This is to say that I am always looking for better ways to juggle a variety of unrelated projects, from creative to mundane, while handling incoming client requests, daily family responsibilities, and hourly new baby demands. And I strive to do this without losing my sanity, while keeping my children happy, leaving some time for myself, and smiling occasionally.
To give you an idea, I have completed grades 11 and 12 in one year after coming to Canada, earning a Governor General’s medal for the highest marks in the school, while learning English and holding a part-time dishwasher job at a restaurant. I have studied for my Bachelor’s in Computer Science while maintaining a household, working on personal and client web projects, and having a part-time job (first at Robin’s Donuts and then at a web-development company), going on to three co-op terms in Winnipeg and Ottawa with the government (Manitoba Education) and IBM. I have completed my Mistress of Computer Science degree in a year and a semester, while working a full-time software developer job. All this without stopping to explore life, engage with a new culture, host parties, read books, attend concerts and goth nights, drink my share of spirits, maintain long-term relationships, and cuddle pets (I did have a pleasure to learn about hedgehogs and Holland lop bunnies).
With the birth of my first, and now second, baby, I have taken the efficiency up a notch. I now maintain our home and cook our meals, breastfeed and play with the children, as well as work on personal and client web projects, volunteer for local birth and baby initiatives, read, do jigsaw puzzles, make jewellery, do yoga, and take care of a million more little things that come about with having a family. I also take up full-time work once my maternity leave is over, balancing family and work obligations while trying to stay sane and breathe deeply.
All this is not to bore you with details of my life, but to say – I’ve lived many a lifestyle with combinations of study, full- and part-time work, partner, household, children, personal and client projects. I’ve also lived in a very different culture from the one I have been raised to, with many psychological and practical adjustments this entails. And I maintain that it is possible to have a fulfilled organized life while doing what you have to do, and staying sane and happy throughout.
So in this Efficiency Dance section, I shall attempt to gather various tips and strategies that have helped me throughout the years. My arsenal is always growing and evolving to adjust for higher demands and changing life situations, and I hope many of these strategies will be helpful to you.