An interview with

Are there any everyday methods or tricks you could share with us? Do you ever use any of them yourself?

Yes, absolutely! I like to focus on 3 things everyday that I’ve done well and write them down, if possible. This helps me stay in a positive frame of mind and remind me of all things that are going well. The reason is that so often it’s easy to be concerned about challenges at work or what’s going badly, we also have to focus on what is going well. This isn’t about saying it’s better than it is, and it’s certainly not about saying it’s worse than it is - it’s about saying it as it is.

I also like to journal about things that are on my mind to relieve stress and to stop ideas/thoughts flying around my head, especially at a time they’re not useful - like last thing at night! I have a blank notebook that I use, which is ideal for writing, mind maps, lists, drawings or any other type of scribbling. 

I love learning. I endeavour to learn something new everyday - even if that simply means skimming a blog online, reading a quote or discovering a new function of a software package.

Any tips for someone trying to impress at work following a period of maternity leave?

I think if you can come back to work having learned some new skills, done some online courses or read some relevant books, it would be really beneficial. There are lots of mums who have used the time off work to progress their careers. This is now more feasible than ever with the rise of ebooks and online learning. 

Also, the typical suggestion is to be as organised as possible for reentering the company so that you can really focus on your work from day one. This may mean getting other members of the immediate family, extended family, or professionals to help with child care or other household tasks (where possible). 

What is the key to achieving work/life balance?

I believe it’s important to work hard while your at work and actively recover once you’re finished work. This doesn’t mean that you sit on the couch and watch TV (while still thinking about the office) - this means planning your social calendar so that you can properly disengage from work in the evenings and get a mental break. Actives that  engage the body, mind (and spirit) are an excellent example of this (sport, music, meeting friends, shows etc).

Also, being productive is obviously key. It’s important to be aware that just because you’re in work a long time - doesn’t mean you’re productive. Being productive at work means having a to-do list and also a not-to-do list. In other words, prioritise what you need to do and what is nice to do. Then, focus on getting results, not just on putting in the hours!

I hope this helps and thanks for reading!