Life balance. This is a regular contributor at eNannySource. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com.