As the COO of a San Francisco-based tech company, I’m constantly striving to increase my productivity and time management to fulfill my day-to-day responsibilities. In a welcome addition to my office role, I’m also the mother of a toddler and well into my third trimester expecting my second child.
Parenting while overseeing the operations of a mid-sized company can be challenging, but I’ve found that it’s not impossible. Through trial, error and persistence, I’ve been able to advocate for, create and preserve active self-care to keep my work and home life balanced, fulfilling and enjoyable.
In addition to meetings, emails, phone calls and putting out fires, I can honestly say that I devote some of my time, both inside and outside the office, to me. Here are some of my go-to methods for personal self-care with the goal of achieving peace, quiet and calm while keeping a company and a household on schedule and under budget.
Set boundaries and stick to them
Setting boundaries to me means two very important things that I do my best to protect: sleep and family time. I make sure that I get a sufficient amount of sleep every night, at least 8.5 hours without fail. For me, working longer and cutting into my body’s necessary sleep time does not translate into more productivity; it actually means significantly less.
On top of that, from 6–8 p.m. every day I turn off my email when I get home and keep it off. I use the time with my daughter and husband doing family activities like cooking dinner, playing together and bath time. I find that when I’m truly present in the moment, every single second means a lot more.
Keep doing what makes you happy and calms you
I’m a simple and straightforward person, so there are just a handful of personal habits that fill me with joy. I like physical activity and have continued it throughout my pregnancy thanks to my obsession with my Fitbit and getting 10,000 steps every day. While getting to the gym is difficult with my schedule, I weave walks into my commute and work breaks because it keeps my body active and my brain clear.
For some calm, I enjoy things like spending 20 minutes reading before bed. Lastly, I use my commute to the office as me time as well. In my daily journey to work, I listen to novels, discover new music and sometimes meditate. All of these little things keep me grounded and energized.
No one is an island, and the proverb “it takes a village” is so very true. Though I pride myself on being self-sufficient, I have learned to embrace support in whatever form it’s available. No longer do I feel guilty about taking advantage of life’s small conveniences, like asking for help with household chores. In addition to modern-day conveniences, I’ve also learned to graciously accept help from family and friends. With support, I realized that I can spend more time on what matters most.
My advice is to figure out balance in your own way. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose but yourself.