How I find balance — June/July 2016

Nicole Watson balances her career and family life by staying self-driven.

Nicole Watson, 37, senior manager, tax, at KPMG, Kelowna, BC

You have to figure out what you want as your work/life balance, and then schedule it. For me, it’s [become] even more difficult as I’ve grown in my career, as it has gotten a lot busier, and when the kids came along that added extra pressures. Any given day I could get a call from school to [take them] home because they’re sick.

I truly believe it’s about what I take on. A lot of us in this career are competitive; we like challenges — that’s why we’re here — so we take on that extra work and then we find we’re in a struggle with the work/life balance. But at the end of the day, a lot of it is really self-driven. If I want certain things, I have to make time. It’s always a juggle but I don’t think anyone can ever do it 100%.

What relieves my stress is exercise, probably because I was really active as a kid (I was a gymnast), so that’s what I have to set aside time for. I usually exercise at five in the morning, knowing that at least I have that time to myself no matter what happens the rest of the day.

I also play soccer. Instead of feeling like I’m taking [time] away from the family, where possible, I like to bring my kids [ages 11, 8 and 7] to the game. It shows them that being active is part of a lifestyle, and they can be a part of it. Usually for the warm-up they come out and kick the ball with me.

At different times of the year I try to get out to school field trips. I can’t go to every field trip there is — in March it’s pretty difficult to get away — but [when I go] I make up my time later on that day because I have commitments that I want to finish, or maybe I’ll take a vacation day.