Today, millennials are moving into management roles, working more hours, all while starting to become parents. The clashing of professional and personal responsibilities is making it harder than ever for millennials to achieve work-life balance. According to Shannon Miles, CEO of virtual solutions company BELAY, parents should explore a third option for their careers: working a job with flexible hours in a flexible environment. By choosing this third option, parents can alleviate stress or guilt from feeling like they must choose between their career or family, and instead can focus on creating balance between the two.
Miles reports struggling to balance her career and her role as a new mother in the past. “I felt like I wasn’t doing anything well; like I wasn’t giving anything a 100%”. She decided to approach her past employer about working part time, remotely, for the company. She believed it would better help her family as well as her work since she would only focus on one client rather than multiple.
Flexing her work schedule from a flexible environment still took some getting used to. Miles points out that it was about a year before she started to figure out how to be realistic about what could actually be accomplished in a day. She struggled as she compared her current performance, both at home and at work, to her past performance.
Here are 5 tips for successfully working part-time remotely:
1. Let go of expectations
Miles shares an experience that many millennials can relate to, she reports walking around for a long time with a perception of how she thought her life was “supposed to look”. She says she put internal pressure on herself and she needed to develop the self-awareness that this pressure was coming from within. She began by reframing what her “best” looked like both at home and as a professional. This allowed her to let go of expectations. Once she gained that self-awareness she was able to let it go, she was able to create more room for balance and happiness.
2. Ask for help
A big part of re-defining balance in Miles’ life had to do with recognizing what other people could do for her. She suggests getting someone else to clean the house, run errands, or take care of the yard. By working part time remotely, the financial resources were there to outsource some of the responsibilities. Tapping your friends and family for support is key too. With a flexible schedule, you will have more freedom to exchange in an equal give-and-take when any party needs help.
3. Create a dedicated space
A dedicated physical space for work with limited distractions is the goal for everyone. People who typically work from an office, often report needing to bring work home because there are fewer distractions. On the flip side, if your home is your office, a dedicated space should be carved out to limit those distractions. Try to avoid doing work in your child’s playroom or from bed, as those are spaces your mind associates with other things. If working from home is still too stressful, Miles suggestions “leaving the home for set periods of time,” or exploring co-working spaces.
4. Be realistic about your to-do list
What people want to get done in a day and what can actually be accomplished in a day are two very different things. Miles says this realization was a pivotal moment in achieving balance and alleviating stress. In the past, she would “make lists of what needs to get done, but it was never enough.” She reports falling into a trap that many people fall into where she would write down three things on her to-do list for the day. Once she finished them, she would add three more, and the cycle would continue. Miles says it became, “this nightmare of running down a hallway that keeps getting longer and longer”. Instead, she recommends people feel happy about what they did accomplish that day and when they finish their to-do list, start on the list for the next day. Another suggestion she has it to schedule your to-do’s on your calendar while leaving buffer space for the unexpected. Practice saying “no” and avoid over committing yourself in a given day.
5. Forgive yourself and adjust
If you are going to choose a flexible work environment, Miles suggests being gentle with yourself and practicing a lot of self-forgiveness. The “mental pull of trying to do it all at once is exhausting.” She says forgiveness is key if you are going to make it work for the long term because you will need to sacrifice things along the way. For instance, you can’t always be there to build legos and or take every professional opportunity that arises. Instead of pushing the discomfort down, try to adjust your schedule for the coming days to balance the areas you feel are being neglected.
While the learning curve for balancing a remote part-time position exists, the rewards are immeasurable. Companies can retain employees who truly care about their job and are choosing to stay with the company by offering this type of flexibility. Employees can focus on finding fulfillment in multiple areas of their lives and feel supported by their employer.
This article was written by Rachel Ritlop from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.