The second of three blog posts providing my recap from Kiki McLean’s WWPR annual meeting keynote.

Working women everywhere are asking…“Can I have it all?” A successful career AND a rewarding, full personal and family life. – Kiki’s response was, “Yes, you can. But, not at the same time!” A bit tongue and cheek but it’s true. Psychology Today agrees.

A Huffington Post blog put it this way — “Think about it…how wonderful would it be if women at all stages of their careers and in all their roles could define clearly what they want in their lives, find and follow their passions, design a structure around them that allows for both a rich career and family life — strike out on their own, with a little help from their networks. And leave time for an occasional morning chat with a friend over coffee.”

Which Mountains Can You Climb – WHEN AND HOW?

You will need to make choices…perhaps daily, short term and even long term. Should I work late and miss date night? When in my career path might I best be able to start a family? I’ll be the lead career now but in five years, it will be my partner’s turn. Figure out what is important to you. Communicate it clearly to other key stakeholders and stick to it.

“Wouldn’t it be strange to hear a man say, ‘I want to be a doctor, unless I get married and have children?” — Margaret Mead in an excerpt from a James Baldwin interview.

Kiki shared how her family set boundaries. Whenever possible, breakfast time was sacred. And her family might have to decline social or business opportunities because they conflicted with precious family time on Sundays. What works for each person is different. What mountains are you looking to climb professionally? Personally? Remember, it’s important to carve out time for each area of your life that’s important to you. Attending WWPR events and activities gives me the chance to professionally refuel. What’s your outlet?

Delegate and Ditch the Guilt

Both at home and at work. Outsource whatever you can that doesn’t enhance your life so you have time for the things that matter most to you. Whether it be having someone else clean your home, cut your lawn, or cook your meals. Does your child really need homemade cupcakes for the bake sale or will store bought do just fine? I started using a cleaning firm when I was a full-time grad school student a decade ago, and it’s been worth the investment ever since. What works for you?

Here’s a tip…my friends have been raving about grocery delivery services like Giant’s PEAPOD. I broke down and tried their 60-day free delivery offer just before the holidays to get more weekend time to be with my family. Why I’ve waited so long to take advantage of this time saver is beyond me.

Work-Life Balance – An Oxymoron?

Once you’ve established what’s important to you. Make it happen. On the work-side…especially if you’re calling the shots, make it clear that important team meetings can’t start before 9am or must end by 5:30pm. This allows your work environment to carve out those special mealtime moments Kiki referenced. This way, your team members can be as productive and focused as possible on work, when it’s ‘work time.’ Be a role model for good work life balance. And please share your tips and tricks with other WWPR members – how do you keep your world “balanced?”