Friday, August 24, 2012

Finding the Time for Balance

Sunrise over the Potomac River
First of all, let me be clear, the 4:45 AM alarm never gets easier. Ever. But a couple of years ago I got some great advice from time management guru Terry Monaghan who told me to pick the 5 most important things on my to do list and block off 2 hours of uninterrupted time on your calendar to get them done.  The 5-7AM work block emerged, and I'm all the better for it.

But I'm a morning person, and not everyone is. My business partner Tanya Cummings is certainly not (but she's getting better!) and I often wake up to emails from her sent just a few hours before. But she gets energized after she puts the girls to bed and does great work then.

The point is, not all business gets done between 9AM & 5PM. Certainly if you're working in a larger organization you're bound to core hours and corporate policy, but I think the amazing thing about Momentum Resources' success over the last 5 years is that 7 women with a combined 16 children have grown a company that works around OUR schedules.

But that's the work piece, and the whole point of our business is balance. How on earth do you spend the time you want with your family? Respond to your manager's emails in a timely manner? Squeeze in some exercise? No matter where you are in life there are never enough hours in the day.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but for me the key has been the early alarm. I am exhausted by 9:30pm, I watch practically no TV, but I'm getting in the things that are most important to me right now. 3 days a week I meet neighbors for a run, the other 2 days I dedicate to early, uninterrupted work hours. I eat breakfast with the boys and put them on the bus every day. And then I head to work.

Lessons Learned:

  • There will always be more work to do, emails to answer, calls to return. Prioritize and let it go.
  • Be accountable. I won't hit the alarm snooze if I know 3 ladies are waiting on me to run on the corner.
  • Block off the most important things on your calendar. This includes family meals and exercise.
If you want to hear more early morning success stories, check out How to Be Successful Before Breakfast.

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