How I find balance — March 2015

How Erin Farrell balances her busy career in finance administration with her family life.

Erin Farrell, 31, associate director of finance, St. Lawrence College, Brockville, Ont.

I live in Kingston, Ont., where the main St. Lawrence campus is based, but all the finance administration is done in Brockville, so I work there. It’s an hour’s drive each way. Having a long commute is not ideal, but I use it to my advantage — it actually helps me get organized. On my way to work, I have time to plan my day in my head and on my way home, I can make a mental list of everything I need to do there. Sometimes I also come up with solutions for issues I’ve been dealing with during the day. It’s nice to be able to decompress on the way home. I don’t find the drive stressful unless the weather is horrible, or there are construction delays. But if I know the weather’s going to be bad, I can work in Kingston. I’ve also found an alternate route I can take when there’s a lot of roadwork — it’s along the water, so it’s very scenic and relaxing.

I’m lucky to have a wonderful husband, and I think the fact he and I constantly work as a team is another key to making our family life balanced and happy. (We have two boys; a one-year-old and a three-year-old.) On Sundays, we plan our meals for the week, and during the week, he gets home before I do so he starts dinner. I’ve also learned not to sweat the small stuff: my house isn’t always spick and span and my garden probably has a few too many weeds. Instead of constantly attending to those tasks, in the evenings and on weekends you’ll find me playing, dancing and laughing with the kids. To me, that’s what’s most important.

— As told to Wendy Haaf