I’m A Career-Focused Mom Who Stopped Working Late. Here’s Why.

As an ambitious and career-focused mom, I have not always practiced the art of leaving the office on time. As I continue to grow in my career and continue to raise my son, I learn more and more every day how vital my presence is to his future, his success, my health, and my success as well.  I want to share with you all why I genuinely believe that to achieve the highs of both professional and personal life we must learn to turn off work and leave the office on time at least 80% of the time.

The CEO of Coca-Cola gave an amazing speech that I continue to look to on days when I try to push the clock at work. He said the following:

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.

Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if its value is valued.”

This speech really impacted the way I began to see how I managed time in the office. As a young woman of color who is also a single mom, I pride myself on being able to excel in everything that I have put my mind to when it comes to my career – but at what cost?

Family: Not leaving on time has led me to scuff the ball on family because I am missing precious minutes that I won’t get back with my son. Time that we could go to the park before it gets dark, time to read just one more book, time to watch his favorite movie, time to cook together, and so much more goes down the drain when I am pushing the clock to finish a business plan (ewww…). My son will begin to remember days that he had to spend time with babysitters, nannies, and various friends and coworkers because mom chose to spend just 30 more minutes at work. This is a ball that I will no longer drop.

Health: I have really scuffed the ball of my health while trying to maintain this constant “Go-Getter” mentality. My eating habits are extremely poor due to not leaving work on time. I have to pick up fast-food on the way home which leads to poor nutrition for myself and more importantly I am teaching my son bad eating habits. I have also missed the hours at the gym where they offer childcare which in turn affects my fitness level. This is something that I know many career-driven moms can relate to but no more! Say it with me “This is a ball that I will no longer drop!”

Friends: So many times, I have canceled dinner with friends because of a tight deadline that I am trying to reach at work. That friend may have needed to talk about something really important to them and I let them down. Friendships, relationships, and social circle health are all vital to your well-being as a human. Never take advantage of those for whom you call friend because of work. Once again, this is a ball that I will no longer drop.

Spirit: Your spirit is the most important ball of all in my eyes. Without a good spirit you are useless to your work, friends, health, family, and most importantly yourself. Pushing the clock damages your spirit. In your mind, it’s a game of tug-of-war between everything that matters in your professional life versus everything that matters in your personal life. Teach yourself to be okay with leaving work undone. It will still be there in the morning. No one is going to die (unless you are surgeon, in that case do not leave the patient undone!) if you walk away from the desk at your scheduled time. It will be okay, and you will survive. You will feel a sense of relief, happiness, joy, and peace once you pick your spirit up off of the floor. This is a ball that I will no longer drop.

No longer will we drop the balls that matter. Work will always bounce back because you are a hard-working mom with amazing talent. Be good to your family and most of all yourself and leave work on time!

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