“Having it all” sometimes feels like an unattainable goal, but there are some bad-ass women out there who are pretty close to making it happen. Juggling career and family is at least twice the work, so these professionals have come up with some fool-proof hacks for dealing with whatever life throws their way. Whether it’s using their commute to catch up on calls or getting outside help when things get too crazy, these life-saving hacks make the path to success seem easier to navigate than ever.
1. Befriend technology
For Lauren Garcia, head of industry at Google, technology is a total time-saver. “Instacart is probably my most crucial tool, as I can literally be anywhere and ensure we have a fridge full of groceries before the end of the day. This has saved me hours on the weekend that I can now give back to spending with my husband and son. Google Express and Amazon Prime are also essentials. From school supplies to birthday party gifts to household essentials, I can pretty much have anything at my door within 24 to 48 hours.”
2. Use a food delivery service
“I loved cooking every night when I was home more often. Now, I have Blue Apron delivered every week. That way I make sure there are nutritious, home-cooked meals, no matter who’s home to prepare dinner. My husband is becoming quite the chef,” shared CNBC correspondent Contessa Brewer.
3. Practice the “15 for 30” rule
“I’m convinced that doing 15 minutes of prep at night saves 30 in the morning,” said Beth Kerley, global director of communications and PR for Build-a-Bear Workshop. “Prepping my work bag, gathering my infant and toddlers’ school stuff, doing a sweep of the house — getting lunch bags, breakfast bowls, etc. out the night before makes a big difference in the morning.”
4. Minimize your personal routine
“Reduce that which is required to look professional,” advised Felicite Moorman, CEO of STRATIS and BuLogics. “I have a wash-and-go, no-color hairstyle and I only use clear nail polish if I splurge on a manicure or pedicure. When traveling, I only ever do carry-on, no matter what. I wear dresses and repeat purchase shoes I fall in love with. I wear minimal makeup (and use my blush on my eyelids), and I do all my shopping online and use Stitch Fix for refreshers to keep my wardrobe on trend.”
5. Work from home as often as possible
Priyanka Prakash, managing editor of Fit Small Business, recommends occasionally working from home. “For me, working from home saves one-and-a-half to two hours in commute time, so I try to do this occasionally. If you have a job that you can do from home, try to work out a reasonable work-from-home schedule with your manager.” It’s becoming more and more common these days to work remotely, so it might be worth bringing up.
6. Prioritize your health
“Being a full-time mom, doctor and type 1 diabetic can be challenging. Not only do I have to keep track of my sugar levels, but people living with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease,” shared Dr. Natalie Strand, anesthesiologist and pain management specialist (and first woman to win The Amazing Race). Instead of ignoring your health when you get busy, it’s even more important to pay attention — a little effort now could save you a lengthy hospital or dentist trip down the road.
7. Take up meditation
Taking a few minutes in the morning to refocus can make you more efficient. Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com, recommends the meditation app Omvana. “I use it for 10 minutes each morning, and that allows me to set my intentions for a productive day. It helps me to stay organized and on track and feel a little less frazzled.”
8. Become a master planner
Last-minute schedule changes are stressful for Amy Rosenow, CEO and cofounder of Jugl. Instead, she recommends planning your family’s schedule out in two-week increments. “Map out the plan for all the kids’ activities (what events, what they need to bring, who is driving) and confirm evening plans and travel with your partner to help you plan meals and determine if you need a babysitter. By focusing on what is coming at you the following week, you can avoid the massive pain of preventable last-minute fire drills.”
9. Make a tried-and-true list
Staying organized isn’t always easy, but using digital services in addition to traditional lists helps Samantha Avneri, marketing director at Regpack, stay on track. “I use Google Inbox and reminders to ensure I don’t forget anything — deadlines at work, snack day at school, etc. If it isn’t in my calendar or a reminder in my inbox, it honestly won’t happen,” she said. “I also make a paper list every Monday morning for work. This helps me start my week off with a great visual of what needs to get done, and when,” she told us.
10. Catch up on phone calls during your commute
“I save phone calls and book conference calls to coincide with my commute to and from work, so I do not waste time in traffic,” said Caroline Moses Sprouse, social media marketing manager for Nissan North America.
11. Plan a weekly family meeting
Doing a run-through for the week ahead on Sunday helps make sure you and the rest of the family are on the same page. “We host a weekly survival meeting,” Rachel Sobel Fobes, a TV producer, said. “We run through the week and figure out who is traveling, how our kids are getting to school and picked up, if we need any outside help… basically, how to keep us all alive, well and on schedule for the week. It sets the tone for us and eliminates daily logistical struggles.”
12. Give yourself an at-home schedule
Sometimes, it’s important to respect your schedule at home as much as you respect your schedule at work. Chloe Rosenthal, HR director at &pizza, told us, “My boss knows that I am 100% dedicated to my work, but from 7 to 9 p.m., it’s all about family time, whether that is family dinner, playing a family game or helping the kids with homework. If I need to, I get back on my computer later to catch up any work I may have missed during that time.”