Productivity: How I juggling work, family and life
Managing your time can be difficult at the best of times. You have work commitments to manage — which for me is as a journalist and a lecturer — and not only do I have a family (my husband and two children), I have a young family. My girls are four and one.
I am not the only one in this position, many in my network have even greater responsibilities than I do. The one thing we all have to grapple with, as professional women, is productivity. I am constantly being asked “how do you do it”.
Truth is: with great difficulty!
Every morning at the start of my work day, I spend the first 15 minutes planning my day. In fact, I do exactly the same ritual at the end of each day: set out my priorities for the following day. I work in 30 minutes slots, itemising my activities for every moment of my day (which by the way has recently become 5am — 11pm). I have learnt over the years that the time spent working is just as important as the time spent eating, having a nap, and family time, so it all goes into my daily routine.
The difference though between achieving a list of tasks and truly being productive, is ensuring you have wider goals that each of these contribute to. It can all get a little confusing, but for me it is important to have a five-year plan, a one-year plan, and a 100 days plan; all the while also going through the daily requirements of the job (and this in itself fits within a plan — a promotion perhaps, or simply staying in the game).
Staying in the game for me is particularly crucial at this time in my life, I want to be able to take a year of maternity leave, but the anxiety of staying out of the industry for so long won’t allow me. The media industry is such a fast-moving one, and so not only do I feel the need to keep up to date, I also feel that it’s important to remain relevant and make sure each piece of work is better than the last.
It upsets me really, to not be able to savour the moment of being a new mum, to not be able to spend adequate time with my newborn. But somehow in 2016, I still feel I need to work extra hard to make up for the time that I spend away from work having children.
To remain productive in all areas of my life takes planning, takes consistency, and takes a level of strength that I do not always posses — this is when having a supportive network makes a huge difference, for me it’s my husband and a small handful of trusted friends.
Somehow, you get through it all. For me, daily planning is key.