Time management coach, Janice Windt, specialises in taking working mothers from a space of stress, anxiety and guilt, to feeling present and in control – able to thrive both at work, and at home. Windt is also a speaker at the inaugural The Baby Show and #Meetup sponsored by Pampers, taking place at Kyalami International Convention Centre in September. Nicole Muller, mom of two and Show Director for The Baby Show said “Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs. Training to be a doctor takes five years and more yet in nine months you must prepare for your biggest life changing moment of raising your little new miracle! Try and remember that, working or not, if you don’t get it right all the time, it’s OK!’’


Here Windt offers 9 golden nuggets of advice for working moms to get the work/life balance they crave.


  • Ditch your to-do-list for a mind map

How long is your to-do list? Do you ever get even a third of the way through? What if you had a complete view of your life commitments on one single page? It’s time you discovered mind maps. A mind map is set out in exactly the same way as your brain thinks: a central topic is identified, and main topics are added around it. Then, as information is added, it is classified under the appropriate topic and the map forms around the subject under discussion. Eventually you have a complete picture of the key information about the main subject: the demands on your time. As opposed to a linear to-do list, a mind map enables you to prioritise instantly, complete your most important actions and make strides towards your most important objectives for this season.


  • Identify your 20%

In the late 1800s, Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. While gardening, he also observed that 20% of the pods he had planted yielded 80% of the peas. Thus the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, was born. As interesting as Pareto’s gardening findings are, what value do they add to the life of an incredibly busy working mother? It’s simple. If you can focus on your priority tasks, you will find that 20% of your to-do list will yield 80% of the benefits you seek. The question is, what is your 20%?


  • Say no to low priorities

“No” is one of the most difficult words to say. How good are you at this one? What’s holding you back from saying no to your low priority roles? Or from delegating them? The truth is you don’t have time to be everything to everyone. What do you want to focus on? In order to achieve your goals you may have to learn to say no to everything that doesn’t serve your core purpose. “A mother’s instinct is extremely strong, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and trust your gut, mothers really do know best,’’ says Muller.


  • Create a daily ritual to get the hard stuff done, with pleasure

Windt once interviewed the Regional Head of Business and International Communications for the African region of an international bank. She worked full time with international travel and at the time had two sons aged two and four. In order to get her focused work time in, she would wake up at 4am each morning and light candles around her computer (particularly in winter) in order to feel that the time she had was closer to self-care, than self-preservation. By creating a daily ritual, you’ll find that your priorities get done almost effortlessly, at the time of day that is best for you.


  • Schedule your ‘yes’ time

When is your most creative time of the day? What changes do you need to make in order to manage your energy better and make the most of that effective time? “I’m a night owl” says Windt. “I’m programmed to peak in my focus and creativity once the rest of the house is in bed” she comments. “I can focus when our home is quiet and I know I will have a lovely long stretch of uninterrupted time to focus on my high priority tasks, so I schedule this time in” she advises. “A word of caution though, this does tend to have a knock-on effect for the next morning. I try to keep my night owl tendencies under control; using these precious hours only when I’m working on big projects that will make significant strides towards my seasonal purpose.”


  • Choose an exercise, food, and bedtime that you’ll enjoy.

Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and fitting in regular exercise are the basics to living a long and healthy life, but lets be honest, they are the first things to go. “Identify the goal you have in mind, and then create your exercise routine around this. One of my clients wants to scale the Pategonian mountain ranges in the Andes/ and another wants to be able to kick a ball around with her kids – these goals require vastly different levels of exercise” comments Windt.


  • Master the 5 second rule

It’s easy to get up once, go to the gym, come home aching, and hit the snooze button for the next three mornings thereafter. That’s normal. But it doesn’t help you get the work-life balance you so desperately crave. “There is a solution” advises Windt. “The Mel Robbins ‘five second rule’. You simply count backwards from five every time you choose to do something you don’t instinctively want to do, but that you know you should do” she continues. “Before you hit 1, you need to be physically up and engaging in your priority activity. This way you will override your croc (primitive) brain before it stops you.” Try it. It works. Visit melrobbins.com for more information.


  • Delegate with pride

“When you next look at your life map (the mind map version of your old to-do list), think critically about the things you can potentially outsource or delegate to others. Then do it.” advises Windt. ‘’No little one is the same and there is not one standard handbook that will apply to all parenting, you must find your own way, remember being a mum doesn’t mean you have to do everything perfectly, learn to let go,’’ says Muller.


  • Make time to play

“There are many ways to set aside time for play. You may choose to have a family pyjama day every other week; play board games; braai; roast marshmallows; and build lego castles” advises Windt. “Leave the house exactly as it is and warn visitors to stay away!” she continues. “It’s beautiful just to have that unstructured time together.”


To hear Janice speak live, visit babyshow.co.za to book you tickets to the #MeetUp with Meg Faure on Saturday, 29 September during the Parent Sense Session brought to you by Old Mutual.

For weekly inspiration to Make. Life. Work. sign up at janicewindt.com. You’ll get access to free audio training and awesome templates created just for you, as well as all the inside information on Janice’s new book: #THEJUGGLEISREAL: A Survival Guide to Modern Motherhood

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