As we close the book on the psychological thriller that was 2020, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want Chapter 1 of 2021 to look like. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that 2020 opened my eyes to a lot of things. While there’s no denying it was a year of tragedy and heartache for so many, and that fact is nowhere near lost on me, it was also a pivotal year for me personally.

2020 was the year that highlighted my priorities and made them clear to me. The pandemic slowed me down in a way that I didn’t know I needed until I was in the middle of it. It forced me to stop the constant traveling I was doing, and it allowed me to work from within my home—both in business and in my relationships. It gave me the opportunity to shift gears and learn that it’s okay to not be able to do ALL the things, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to delegate, and it’s okay to let some things sit for a day while I spend endless hours making TikTok videos with my kiddos for no other reason than there is healing in our time together and in their laughter.

Outfit Details:

Brandy Melville striped sweater (similar here under $20), Frame Jeans (similar here under $30), gratitude journal 

All of this has lead to a lot of thinking as I’ve been narrowing down my focus and what I want my goals to be. I shared on my social media pages that my word for 2021 is “Family.” They’re the reason I wake up every single day, and they give me purpose. But they’re also the first thing that sometimes has to wait when it comes to big business meetings or the endless travel I was doing up until last year. Which is why I want this year to be different. There HAS to be more of a balance between work and family for everyone involved. I’ve learned that I personally need more balance so that I can keep showing up as the best Heidi I can be in meetings, for the Transform community, and most importantly, for my kids. I can’t give 110% to all the things all the time, but I can give 100% of myself to each of these things in their own space and time, and that, my friends, is my goal for 2021.

Why is it important to find more of a balance between work and life?

Chronic stress is one of the most common causes of burn out and dissatisfaction when it comes to work, even when you love your job. When you give something your all and you’re go-go-going every single day without taking a moment to pause, you can actually be putting your health at risk. Stress can lead to heart disease, digestive issues, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even weight gain, even when you’re doing something you love. That’s why it’s so important to find that healthy balance between home life and work so you can wake up each day refreshed and get back to doing what you love instead of working yourself into the ground until you’re so exhausted you forget why you started in the first place.

How to find a better work/life balance in 2021

Be Present

I want 2021 to be the year where I become the best mom ever. Okay, not really. I know she doesn’t exist (other than my mom, of course). But I want this year to be one where we all look back on the memories we made together. I want to spend more time doing and less time planning. I want to take my kids on adventures and teach them things that will shape them into the amazing humans I know they’re becoming. I want to gift them with experiences instead of material things. And I want to enjoy every dang second I spend with them in the here and now. Simply put, I plan on setting clearer boundaries and being more intentional with what I say yes to, but more on that below.

We hear this all the time, right? “Be present,” and as we hustle through life, driving around the carpools, cooking the dinners, and trying to do our best supermom impressions, it’s not easy to exist in the here and now. It’s especially not easy if you never give yourself any alone time. Listen, it’s time to a) give yourself more YOU time and b) put down your phone. The IG scrolling can wait until after the kids go to bed. Being present means having your mind engaged in where you are and what you are doing, listening to the conversations you are having, and experiencing the atmosphere you’re in. If you’re watching a movie with your kids, that means smelling the snacks, listening to the giggles, and not scrolling through your emails. Let me repeat: The emails, IG scrolling, and whatever the heck else is on that phone can wait. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but once you see that the world will go on if you decompress for the night, that kind of fear will stop controlling you.

If you need to check in with yourself to regain “the present,” ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my mind where my body is right now or am I thinking about my endless to-do list? Make sure your mind is present with where your body physically exists.
  • What is perfect about this moment right now?
  • What can I feel or physically see?

If you still struggle to be present, ask yourself, “What activities do I love to do that keep me in the present in a way that I forget about the past and the future?” For me, it’s working out, and for so many others, physical activity usually does the job. It can also be something as simple as painting or color (yes, this is why they invented adult coloring books). You guys, we are so lucky to be alive in this world, and the truth is, being in the present truly is a gift. Embrace it! Your mind, body, and soul will be happy you did.

Work Smarter, NOT Harder

Unlike building a brand, a business, or an empire where I have unlimited attempts to create what I want (and I know my ability to do so), I only get one shot at this kid raising thing. ONE. No do-overs. No repeats. Just one. And I have at least a handful of reasons why this one shot matters so much, so I better make it count. This doesn’t mean I’m going to completely turn my back on my businesses, far from it. I love what I do, and what I have in the pipeline excites me, guys, and I can’t wait to share everything with you.

In order to work on everything I know needs my time and attention, I have to say no to some projects and set limits on the projects that are currently on my plate. The irony about endlessly pounding the pavement is that after a 55-hour work week, productivity “falls off a cliff so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours” according to a recent study. Gosh dang it, you guys, those are 15 precious hours we could have spent prioritizing our kids and our own needs.

But how do we work smarter? 

  • Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.
  • Accept that you can’t do it all, trim the to-do list, and delegate
  • Measure your results, NOT your time (goal success > hours spent not producing)
  • Advocate for yourself by clearly communicating your boundaries (and stick to them!)

Be Intentional + Increase Mindfulness

Learning when to say no has been difficult, and I can’t pretend like it hasn’t. But, it’s also been completely empowering and has helped me grow as a mom, a business owner, and as a woman. Being intentional with who or what gets my time is one of the best decisions I can ever make for myself. Knowing who to allow in my circle or a seat at my table is big because, ultimately, I want to surround myself with the kind of people I can learn from, the kind that can help push me to be my best self and set examples for me when I come up short. Learning the types of tasks that may be necessary, but steal my focus and steal my time, will have to be modified this year. With the way stress negatively impacts our lives, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be intentional.

How do we do this? Stop multitasking, slow down, and check-in with yourself. I know, multitasking and going at the speed of light can be seemingly essential to our busy schedules, but hear me out! Studies have shown that multitasking reduces productivity by 40%, and it greatly increases our chance of errors. Just think, the person I mentioned above working 70 hours is not only already losing 15 hours of work, but if he/she is multitasking, then there is a 40% decrease in productivity beyond that, not including the large increase in work errors. You see, a lot of this goes together. Research also shows that the less multi-tasking we do, the more positive feelings we have towards task performance (makes sense based on the above statement), not to mention improved memory for the tasks that were performed. Honestly, the happier we are in many aspects of our lives, the more intentional and mindful we can be with the people we work with and our family/community.

Related: Why I set “no” as my New Year’s Resolution in 2017.

Prioritize YOU

Putting myself first is something that hasn’t come easily for me, and if you’re anything like me, then you can probably relate. It’s hard to put Heidi at the top of my list when I have so many other people and so many other things that need my attention. But guys, how can we show up for others if we’re not showing up for ourselves? Self-care should always be a priority for us so we CAN find the balance and we CAN avoid the stress and burnout that often comes with all the things on our plate. Even if it’s just ten minutes a day, meditate, journal, pray, go for a walk, get that workout in. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, make time to do that thing and keep it high on your priority list.

What is your word for 2021? What is a promise you’re going to make to yourself, or what are you going to do to help you find the beauty of slowing down or introduce more balance into your life?

xo,

Related reading:

New Year, New Goals?
Working Moms: The Glory and the Struggle
Goal Setting: 3 Things Making You Play Life Small
Essentials for Staying Sane As a Busy/Working Mom
Top 5 Daily Time-Savers (Lifesavers) for Everyday Mamas