Every day is inevitably a balancing act. I’m always rushing, usually late, but always make the effort to be in-the-moment. A typical day is running around between meetings for Cricket’s Circle, trying to sneak in a field trip with my son’s class, finding time to have a date with my husband (even a walk home from the office suffices) or grabbing manicures with a friend (and if not a friend, I’m at least taking a conference call at the same time). Here are a few of the tricks I try to abide by along the way.
1. Try to avoid multi-tasking.
I’m an A+ multi-tasker (as are most women!) however I find when I can focus on my son, Griffin, and nothing else, I’m more relaxed and I enjoy my time with him so much more – and he’s the most engaged. I try to devote that full hour in the morning or before bed to him and nothing else (sometimes I’ll sneak an Instagram of him in there) and then it’s 100% work or husband time.
2. Set boundaries, priorities and learn to say “No”.
This is definitely easier said than done, but I do my best to abide by this mantra. I’ve realized that every day I have a list of priorities and then I have my email. If I allow email to dictate my day I’ll never accomplish anything on my list. Email is essentially someone else’s homework for me, whereas my “to do list” are the items that will move my company along faster and more impactfully. Being ok with saying “No” to opportunities or not responding to someone the minute they email takes restraint but it trains you to prioritize.
3. Support your partner’s work and passions.
My husband, Neil, and I have known each other since college and have always supported each other’s work and passions. When I built and ran my first business, jewelry brand Rachel Leigh, at 23, Neil very much encouraged me to take the risk and I’m forever appreciative. Neil was building and running a social enterprise at the time, taking him to the far stretches of the world 3 weeks at a time. While I hated being away from him (this was before video Skype) I knew he was doing something that was meaningful to him. Neil later went on to launch Warby Parker and I Cricket’s Circle. There are no guarantees with start-ups, it’s a lot of risk, a lot of reward and endless unknowns but having trust in your partner enables you to feel more risk averse. Neil has never made me feel guilty for missing an event or living a non-traditional life (I’ve probably cooked dinner 5 times since he’s known me), rather he wholeheartedly supports my work. And I do the same with him – I barely even blinked when he told me he had an important conference in the Bahamas to go to 8 days after our son was born. While he may not know how the toilet paper or refrigerator stays stocked, he’s the one that wakes up with our son every morning so I can catch up on sleep. I wouldn’t be the parent, CEO or person I am without him.
4. There’s no “right” way to do something.
The best part about being an entrepreneur is that you have the freedom to follow your gut, think outside of the box and ignore the norms. Entrepreneurs are required to take risks and make hundreds of decisions every day. If you’re trying to do what someone else already did and apply it to your category or market, it will never succeed. Being in tune with the problem you are trying to solve and authentically addressing it is the best way to see impact. Surrounding yourself with people that are smarter and more successful than you will ensure a steep learning curve. Always ask questions, seek advice and never settle for the status quo.
5. Make time for yourself.
No matter how busy you are, try to at least give an hour to yourself at some point in the day. I do Bikram or hot vinyasa yoga – it’s the best trick for calming down and having a peaceful moment to myself. It’s way too hot to do anything but focus on breathing! I may not have the time to pop into a store to buy a few new things here and there but I definitely take time to check out what’s new online (my favorite sites are Zara, Net-a-Porter and One Kings Lane). I go to acupuncture once a week to prevent headaches and a weekly manicure is important to me (long nails make me crazy).
Trying to balance career and family can be a daunting challenge, you never feel like you’re thriving at either, but I believe it can be done. While I would say what I’ve sacrificed is time for myself, what I’ve gained far outweighs that small sacrifice. I truly love what we’re building at Cricket’s Circle, and believe we’re solving a problem that new moms encounter every day. Our team works incredibly hard and we’re all balancing personal and professional lives, but I know we’re on our way to building something impactful and I’m very proud of that.