Outsourcing and learning to ask for help is a wise strategy to support you with work-life balance and to grow your opportunities.
I get asked a lot, “How do you do it all?”
While I am no longer working full time in clinical practice, I can definitely appreciate what it feels like to be a working person in need of help. Over the years I’ve realized that what allows me to be the best in all areas of life is being supported in the other areas.
It took me a long time to realize that it was okay to outsource things and to ask for help.
In today’s episode, I’ll walk you through:
- How to handle feeling overwhelmed
- Three areas of life that I’ve personally struggled with over the years (and ways I’ve been able to get more support)
- The true cost of things – Why it may not be “as expensive” as you think!
- The benefit to creating more “brain space”
While my perspective is as a mother of 3 young children, wife, business owner, and NP, I don’t believe that you have to be any of these things to earn the right to set your life up in a way that supports your success and goals.
So let’s dive in!
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When work/life balance doesn’t seem to exist…
If you are feeling overwhelmed with work life integration, try to take a step back and really examine what is giving you that feeling of overwhelm.
Identify each of the areas.
- What is really going on?
- What tasks, responsibilities or areas of ownership are really frustrating you and zapping all of your energy?
Dig into ways that you could do things differently that would help you align with how you want to feel. Here are some questions to consider:
- How do I want to feel about doing [this thing that I hate doing]?
- Do I have to be the one to do this thing, or can someone else do it?
- If money wasn’t an issue… what would I love to be able to do about this?
- What is one small thing that I could do today about this thing that would move me in the direction of feeling better about it?
Three areas of life where I’ve needed support (and how I got it)
The three areas that have been a struggle for me over the years?
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of stress when it comes to meals, mainly because this falls into my domain within my family. Here are some ways that I’ve gotten support over the years with meals:
When I was working straight overnight shifts in the ER, I did not want to be eating at the cafeteria, because that did not align with my health or budget goals.
So, I supported myself by spending a few hours before my first of 3 shifts making all my meals for all of them.
This was something that I built a routine for, so that I always had the right foods on hand to put together easy packable meals, and I made sure that I had childcare to get it done, or did it during kids nap time so that I didn’t feel rushed or hurried.
Following a Meal Plan
Over the years, I’ve purchased various online meal plans – some were e-cookbooks, some were meal plan subscriptions – to help me save time and brainspace when planning the family meals.
I’ve occasionally subscribed to meal kit services, like Hello Fresh, which while they were a bit more expensive than the meal plans, gave me back more of my time because the ingredients were delivered and pre-portioned.
Meal Delivery Service
I’ve had a few short stints of having a full meal delivery service for 3-5 dinners per week. This cost a bit more than the HelloFresh, but saved me even more time because I didn’t have to prepare the meals. Ultimately, this was the tipping point of what feels “worth it” for me. There were trade offs to the meal delivery – such as the fact that you have to reheat each meal so it isn’t the most fresh, and selections weren’t the most kid friendly so sometimes there was a lot of food waste.
Your situation may be similar to mine, or it might be quite different. Maybe you’re a single person, and preparing each meal doesn’t feel like a burden. or maybe you hate to cook and restaurant delivery most nights is worth the expense to you. All this to say, figure out what’s not working, what is, and challenge yourself when thinking about what options are available to you for support.
Childcare has definitely looked different over the years. When I was expecting the twins, we considered a lot of options, including using a daycare, having an au pair, and having a nanny. I had been telling myself that having a nanny would definitely be too expensive, so I almost didn’t consider it. But when I actually considered all the options, I realized that a nanny was less expensive than two infants in daycare. PLUS, it was much more flexible with my rotating work schedule! So we had a nanny for the first 3 years of the twins.
Now, with my twins being in kindergarten, I considered a few options for my youngest. I considered having a nanny or sitter a few days per week, but with the nature of my work, found it was best for me to have her out of the house and an environment where she could socialize. So she’s been in daycare three full days per week for the past year and will continue next year as well.
Mid-year this past school year, I realized that I could use some extra work time. I was really only able to work until about 2:45pm on the three days, because I had to get the twins off the bus, and then I couldn’t get much done for the rest of the day. I found out that there was an extended day program at school and enrolled them for just 2 days per week until the end of the school year. This was a much more affordable option than I thought it would be, and was definitely worth it because it allowed me to work more hours and justify the expense – not to mention they were having a blast with their friends.
I have been in various stages of tackling this area of life as well.
There was a time where I created a cleaning calendar rotation of how I would do the deep cleaning tasks in my home. Another time, where I invested in a program to help me learn how to be a better, more efficient cleaner.
More recently, when it got to the point where I could really feel comfortable with and justify the expense, I’ve decided to outsource the deep cleaning tasks twice per month. And honestly, it’s been some of the best money that I’ve spent! It’s not something that’s a big line item compared to how much money I’m able to make in the same amount of time. So it feels like an easy exchange, not to mention the sanity and the mental load that it saves me to have those things that I’m not worrying about.
There’s a lot of mental mental work that goes beyond just the physical paid work that one has to do. So sometimes it can be really beneficial to just create extra space in your brain by outsourcing other things that you have the benefit of being able to afford, if that’s something in reach for you.
Remember, you are worthy of help.
Now, your areas might look different from mine but what I hope this has shown you is that you are worthy of help. You deserve some degree of support that can be accessible to you regardless of your income, and sometimes it can even help you earn more if you are able to spend more time working as a result of gaining the support.
What area of life is feeling overwhelming to you right now? Where can you challenge yourself to seek support or outsource it? Let me know!
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