Here are Kennedy’s 17 top tips:
- Prioritize by not saying yes to all requests and learning to say no kindly but firmly. Example: “I’d love to help you out, but I already have a commitment. Let’s try again another time.” People appreciate honesty and sincerity.
- Eat well, exercise, and have regular checkups. You’ll have more energy, jump-start your endorphins, and be happier.
- Surround yourself with compassionate friends who understand your demands and won’t criticize your juggling act.
- Yield on expectations that require perfection of yourself, family, and colleagues. Example: The house needn’t always be spotless; every project needn’t be done perfectly, but try your best.
- Delegate tasks among family and coworkers. For example: A six-year-old can make her bed; a nine-year-old can make his lunch; colleagues can cover for you when you go on vacation.
- Cook a few meals in advance one day a week. Also prepare more servings than needed so that there are leftovers for another meal.
- If you have kids, work for a company whose management values family. If you’re the broker, make family values part of your company culture. Example: Don’t schedule a sales meeting at 5 p.m. when parents need to pick up children.
- If you can afford it, hire help around the house so that you have more time to spend with family and pursue favorite hobbies. Consider bringing on a babysitter, gardener, or cleaning service.
- Share tasks with colleagues and friends. Organize car pools and cooperatives for babysitting and food shopping.
- Schedule regular dates with yourself—quiet lunches, manicures—to smell the proverbial roses.
- Find a new passion or revisit an old one. Bake, golf, or play bridge.
- If you’re part of a couple, have a weekly date to maintain romance.
- Curtail spending by following a budget so that you don’t need to work excessively to pay bills. Two-career couples shouldn’t delude themselves that their combined checks allow them to spend more.
- Get and stay organized, which sets a good example for colleagues and family members. Set up a home command post where you keep your keys, bills, and other important papers.
- Keep routines going to maintain some normalcy even in the face of major snafus. Example: Continue driving the kids to their activities even if the kitchen remodel hits a snag and the contractor needs more of your time.
- Keep family life enjoyable by sharing activities. Bowl with your children, have dinner together (without the TV on), choose a movie everyone wants to see. Don’t let family life become boot camp.
- Praise yourself, family, and colleagues. They’ll return the favor.
Source: Danielle Kennedy, Danielle Kennedy Productions, Sun Valley, Idaho, and author of WorkingMoms.Calm: How Smart Women Balance Family & Career (Thomson South-Western, 2003). Thomson is a REALTOR VIP® Alliance Program partner.