Julie juggles many important roles, including being a single mom. She’s also a time management and productivity consultant and is a pro at finding “work-life-family” balance.
I’ve spent more than 30 years of my life as a time management and productivity consultant, while also raising my daughter as a single mother. From juggling these roles, I know firsthand how difficult it can be for people to effectively manage their time and find what I call “work-life-family” balance.
When my daughter was born, I quickly realized that my state of disorganization was causing me to feel stressed and overwhelmed by even the smallest tasks. By failing to plan ahead, I was often scrambling and missing out on precious moments with my daughter. I began taking small steps toward becoming more organized—something that eventually became my career and passion.
Although I do not have relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) myself, I know that unpredictable symptoms can make it even more difficult for people living with the condition to achieve their time management goals. With the following strategies, I’ve found that it’s possible for anyone—including those with MS—to help reduce stress, make time for rest and maintain a more balanced life.
Rethink your weekend
One tip I often share with my clients is to visualize their weekend as seven units of time—Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday day, Saturday night and the same goes for Sunday. At the end of each week, I suggest writing down activities you typically do and looking for open blocks of time to include things that you want and need to do—like visiting friends, cleaning the house, dating, or a family movie night.
This way, you can maximize your free time and begin your week feeling refreshed.
Set goals for social time
I always tell my clients that it is possible to find a balance between taking care of your children and yourself—especially when you plan and set goals.
The key to making social plans that you’ll stick to is integrating them into your schedule. Plan a recurring time, whether it be every week or month, and gather your friends for a book club, a movie night or dinner out. You’ll have a social event to look forward to, and you’ll be able to arrange for child care in advance. If you’re not feeling up to it from time to time—that’s okay! There will always be another event coming up for you to participate in.
Find your village
One strategy I often share with my clients who are single parents is to rely on “village care.” Your village is anyone you trust to help take care of your children—including family, friends, neighbors, and other school parents. When you devote time to building your village, you’ll find that you’re never alone in your parenting journey!
A great way to do this is to connect with the parents of your children’s friends. Set up regular play-dates and take turns hosting between the group. Your child will have social time to look forward to, and you’ll have built-in time for yourself when the other parents host.
Julie M. is a paid spokesperson for Biogen.