I’ve seen other parents do it and watch on, dumbstruck by their superpowers. When it comes to work-life balance, they juggle, tend to needs and all without so much as a drop of sweat or raised eyebrow. What I’m referring to is people working while their kid(s) are around. And I’m not talking about in another room while someone else is watching said kids. I’m talking about getting your job done while your kid is right next to you. I am not one of these people.
I’ll admit it; I am not nor have I ever been super into little babies. My bread and butter is the toddler age. Now that my daughter is 2, I find myself wanting to spend even more time with her. She says the funniest things and we are almost always chattering when we’re together. She’s my little buddy.
I am also becoming starkly aware that she is aware that the time she does get with me is not enough. She frowns when I drop her off at school. She makes comments when I’ve been away, like, “Momma come home! Momma you gone. Momma come home!”
Just the other day, I decided to let her go to school late because she was enjoying her new birthday toys and playing quietly. And when a kid plays quietly, that’s the sweet stuff – a magical time where parents can get stuff done. I decided it was Twitter time. I tiptoed into my office, snagged my laptop and went back to the living room. She was still super focused on her toys, so I started typing. The clicking of a keyboard is apparently Pavlov’s bell to a toddler; she came running over in excitement thinking I was putting on one of her favorite shows. I told her I was working and turned the computer around to show her Tweetdeck. Her eyes widened.
“Ooo! I like-a-that, Mom,” she exclaimed as she walked back to her toys.
As she started to play, I went back to work knowing that I had mere minutes before she wouldn’t allow this to go on any longer. I got a lot less than I bargained for as she came right back and started hitting my laptop.
“No, Mom! No, Mom! I no like it!” She hates Twitter.
I shut my laptop with the realization that I have an issue managing my time and setting boundaries for myself regarding where my professional life ends and my personal life begins. This is the conundrum for many social media marketers, especially those who work outside of the office: time management and social media. When so much of this job is about connecting and being connected, where does the day end.
Social media marketing isn’t a conventional 9-to-5 job, but that doesn’t mean your personal life has to suffer. Here are some tips for keeping your work and home life (a little more) separate.
Personal Social Accounts are Personal
When I first started as a social media manager my personal Facebook account was connected to all of our clients’ accounts. This is great from a managing perspective, but not so great for keeping work and life separate. I was constantly getting comments and updates all over the place and felt obliged to answer questions at all hours. I found myself sending emails to clients late at night so they could get them as soon as possible. No bueno. If you don’t use an outside source for keeping up with Facebook, create an account that is just for work.
Set Some Boundaries
Knowing when to quit has always been an issue for me and this is made even more difficult because I work out of my home. If you work outside of the office, set a schedule – your own hours of operation – that align with your clients’ hours and stick to them. Of course there will be times that you have to work outside of those hours, but knowing that you have them will help tremendously when it comes to that work-life balance.
Put the Phone Down
I am the worst about this, but I do really love social media. And because I love social media, my face is buried in a screen of some sort the majority of the day. My phone is the biggest culprit. How handy to have the Internet everywhere! I’m telling you, people, we live in the future. Whenever my family is home, I try my damnedest to put the phone away and only use it when they are out of the room. I don’t want my kid’s memories of me be some lady with a phone in front of her face. How sad. Put down your phones, folks. Added bonus: It makes your eyes happy, too.
While social media marketing isn’t a traditional job, it doesn’t mean that there is a dire need to be connected at all times. Learning to set some boundaries for yourself can go a long way when it comes to your overall happiness with your career.
We want to hear from you! What measures have you taken to keep your personal and work life separate?