Ahhh… Balance… the ever elusive word for the working mom!! Seriously, this topic is something I've wrestled with for years! I remember the first time I heard the term work-life balance… I was in college, sitting in a restaurant at a recruiting event for one of the Big 4 Accounting Firms. It was the first of many recruitment events I would attend, and this topic was one that was apparently a hot-button for working professionals and especially working women. I vaguely remember jotting down notes as they tossed around terms like “flexible work schedules” and “paternity leave.” As a college student, I didn't really understand it all and as an adult and working mom, I now realize that flexible schedules and leaves of absence only begin to scratch the surface of balance.

Now, before we go any further, I need you to know something… I'm not an expert! But I am someone who is in the trenches of trying to find her own balance, and sharing what I've learned so far and my own struggles may help you! So here we go… here are my best tips at how to achieve work-life balance.

(1) There is no such thing as 100% work-life balance.

I know – not what you were hoping I would lead with, but the harsh reality is that there is no such thing as 100% work-life balance. The definition of balance is “equal distribution” and the truth of the matter is, many of us don't really want equal distribution… we want flexibility. We want to be able spend more times on the things that matter most {our faith, spouses, families, etc} and less time on the things that fall lower on our priority list. We want to feel good about what's going on at work and good about what's going on at home. We want lives filled with intention and purpose.

(2) You can't have it all at the same time.

This is another tough truth to face… we can't do it all. It's impossible. Right now, you probably have more on your plate than you can get done. If you're a work at home mom like I am, you have laundry, dishes, and meals to make, you're five minutes late leaving the house because of xyz circumstance {blowout diaper, “nothing” is clean, a dog that just ate your daughter's report, etc} that you didn't predict, and on top of it all, you have an inbox filling up with fresh new tasks.

Accepting the fact that some things won't get done at all is the first step to finding balance. We all have 24 hours in a day, and many of us have about 57 hours worth of things we'd like to get done! I once heard Michael Hyatt use a fantastic example – he coined it “workload triage” and basically said that just like in the battlefield, when medics have to decide where to apply their limited resources, we have to do the same with our lives. {I don't know about you but my first reaction when I heard him talk about this was “of course I can do it all… I'm a Type-A can-do overachiever!” But the fact of the matter is, embracing that we can't get it all done is actually super-freeing.}

(3) Prioritization and planning are critical.

So I've told you that you can't be 100% balanced, and that you can't have it all at the same time… so what's a girl {or guy} to do? While you can't be 100% balanced 100% of the time, you can have balance in most areas most of the time! And here's how…

We can't be 100% balanced 100% of the time, but we can be balanced in most areas most of the time!

Balance is first achieved through prioritizing and well-planned decision making. {Can I get a round of applause from all of my Type-A personalities?} I personally spend one evening each week brain dumping and assigning tasks to my to-do list each day {because who doesn't love a good to-do list… especially if it's a checklist!!}. Then, each morning, I use the Franklin-Covey method of assigning a priority letter to each task:

A – urgent and important B – important but not urgent C – urgent but not important D – not urgent or important

Now, keep in mind what we first talked about… take a deep breath and let yourself off the hook. Guess what? Even the best planning and most well thought-out decisions don't always go according to plan. For example – this morning, I planned to knock out some training plans for my bootcampers for a few hours while baby girl was at school, but baby girl woke up with a 102 degree fever. My priorities have now shifted. Which means I have a decision to make – I can let this derail me or I can realize that she is one of my top priorities and I can write training plans later tonight while she's sleeping! {And this is where the balance comes in. While it may not be according to plan, I still feel balanced because I'm taking care of the most urgent and important things that have to get done and letting the not urgent and not important things slip for a day.}

(4) You need a support team.

You wouldn’t think of running a successful business without a strong team around you, and you can’t run a successful life without a team. Thinking that you are a one-man show is a surefire way to fail. The truth of the matter is, it takes an army. Now maybe you're thinking to yourself “um, I don't have an army… I can't afford a maid and a lawn-care service and an assistant and a nanny” and that's ok!

Yes, your business and life might merit those conveniences, but often our biggest support teams are the ones who live in our house, who are listed as “favorites” in our phone, or who sit down the hall from us at the office. They are the ones with whom we can share our fears and dreams and successes and failures. They are the ones who encourage us to keep going and who pick us up when we've fallen. And the best part is, not only do they support us, but often we get to be that same support system for them.

And while our lives might not always be 100% balanced 100% of the time, with realistic expectations, strong priorities, good organization, a great support team, and a heaping dose of grace, we can truly find joy even on the messiest of days!

What's your best tip for achieving work-life balance? Do you spend time planning each day? Who is your biggest supporter?

P.S. If you're new to my website or part of the Blog Hop, welcome!! I recently shared about the changes coming to rachelmcmichael.com {where I'm combining my passions for faith, business, and fitness} and am so thrilled to get to know you! I would love to connect with you on Social Media, so let me know you read this post and I'll make sure and follow you!