Finding Balance with Diana Kerr
When I wrote a post about how I schedule my work week and how I get it all done as a stay at home mom of a toddler and business owner of a growing, thriving business, the response was overwhelming. I quickly realized how many of you needed guidance for creating your own schedule and finding balance between work and life. I realized that we all want a glimpse of how others are making it work so we can better structure our own lives.
I believe that balance does exist and is actually necessary for our sanity and well being. Even though I hear often that balance doesn't exist, I feel that we each have our own version of balance and that we can find it in our lives. It's a process that we're all constantly living in and adjusting to in different seasons.
Because of this, I was inspired to start this series featuring other busy women and business owners sharing how they manage their schedules and work towards work/life balance. This series features talented and encouraging women like you and a look into what balance looks like for them. The idea is to share a real-life version of balance and how we each have our own variation of it depending on our life and season.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business or work.
Hey! I’m Diana. I’m a believer, a wife, and a mom to an 18 month-old, living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’m also a Certified Professional Life Coach for go-getter Christian women at dianakerr.com.
Take us through your typical day and your main daily responsibilities.
I don’t have a typical day—I kind of compartmentalize responsibilities based on the day—so here’s a typical week!
Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays are my work days. My son goes to daycare at our neighbor’s and I work 9-4. Mondays are for emails and important projects, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays I’m coaching my clients. After I pick up my son Harrington, we often go on a walk and then hang out till 6 when his dinner/bedtime routine begins. I often have a little Post-It of simple tasks I can accomplish during those couple hours that Harrington can participate in, but I try to limit my productivity and definitely my phone/computer use around him.
Thursdays/Fridays are mom and household days. I do household tasks, Harrington and I run errands and attend appointments, and sometimes we get together with someone for a walk or visit. We always get out of the house on Thursday and Friday mornings, even if just for something small like an errand. While Harrington naps I spend time with the Lord and then do a little computer work—mostly personal, family-related stuff. We have a household assistant who comes Thursday afternoons for three hours who does a lot of our cleaning, picks up groceries, and helps with other tasks so I can focus on the work and roles that only I can do!
Saturdays are often filled with plans with extended family or friends, and/or housework!
Sundays are our Sabbath. Other than church, we avoid making social plans unless it’s a really important family event. On Sundays I turn off my go-getter, list-loving personality and do whatever seems fun or relaxing in the moment—no errands, no lists, no housework—just time with the Lord and my family. I also give my brain space by disconnecting from email, social media, podcasts/audio content, and even my phone as much as possible.
How do you manage your schedule?
I love this topic! It’s one of my favorites to work through with my clients. Here’s what I use:
Google Calendar: To keep track of appointments with actual times or general dates I need to be reminded of.
Weekly routine: A spreadsheet I reference as a template for my schedule each week. My weekly routine decides for me how to use my time while my son naps, or reminds me to do laundry every Thursday morning. This helps me know that all the most important things do fit into my time each week, and anything else needs to fit around that!
Daily worksheet: This is my version of a planner. It’s just a piece of paper I print out to schedule each day in 15-minute increments. Not every chunk of time is super specifically planned out, but my work days definitely are. I love the accountability and knowing very realistically what I can accomplish in a day if I follow the plan versus making a big ol’ to-do list that might not even be possible. This also helps me start with the most important tasks first in case the day gets off schedule!
I decide what goes on my daily worksheet based on my Google Calendar, my weekly routine, and my task lists (which I keep in Todoist).
What is one thing you always make time for?
Quality, daily personal time with the Lord is non-negotiable. I am constantly having to tweak when that time is and what it looks like based on the season, but this is something the Holy Spirit has convicted me to always fight for, even when it feels difficult to fit in. I’ll admit I’m not always excited for this time, but I’m always, always so glad once I get started.
How do you find rest?
By listening to my husband and imitating his Enneagram 7-ness! Ha! (I’m a 1—always something to do or fix.) Really, though, God has brought me lightyears in this category and redeemed my doer nature a lot. There’s still room for improvement, but for now, rest looks like relaxing by 8:30ish each night, 8-9 hours of sleep, clear boundaries for myself in areas I need it, and of course our Sabbath days I mentioned!
How do you find the balance between work and home?
One of the biggest ways I find balance is by living off balance in a given day so that my week is balanced overall. God didn’t wire me to be able to juggle a bunch of things well—I like clear dividing lines. I love having a whole day of designated Sabbath, as well as very clear work times and boundaries to hold myself to. I was blessed to learn so much from coaching many entrepreneur moms before I had my son, which helped me realize I wouldn’t thrive as a mom fitting in work hours here and there while staying home with my son full-time. Our whole family is thriving with our M/T/W daycare situation and my very concrete work times, and I could cry right now typing this because I’m just so grateful for God’s blessing in that.
Tell us one thing that you have learned about finding balance in your life.
God’s taught me how to pay close attention to warning signs and course correct before things get too far out of control. (Something I didn’t always know how to do.) I guess that’s the epitome of true balance—you lean a little to one side but then lean back to the other before you fall off the bike (or the tightrope, or whatever picture works for you).
What is one piece of advice you would give readers about finding their own balance?
Be brave enough to cast aside other women’s version of balance to find what it looks like for YOU! Are you (Like Rachel!) the kind of working mom who finds balance WITHOUT child care? Awesome! Then don’t do it the way I do it. Are you an extrovert who wants to fill your Sabbath days with lots of people? Rock on! (I’ll be home reading.) We can live different versions of balance and cheer each other on in that.