What is the art of managing the ‘balancing act’?

Organisational tips and tricks from a career woman and mom.

 In life, the only constant is change. Not everything goes according to plan and sometimes you just need to roll with it.

I am a working mom with two beautiful kids, but balancing a grueling work schedule, managing a sizable team and running a household (while still trying to find some time for myself) often means that the line separating my home-life and office-life becomes blurred. Luckily, I have learnt a couple of tricks through my years as corporate manager which have helped me stay organised and come out smiling on the other side … most of the time.

Below are small but effective techniques to maintain an organised flow at home and at work: 

1 Don’t live a separate life

This statement might sound strange, but I have one email address, one cellphone, and one laptop for everything. This really helps me stay on top of things and I have a complete overview of what’s to come. 

2 Put your diary on a pedestal

I live by my diary and write everything in it – important meetings, deadlines, school events – even when the new season of my favourite series returns!

3 Plan, plan, plan

I manage a team of seven and while our roles consist of various tasks and deadlines, we are ultimately working as a united front to achieve our goals. In order to stay aligned we plan everything down to a T. This means anticipating the workload at least six to 12 months in advance, then adjusting to the work in the pipeline every month, and then again every week. I feel that planning for what you can control, helps you think on your feet when something unexpected pops up. 

4 Befriend technology

I am not what you’d call a ‘techie’, I’m barely on social media for that matter. But, my favorite organisational app has to be Evernote. It is super convenient – and when you sync all your devices, you are able to access your notes from anywhere. This helps when a random thought pops into your head and you don’t want to forget it.  

5 Power to the kids

I’m a perfectionist, so this wasn’t easy for me, but my kids are at an age where they are able to take on more responsibility. Tasks like packing their own school bags helps take more off my plate, and also teaches them valuable life skills. I find a visual calendar in their rooms or in a communal area works best. 

6 Don’t fret the small stuff

Most importantly, I have learnt that even with all the organisation in the world, things don’t always go according to plan. But sometimes you need to let the small things go, and try to make the best of the situation.
As a working mom, I know there is often a tinge of guilt that comes with being away from your little ones, but I have noticed that my kids’ are always quick to adapt and grow in certain situations. In fact, a recent Gender Initiative study from Harvard noted that this is a common characteristic among kids from a home with working parents, which is something I believe to be true.
At the end of the day, my advice to working moms is to find a good balance and to be present wherever you are – whether it is at work or at home.

Janine van Deventer is the Marketing Manager at Ackermans.

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