In Part 2 of my article on balancing family and work, I will share a few more ‘survival tips’ for the working mother.

Managing Time

Making time to plan is the key! Set aside time with the family and spend quality time together. This can strengthen family relationships and develop tight bonds between family members.

In life we will always face challenges and sometimes, we will make mistakes. In fact, most problems may not get solved, and we must learn to ‘manage’ them.

I list the tasks, chores and duties that I have to do each week but am flexible about making changes when I have to. I ask myself if each activity is necessary. I list down activities that I would like to do, and include some personal time for myself and for my spouse. I make use of discretionary time during office hours to run errands.

I ‘bundle’ time together; that is, I try to complete more than one task at a time, such as listening to a Podcast while driving or cooking/baking and reading when I have small pockets of time in between activities and appointments.

“Be disciplined and set time limits”

At the work place, I try to limit time wasters and distractions. I am focused on the tasks at hand and save talking to co-workers for break times or lunch time. It is important to  limit time spent on checking emails, attending to phone calls and completing unnecessary paperwork.

Setting Priorities

With so many daily tasks and responsibilities, a mother must learn to manage her time well and set priorities.

I have learned that thinking through activities and prioritising them in order of importance helps me to make decisions faster and in the process, makes decision making and work on the whole less stressful. I often ask myself these guiding questions and then act accordingly, “Can these responsibilities be delegated to others?”, “Can I live without this?”, “Does this add value to our family/work life?”, “Does this matter eternally?”

Learning Every Day

My motto in life is: “Keep learning!” A mindset structured on life-long learning keeps me active and moving forward all the time.

Reading, training and development programs have taught me to understand new trends in IT, business, travel, food, world events, creative designs/fashion and the latest products (i.e. advanced construction materials, wall paint, energy saving methods etc.)  and life in general. Life has become exciting with all this new knowledge!

I listen to Podcasts while I drive. I am always amazed at the plethora of world class speakers available today to share their great knowledge and experience online. Learning and information sharing in this era is amazing!

Making Good Use of IT Devices

Nowadays, IT devices have made our lives easier because of the convenience they bring. They have also changed the way we live, work and play.

The smartphone has been a great help to me. Life has become much easier with smartphone apps that help me out with my everyday tasks. The No. 1 reason why I use a smartphone is convenience. The smartphone also frees up more time for me. I use smartphone apps to keep track of my appointments, financial spending and banking. I also use them to set reminders, take notes, take photos, scan documents, watch videos to learn new skills and cooking, listen to music and Podcasts, communicate with staff, chat with friends and surf online for information. I Google anything that I do not know (i.e. how to operate a new coffee machine or where to buy a 3-meter tall fiberglass bear sculpture for the hotel lobby etc.).

Mobile devices also help to keep my family informed of each other’s activities and to stay connected during the day when we are all busy.

I often take advantage of online shopping. I do grocery shopping online, especially for bulky household items. It saves me travelling time and money as the items are delivered to my doorstep.

This apps culture does assist us in managing our lives better. However, I constantly remind myself that nothing can replace face-to-face communication, especially among family members.

Motherhood cannot be ‘outsourced’. As a mother, I am called to watch over my home and the members in it. It is one of my life goals to learn to build a loving family and a family who cares for others, a family that will be a lighthouse for the community.

About the Author:

Estee Tan is a working mom with two boys. She works as General Manager in the hotel division of a public-listed company. Her work involves hotel management and hotel development. Estee graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance (USA) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (USA). She is also a Certified Hotel Administrator (USA). She enjoys travelling, reading and baking. Her passion is to build more wholesome families in which parents are moulding children with good character. She is also keen to build a young generation that has the heart to serve and care for others.

Reposted from old website 5 July 2017

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