Speaking from personal experience, a balanced life is difficult to achieve when you’re juggling a physician’s career and motherhood. I’ve finally learned the ropes, and I’m excited to share a six step formula that is efficient in helping physician moms to have a balanced life so they can experience the quality of life they desire and deserve.
What if you were able to design a life that allowed you to do more of what you desire with your kids? What if suddenly you had more free time and flexibility in your life? What if you could be present for all the special moments in your children’s lives? Sound like a stretch? I used to think so until I began to live it.
In the past few years I have felt overwhelmed, overstretched, stuck in a rut, sleep-deprived, burned-out, and restricted with time. Now I feel flexible, well-rested, and more fulfilled without sacrificing my income and career. Most importantly, I have quality time with my kids. The information I am about to share with you is the exact process I used to achieve a balanced life for myself.
I began this process by designing what a balanced life looks like for me. I have laid out how I envision an ideal work and personal life. This construct, along with the guidance of my coach, led me to achieve the work-life balance I desire in order to have the quality of life I’ve been seeking.
Achieving a desired life is about being ready, willing, and able to live life differently. It requires passion for a different, or better quality of life. If a better quality of life and a balanced life is what your desire, there is a formula for achieving that. Based on my personal journey, here are the six secret formulas:
- Desire a better quality of life
- Establish the priorities in your life
- Design your balanced life
- Honor and protect your designed life
- Create a layout for financial freedom
- Practice self care for your well-being
Let’s spend time on each point to give you more of an understanding of how to implement these secret formulas in your life.
Secret #1: Desire a Better Quality of Life
Our busy careers make it easy to neglect self-reflection. In order to effectively self-reflect, you must be intentional about it. Ask yourself, “am I living the life I envisioned?” If your answer is “no,” this will segue you into the next step.
Secret #2: Establish Priorities in Your Life
Think about your priorities and narrow them down to your top three. If three is too overwhelming to focus on, hone in on your very top priority. This will become a pillar for the life you are designing.
Secret #3: Design Your Balanced Life
Organization is your best friend! Having a calendar or scheduling program is key. Enter any activities that support your top priorities on your calendar first before including additional activities. When designing my balanced life, I made being available for my kids my top priority. I always put their activities on my calendar before anything else is added. That moves us on to the next step.
Secret #4: Honor and Protect Your Designed Life
It sounds like a smooth exercise so far, right? However, implementing and sticking to the life you designed can be the ultimate challenge. In fact, I still find it challenging. Something that has helped me is to build boundaries and stick to them. Don’t be afraid to make “no” a part of your vocabulary. If somebody asks you to do something on a day that you have planned activities with your family, simply say “no.” Saying “yes” to other plans can mean saying “no” to your family. If you battle with the feeling of guilt for saying “no” to someone else, remind yourself of why you are doing it.
Also, taking advantage of certain services (cleaning service, child care, etc) is a great way to save some of your time and alleviate a tight schedule. Instead of spending time on a particular activity, you can trade it in for time.
Secret #5: Create a Layout for Financial Freedom
You are probably wondering what this has to do with the topic at hand, but planning for financial freedom is actually a core foundation for living a balanced life. Take a moment to imagine having the finances of your dreams. Will you pick up an extra shift at work? Probably not. Having a financial blueprint and following it will help you to live in abundance instead of scarcity. By doing so, you will be able to protect valuable time.
Here are a few treasures that have helped me reach financial abundance:
- Review your finances to determine how much you need to live comfortably each month. Once you’ve determined that, create a separate account where you always maintain that necessary amount.
- Use any remaining funds at your discretion, but remember to live within your means.
- Monitor your spending pattern to determine where you can cut back or save money. I do this often to avoid being wasteful. There are several apps that I use to monitor my finances, one of my favorites being Mint. American businessman and author, Dave Ramsey, also has recommended dollar apps.
- Have a three to six month cushion of money that is based on your expected monthly expenses. In some circles, this is known as “F.U.” money. There is a level of comfort knowing that you can be financially stable for three to six months in the event that something unexpected happens.
- Strive to be debt-free. That is one principle that changed my life. Dave Ramsey is an expert on debt-free living. Reading his book, The Total Money Makeover, changed things for me tremendously. Can you imagine all the money you make coming to you instead of giving it to creditors? That alone had me sold!
- Once you’re debt-free, save and invest at least 10% of your income to start building the wealth that you want.
Secret #6: Practice Self Care for Your Well-Being
As physicians, we all know that health is priceless. We have witnessed the pain our patients endure and we’ve seen first-hand how hard life becomes when they are in no shape to carry out daily activities. None of the best designed plans can ever work if we are not in good health physically, spiritually, and emotionally to carry them out. That is why this secret is close to my heart. We need to take good care of ourselves so we can be of good service to our families and patients.
After boarding a plane, flight attendants caution passengers to put on their own oxygen masks before helping others. They say this because you cannot be of assistance to others if you are out of commission. This is advice that I wish I had taken sooner.
Below is a list self-care tips, some [if not all] of which I hope you can begin to implement if you have not already:
-Have a morning routine to get yourself up and moving
-Exercise at least 3 times a week (I prefer walking)
-Partake in gratitude journaling
-Get six to eight hours of sleep daily
-Manage your energy by avoiding things that drain you
-Limit on-screen entertainment (such as television and social media)
-Increase your presence in the home and in your loved ones’ lives
-Practice forgiveness because holding on to negativity can weigh you down more than you think
Everything that you’ve just read is an overview of the exact same process I followed to achieve and maintain a balanced life. Now that you know what to do, I am going to show you exactly how to achieve it successfully.
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Let’s work to get you the work-life balance you deserve!!!