My love of tennis growing up led to hours of practicing swings and perfecting shots. Whether it was a forehand or backhand swing, one of the keys to a good shot was where on the racket you hit the ball. One spot that almost guaranteed you a good shot was the “sweet spot.” It’s the area on the tennis racket that propels the ball with power and precision, which makes it more difficult for your opponent to return.
What’s Important to You?
I knew before my son was born the type of mother I desired to be. Working long hours and being fully committed to growth in my marriage was challenging. Adding a baby would bring greater joy but even more challenges. As I meditated on what I wanted my life to look like, I knew I wanted to continue working, but I needed more flexibility. As a physician and mother, I am fully aware of how schedule changes and cancellations can affect my patients. How can I do the thing I’ve worked so hard for and yet be the best wife and mom I want to be? Where is my “sweet spot”? The place where I can find success in my personal and professional life? And, more importantly, how do I get there? I found out perfection doesn’t exist! With the ebb and flow of life, you have to constantly reassess to find your “sweet spot” for each day, week, and year.
In my search for the “sweet spot,” I’ve learned from others’ suggestions, but trial and error (along with a keen understanding of how I operate) has helped me choose the methods that work best. For me, the key is simplify. Do those things that bring ease to your life. Preparation and work may be required, but ultimately, with some of these changes, life will be a little easier.
Life Saving Apps
Technology is an amazing tool for getting organized. Two apps that can help with your to-do list are Microsoft To Do and Asana. Both are great ways to make your list and check off tasks as they’re accomplished. The night before or early in the morning, write your list for the day. Start with just three items. Then, check off items as you accomplish them. A completed list, even though it’s shorter, will give a greater sense of accomplishment than a long list with only a few things accomplished. You can always add more items after the first three are done.
Considering Your Work Schedule
If you’re experiencing stress from working long hours, a flexible work schedule might be the answer. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your boss. If you can’t change your schedule immediately, consider setting a goal to do it in the future. Stay on top of your skills and look for opportunities that will give you what you want. Consider a job share or a position that doesn’t require as much travel. Change your hours and maybe work longer on some days, so you can have a day off during the work week or work a ½ day. If you aren’t able to modify your schedule, and you’re still feeling stretched, consider a job change or try asking for more help at home. Remember, your physical and mental health affects everything you do.
Seperating Work and Home
Another great piece of advice I received was separate work and home as much as possible. In an era that makes you think, you should always multitask knowing that doing one task at a time reduces stress. Get rid of the phones, and give your family undistracted time. Consider blocking time for your family and yourself when you get home. No phones nor office work for at least an hour.
Keeping the House Clean
A good friend suggested doing a small portion of big projects every night. Maybe bathrooms today and then bedrooms tomorrow. In other words, create a cleaning schedule. Growing up, we did everything on Saturday mornings. That DOES NOT work for our family! We’re constantly heading out the door. I’m so thankful that my husband does laundry daily, so we rarely get pile-ups. Maybe it’s a cleaning lady once a month for deep cleaning or every two weeks that might be the game changer. Talk about it. A sacrifice in this area may afford you an opportunity in another area.
What to Eat
Meal prep! I’ve seen it work for myself and others. Consistency is the key. Rather than winging it with random grocery shopping, try shopping with meals in mind. Having all the items at home when it’s time to cook saves time and money. Try online shopping with Target, Kroger, Meijer, etc. There are pick-up and drop-off services online for groceries and other household items, which saves time and money.
Make friends with your crock pot, instapot, air fryer, and oven. And learn how to use them! Review your schedule for the week on Saturday and Sunday. Start meal prepping by making sure you have the items; you’ll want to make sides or even the whole meal ahead of time, so you can come home and eat without the fuss. If you have to stop for fast food, plan for it and try healthier options.