Dear Tee,

What is one way you manage the scheduling demands of work and family?

Funny you should ask. A few weeks ago there was an article  that discussed how the world’s most successful women make the most of their time. Until this article, I had no idea my balancing act had a name.

It’s called the split shift.

Instead of working a straight 8-5, I have informally adapted the split. Here’s a typical day.

Before I go into the office I check my email and revise my to-do list for the day. Then I do family stuff (help the kids get ready for school, make breakfast, take them to the bus stop). When I know they are ready for their day, I am ready to move on with my day. I work until 4:30ish, then I dedicate the evening to family and working out. Once the kids are in bed (usually by 9 p.m.) I finish any work I didn’t get done during the day.

This working split shift accomplishes three important things.

First, it allows me to be fully present where I am, without worrying about the other. I’m not at work concerned about my kids, and I’m not with my family thinking about work.

Secondly, it allows me to be a happy working mom. I’m sure it’s possible, but I would struggle emotionally if there were no flexibility in my schedule. I am way more productive because I have some control over how I spend the hours of my day.

Third, I can work in a way that fits my personality. Some people do their best work at 7 in the morning. I am not one of them. My best time to be productive begins around 8:30ish. That being said, I don’t need a lunch break in the middle of the day, so I typically eat at my desk. Mini breaks throughout the day work much better for me.

I hope this helps you with your journey of family, work and life!


This post is part of the “Ask Tee” advice column. Have a question about managing work, family and fun? Send it my way!