As a society, we’re at the center of the most wonderful and inspiring shift—away from a time when women were relegated to the home with few, if any, options available as outlets for our industrious energy. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of women that came before us, today, we can take that energy into the business world.
But today’s modern woman is often faced with an unfortunate trade-off: being the breadwinner seems to mean swapping crib time for a corner office. Too often, I sit down with women who are early in their careers and early in motherhood, who stand at the crossroads of the choice between becoming a “stay-at-home-mom” or a “boss lady” at work.
My answer to them is always: we can have both! The trick comes down to our most valuable commodity: time. One of the most important things I can teach my children, my family, my coworkers, and First Media’s widespread community is that we all need to make time matter. When we prioritize every second of every day, not only do we get more done, but every moment becomes more valuable—from the hustle of mornings with the family to eliminating tedious meetings at the office.
This mission is exactly what my business, First Media, and our brands set out to remind women of every single day. We constantly find new ways to prove that hacking time can help the modern woman achieve Martha Stewart results without investing Martha Stuart time—not to mention Martha’s production crew behind the scenes and the time they put in! Over the years, I’ve learned that focusing on five hacks of my own gives me the opportunities I need to create success, both at home and at the office.
With The Kids, Every Moment Counts
Hauling children from school to sports and playdates in Los Angeles traffic can often seem like a mind-numbing chore. But when I’m feeling stuck behind the wheel, remembering that every moment counts inspires me to connect with my family during the precious time we do have together. Recently on the morning drive to school, one of my daughters revealed that she didn’t like public speaking. We spent the commute planning a presentation that she could give class to class, throughout her 5th grade. She learned to prepare with intention and how to overcome her nervousness.
It’s not just the short periods of time that matter with children, though. I also prioritize meaningful one-on-one time through short vacations where I can spend 24 hours alone with the kids—without any work interruptions. Carving the time out of a seven-days-a-week job can be difficult, but even one day makes a huge difference when it comes to family bonding.
No Tech At Dinner
Dinner in our family is very important. This is the time of day when we are all winding down from work, school, sports and activities, when we can all spend some quality time together. We have a rule we’ve all agreed upon to combat our constant immersion in technology: no tech at dinner. We all put our phones down and focus on important conversations. Every night, we ask the best and worst part of each other’s day, which is a meaningful exercise whether you’re 12 or 40 years old. Sometimes, we play a card game with conversation prompts that provides another way to share what’s going on in our lives from a different perspective.
Think of Life Like Waze
Too often, technology allows us all to switch our brains off. Mapping apps like Waze provide the destination, the route, and the directions for how to get there. But I teach my family and my team at the office that thinking of life like Waze actually provides a good template for achieving goals: prioritize the destination, make an actionable list, adjust to life’s changes, and find a few stops for fun. Knowing from the beginning that we will definitely rework the route helps us all focus on the moments that count along the way, while saying no to what’s not important.
Outsource What You’re Not Good At
Outsourcing may seem like a strictly business term, but our family thinks about outsourcing differently. We know that everyone has their strengths, from public speaking to math or sports, and we talk about outsourcing when we need to ask for help with something we’re not good at. Much like at the office, the whole team will always be able to get more done when everyone can focus on their strengths, which requires clear communication between every team member. If everyone has to struggle with tasks they know they’re not good at, too much time gets wasted in shame or guilt, which drains energy and burns away our precious time.
Think Big Every Minute of Every Day
At the office, I always think big. Anything anyone does at work should always be about the big picture. When I want to make a deal, I want it to be a big deal—and the same goes for our clients and partners. But this also translates to family life, as well. We all need to be ALL IN at home and at work, which means saying no to what’s not important and to avoid multitasking as much as possible (we might all think we’re great at multitasking, but we’re not). Thinking big means making our moments together count, which helps us see our children for who they are and helps them become who they’re meant to be, rather than who we want them to be.
These life hacks represent the ways I’ve found to improve my day-to-day, both at work and at home. Respect your time—it’s a real resource—and optimize the places where you spend time. Engage with the things that will make you, your business, and your family more productive and more efficient. The clock is ticking and every second counts.