Managing Work / Life Balance - Red Time, Green Time

Tuesday, 29 November 2011  |  Admin

Like most working Mums I sometimes feel like there aren't enough hours in the day.

Between demands of the kids (sometimes the school 'run' and after school 'run' feel like marathons...), my lovely husband who does seem to think that his 'at work' status means that it gives him a by-ball from organising anything vaguely home / household related, like car servicing for example.

Obviously the house and shopping don't look after themselves either, I have a never-ending Mount Everest of washing and seem to constantly be cooking or clearing up after cooking.... And that's before you even start to contemplate working life.

Emails, mobile telephones and other apps which are supposed to make our life easier actually only serve to blur the boundary between home life and work life, especially if like me you work from home. I can't count the number of times that I've told one of my children 'You're next, just wait til Mummy finishes this email'. Or to shush while I take a phonecall.

And don't even get my husband started about me checking things out on my iphone while we watch TV in the evenings.... It sometimes feels like I'm never actually doing any one thing as best I can. I'm not completely focusing on the kids, but I'm not 100% focused on work either.

So I've decided to redraw the boundaries.  

I've bought in a version of the old 'red time green time' that my boss used to use to indicate whether he had time for a chat or not...(Patrick Piearcey take a bow....)

My working week is Tuesday, Thurs & Friday 9am – 3pm and that's my 'Green time'. During that time, I'll be at my desk or on my mobile, ready to talk to anyone (unless of course you want to sell me advertising / utilities / life insurance in which case bugger off, I'm busy!)

I'll be 100% committed and focused, and won't be doing any child / house / husband related chores unless absolutely essential.

Aside from these times, you can leave me a message and I will phone you back but it might take a day or so... And the same goes for emails. Outside my core working hours I will check emails, but once a day, rather than once every 5 minutes.

It might be in the morning, or afternoon when the little ones are asleep and the only exception to this is a Saturday when I give myself the day off.

I've been doing this for a while now and it seems to work better for me....I don't tend to lose emails in my inbox because I'm thinking 'Oh that needs a long answer, I'll respond to that one later when I'm back at my desk' because I am actually at my desk when I check my emails.

If you are trying to contact me, please understand. I LOVE my business and my customers and genuinely want 100% satisfied customers. But I also have to try to balance that out with some semblance of normal family please be patient. And if you've got any tips you'd like to share for keeping this balance, feel free to do so....

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