Pre-baby, I could get to work, stay late, and basically work extra hours on the weekends whenever I wanted. I have always been an overall organized person, but the biggest adaptation for me is realizing I had to give up the flexibility and lack of control in my work schedule. Here are a couple of things that I do to keep my work and home life balanced.
1. Get your email down to zero. It's not uncommon for me to have 25+ emails before I get an opportunity to check my email. My husband, gets hundreds of emails a day. Inbox zero is hugely important for me to be able to sort through my day and quickly deal with issues as they come up. If I can't deal with it immediately, it goes into a folder OR I calendar it.
2. Speaking of calendaring items, I use my Outlook calendar for everything. Literally, I practice schedule pee breaks into my calendar. This also helps me to know from the time I arrive in the morning, until the time I leave, I have scheduled tasks that must be accomplished at certain times and I don't get sucked into doing other things or having unnecessary conversations with other people as a result of my time being unfulfilled.
3. Don't waste your time on things that don't give value to your work. I can't afford to have long, drawn out chat sessions with friends at work. Do I love catching up with the people I work with? Of course. But, I have to cut it off if it goes too long (politely of course), because if I let every person that came to my door talk to me as long as they wanted, it would take away from my work and ultimately, that's time away from my family. I don't ever get on facebook or other social media at work, and I rarely have time to look at my personal cell phone. I don't keep my email open when I'm working on big projects so I don't get sucked into answering emails and it takes time away from what I should be working on.
4. Set an arrive time and a leave time. For me, I can't drop off at daycare earlier than 7:30, so my arrive time is about 7:45. I set my leave time at 4:30 everyday to pick the baby up by 5. Before, I would stay until all hours working on projects and diddling around Now, I swear I am ten times more efficient just in knowing I have from 7:45-4:30 every day to get all items I have calendared to get done.
5. Learn to delegate. I am definitely the kind of person who, if I want something done right, I feel like I need to do it myself. I've had to learn, if I want to ever leave work and be the kind of mom I want to be, then I have to delegate tasks out to people. For a lot of the projects I work on, there's no reason I can't give a small part of it to someone else (whether it's copying, cutting, stapling) and eliminate that part out of my life.
By all means, I am not an expert on work-life balance, these are just some things that have worked for me post-baby. I did follow several of these pre-baby, but I've really had to crack down on myself post-baby. It is so nice when I go home each day with work off my chest, no work at home, no work email at home, and no work on the weekends and just time to focus on the family and I!