Like many of you, I have worked hard in my personal and professional life to have a better future not only for myself but for my family. I’ve spent endless and tireless nights studying and working all while trying to dedicate time for my family, myself and maybe squeezing in some sort of social life in that mix. As women, we have to wear many hats such as being a mother, a child taking care of an ill parent, a student, an employee, and so much more. Our job is to balance out our lives with all these responsibilities without feeling guilty of giving too much in one area or too little in another. It is beyond impressive what we women can accomplish with all the other responsibilities that lie on our shoulders. No matter our role or position in life, we all at one point ask ourselves how one can successfully balance out their life and still be able to do and accomplish all the things we want to do. Is there a straightforward answer to this? I do not believe there is, and this is why. Everyone’s situation is different. Everyone’s limits of what they can handle are different and their views on professional and personal success are different. In my personal life, I have narrowed down a few things that have helped me balance out my life.
- It’s okay to ask for help. Growing up, I was taught to be strong, confident and independent. I grew up striving to achieve all three and although it was not my parent’s intention, I made myself believe that asking for help meant I was depending on someone and that was a sign of weakness. For the longest time, I felt like I was mastering all the roles and tasks I was assigned. It was gratifying to get things done and to get them done on my own account. However, I really wasn’t mastering all of them as I had thought. I was staying up late to finish projects which limited the time I spent with my family. Promptly responding to work and personal emails, texts or calls were extremely rare. Every week I walked into my laundry room, it looked like a tornado had run through it. The thought of “me time” was laughable, and I never seemed to find free time because it was used to play catch up on whatever I couldn’t finish the week prior. It wasn’t until I started asking for help that I was able to perform at the level I wanted to in each of my roles. We’re taught to delegate tasks at work to make our work life easier. So why don’t we do that in our personal life as well? When we ask for help we aren’t showing weakness we are showing a sign of strength and self-awareness. Freeing up time through delegating work will improve your quality of life.
- It’s okay to say NO. Saying no to things has always been difficult for me. Mostly because I was afraid of missing out on a great opportunity or afraid of offending someone and so to avoid this, I would say yes to everything. A couple of years ago, I attended a work meeting conducted by my company’s vice president. She talked about the effects of multitasking and benefits of essentialism. She stated that when we multitask or focus on too many things, we aren’t giving our 100% to each task. She asked us to focus on a couple of things we wanted to work on and then once mastered we could move on to the next. She told us to analyze what was important to us and to set priorities. I remember pondering my current situation, and realizing she was right. I wasn’t giving my best in the things I had committed to. I was spreading myself thin and this was affecting my productivity, my health and really my overall happiness. This idea that we can do it all ourselves isn’t realistic. We are not valuing or respecting our time or the time of others. Eventually, someone or something will have to suffer the consequences of our choices. Having the strength to say no, gives us the ability to say yes to things that matter the most.
- Have a good support system. It is important for you to have a group of people who care about you and your success. I have a wonderful family that supports me. They have come to my rescue numerous times and have been willing and open to help me. I am also fortunate to work for an organization that truly cares about me. They have always encouraged us to take care of ourselves, to dedicate time to our families and to make time to do the things we love. I understand that working for an organization that supports and promotes work-life balance isn’t always possible. If this isn’t an option for you now, set goals and find ways to achieve this the best you can. You have the ability to steer your life the way you want it to be. Take initiative and control of what you want and most importantly of what you need. I know it’s easier said than done. There are several organizations/groups/programs throughout the valley that provide encouragement and support. I have been a part of the Business Women’s Forum for two years and it has been one of the most rewarding groups to be a part of. I have been to conferences specifically geared towards helping, developing and encouraging women in the workplace. I have learned valuable tips and tricks to figure out how to balance my life. I have also met several women that I’ve learned from and have made long-lasting relationships with that have become great support in my professional career.
Choosing to balance your life does not happen from night to day. It takes time and commitment. One of the things I’ve learned over the past several years is that I come first, then my family, my work and everything else on the list. If I am not okay, I cannot take care of my family and if I’m not okay and my family is not okay, I cannot give 100% at work. It is crucial for us to be selfish about where we put our time and energy. Take control of your time and use it wisely. Ask for help when you need it. Say no, when you cannot take on another project or task and surround yourself by those who really care about you and your success.
About our Guest Writer: Cristine Salazar
Cristine Salazar was born in California and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Utah. Besides owning 2 businesses of her own, she also has 12 years of experience in the financial industry. Cristine is currently a Branch Manager for America First Credit Union. She is highly involved in the community and volunteers for her church. She continually strives to leave a positive influence on those around her whether it is in her professional or personal surroundings. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her loved ones.