woman carrying her toddler - White Canvas Design

The Balancing Act – 5 tips for balancing work, life and motherhood

By Stefani Burr
Photography By Kayla Foster

Hello! Stefani here (pictured with my daughter, Mila). I officially joined the White Canvas Team in January of 2018, it was more than a job move for me it was a job leap! I was working for a commercial developer since graduation but something always felt like it was missing. I decided to go back to school to pursue graphic design and work towards something I had always been passionate about. Meanwhile, I was on the outside looking in at something amazing that was being crafted solely by my good friend and teammate, Carly Moir.

White Canvas Design Studio was shaping up to be something I could see myself eventually being a part of. Once my maternity leave wound up at the end of 2017 Carly sat me down and asked to join the team! I was excited for what was ahead but knew it would come with some different challenges. I have come up with a list of 5 things that I have learned about what I call the “Balancing Act”:

1. Spend QUALITY time away from your desk

We all need to take breaks! Especially those who are managing their own schedules. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to forget about taking a quick lunch break when the days were so full. Now I make a point to take at least a half hour each work day in order to rejuvenate. It’s amazing how the brain works, after a break I usually have my best creative breakthroughs!

2. Time efficiency

Okay so what about making best use of your time AT your desk? This was a huge learning curve item for me. Managing my own schedule meant learning to manage distractions during crunch time – this includes shutting off your phone when you need to zone in. Instagram, iMessages and email notifications combined are big productivity killers, so when deadlines present themselves I find it’s easiest to turn off all notifications in order to commit yourself to completing the task at hand. Another handy tool came from Carly (the time management guru) called “time chunking”. I am still learning how to properly estimate the number of hours it will take me to complete a task, but I find that by understanding my efficiency I can plan ahead and know where I am spending my time each day. By incorporating time chunking techniques, you can also set aside a certain amount of time to respond to emails, attend meetings and stay on top of your entrepreneurial administrative duties as well.

3. Prioritize

This is relevant to item #2 but prioritizing can be tough when you are managing multiple clients and projects. Making lists and understanding client specific urgencies and deadlines is the best way to stay on top of things. If I’ve learned anything it’s that the more efficient you are with your time, the more realistic you can be with deadlines for your clients.

4. Balance

Before I came onboard I was excited about being able to water my plants, take my dog out for a walk and head over to Starbucks whenever I felt like it – yeah right! Reality check, there are only so many hours in a day. Dropping my daughter off at daycare in the mornings has really motivated me to become more efficient with my time. I am reminded that by dragging by butt I create unnecessary extra time at my desk, and less time with the other main parts of my balancing act – life and motherhood.

5. Remember to have fun

Sometimes I find myself taking things a tad too seriously, my own rule of thumb is that I chose this career path because I truly enjoy it. It is fun, and while we mean business on the daily there is nothing wrong with reminding yourself to enjoy the process and celebrate the successes.

So, there you have it! A few tips on how to survive the ultimate balancing act. By no means am I an expert in this department (I’m still new at this) and this is far from an extensive list, but I would like to think that there are many other females (and mothers) who are living a similar adventure, working hard to thrive in their career all while trying to maintain a healthy work-life-motherhood balance. I think it’s important to recognize the struggles it takes to achieve balance and encourage those who are giving it their best shot at making it work!

You go girl.