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Forget about ‘work-life balance’ and just make time for what matters to you

The game is finding ways to do what is most important to you on most days.

Forget about ‘work-life balance’ and just make time for what matters to you

I don’t believe in work-life balance.  There are only 24 hours in a day and you can’t do it all every day. The game is finding ways to do what is most important to you on most days. You have one life with many dimensions—and you must find ways to integrate your work and your life in order to be the best worker, partner, friend, mother and self.


Practice life blocking

What’s worked for me is doing life blocking or what I call “life dimensions.” Life dimensions are the stuff that is most important to you. These will be different depending on your personality and life phase. In general, there are a couple of main life blocks: You have family, work, friends, community and—the last one that we often neglect—is ourselves. Don’t forget about you!

Dimensions are flexible, so it’s important to reorganize and reprioritize. You might not be able to always do all five of those dimensions equally. This depends on your current life stage, such as if you have a family, or you want to go dating or have a sick parent you want to take care of. We all have responsibilities, it’s not just people with children. We all want to have a life. You may just have to modify.

For example, if work and family are both important dimensions at one life phase, you might not be able to put as much time into your community dimension. Now that my kids are out of the house, my family dimension has changed. I have more time for community work, but I’m also spending more time with my parents. My dimensions are constantly shifting.

Mashup dimensions to maximize your time

If friends and exercise are also dimensions for you at a life stage where work and family are taking priority, you might combine two dimensions into one by inviting friends over to workout or taking a SoulCycle class together. For me, my personal and work friendships have always been an important life dimension. I’ve found ways to prioritize this dimension and I believe it is one of the keys to my success.

Have a “no regrets” policy

When I was a junior executive and mother of three little ones, I realized I had to shift some dimensions around. I made a promise to myself that I would live with no regrets. I never wanted to look back and say that I should have or could have done something differently.  I realized early on in my career that no one at work would remember if I stayed late for a project, but my kids would remember if I missed something important to them. That no-regret policy became my North Star.

Each week I would fill in my calendar with the events that were non-negotiable for my kids. A soccer game on Tuesday would be marked in ink on my schedule if my son told me that game was important.

As a boss, I encourage the same policy and tell my employees if you're going to regret missing a family event or something that’s important to you, don’t skip it. Lean on your colleagues and share the work burden so you won’t miss something that you will regret.

Create rituals

I’m a big believer in rituals because I think they give structure for carving out time for the important stuff, such as spending quality time with your kids. I would take my kids to school every morning and we would stop at a coffee shop and I would get coffee and they would get a bagel and chocolate milk. We loved our mornings and would sit in the car talking and laughing. Those mornings with my kids were time we all cherished. It was the perfect way to connect and start the day.

Outsource where you can

Outsourcing where you can and where you can afford lets you focus more on your most important life dimension. You really don’t need to do it all, but it’s essential to your wellbeing and overall success to fit in what matters the most to you.

When my kids were younger, I hated carpool. Driving carpool didn’t help me with balance as I didn’t feel I was spending quality time with my kids. For me, it was stressful and a waste of time. So my solution was to hire a teacher from my kids’ school to drive them home and help with homework. When I would get home from work, I could really focus on my kids and engaging with them. I was lucky to be able to outsource like this as it was more important to me to have that uninterrupted time with my children.

Walk the talk

I think that one of the biggest problems with leaders is that they don’t walk the talk. They might say, “Oh, we don’t want you to work past 11 p.m.” But then you get an email from them at midnight and you think, “That’s not fair!” Lead with generosity. As a middle manager, give your team permission to live the life that you want to live, and expect the same of yourself as you do of them. This is how we’ll make progress.

This story was originally published on Forbes.

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14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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