Some women launch record-breaking social media campaigns. Some volunteer in Haiti. Some raise three children, while they're launching their own business, finding time to exercise and (even!) meditate. Danica Kombol, CEO of Everywhere Agency, does them all.
Yet at one point in her life, she wasn't actually "present" for any of them. She learned that by not being "present" and prioritizing her health (and sanity!), she wasn't just harming herself, but also her family, relationships and work. As she puts it, "If mama's not healthy, nobody's healthy. The entire fabric of your house suffers".
Here are some of her favorite tricks to stay in the moment and keep from running on empty:
- Take a breather. I often think I can't spare a moment to slow down, but in reality taking a short, five to 10-minute break and coming back refreshed is far more efficient than sitting and staring at the same document for an hour. Danica says when she's overloaded, she reaches the point "where I'm just not making good decisions." That's when she knows it's time to step back. Find what calms you –whether it's a walk outdoors or time to meditate, it's worth fitting it in.
- Put down the phone. The key to being present? Removing distractions that keep pulling you away. Check your phone before the conference call or a visit with family, then put your tech gadgets down and focus on the here and now.
- Include your family/loved ones in prioritization. Whether it's our children, parents or other loved ones, we all often feel pulled in multiple directions. Danica is the second woman I've heard that flipped the script and asked her children to help prioritize. Can't be at soccer, ballet and school pickup this week? Ask your children which activities are most important to have you there, you may be surprised! That way, Danica's family knew that they remained a priority, and Danica had a schedule that didn't require cloning – nor a heavy serving of guilt.
- Don't wait to "find time" to exercise , just make time. Whether you like to walk, run, Zumba or chase your dog or kids around the park, fitness doesn't have to be complicated, but it does have to be prioritized.
- Let go of "perfect." Accept a certain amount of chaos and a little bit (or a lot) of messy imperfection. When activities and homework made preparing family dinner challenging, Danica started dividing chores – which meant that one night, her son made chicken nuggets…encrusted in crumbled Goldfish crackers. Was it a perfect replication of the recipe? No. Was it delicious? Absolutely.
No one can fit 100 hours of work and family obligations and activities into a single day. Fortunately, we don't have to (I mean, can you imagine wearing heels for 92 hours in a row? Or how many school lunches you'd have to pack every day?) But if we make time for those things that really matter, we can stay healthy, sane and present for all of them.