(MoneyWatch) I steer clear of using the phrase "having it all," but if there is anyone who is deserving of that description, it is Karen Finerman. As CEO of Metropolitan Capital Advisors, a New York-based hedge fund, she had not only the prestige of a high-powered a full-time job, but also the joy of raising four children (two sets of twins!).
In 2007, cable network CNBC came calling. Did she want to be a regular on "Fast Money"? She jumped on the opportunity and gave it a shot, but, she says, "I pretty quickly ran into a brick wall of exhaustion. It wasn't quite as obvious to me as it was to my husband. He said, 'You need to make some choices.' "
Her first reaction? "I need a new husband," she jokes. But as she points out in her new book, "Finerman's Rules" (released today), he had already taken charge of the kids' schoolwork and was running the house, in addition to managing his own investment firm. She took a hard look at her schedule and came up with ways to make this easier on everyone. Hers is a lesson that many will find useful.
1. Reframe the problem. Finerman's difficult schedule had made her feel like a martyr, but "I really came to realize that I'm doing this for me," she says of her television gig. It raised her profile and brought cool, new opportunities into her life. So instead of asking, "What do I have to give up?" she started asking, "How do I structure my life to allow me to do what I want to do?"
2. What's not important is not worth keeping. In order to be on TV, Finerman had to give up watching the tube. "It was relaxing for me to come home and DVR something and watch it," she says, but "that was easy to get rid of." She also says she stopped looking at modern art, but as that's not the most common of hobbies, my advice is to start with TV time. Cut back first and see what space opens up.
3. Find efficiencies. Understand there will be a learning curve, whatever your new opportunity may be. Eventually, "you will be able to do things faster and better," says Finerman. In her early appearances on CNBC, she prepared extensively and put in writing numerous comments and answers for every eventuality. After a while, she came to see that "I didn't need to do that" and that a few bullet points would suffice. "That," she says, "was also a big time saver."
4. Ask for help. It may be that your partner is willing to step up on the home front. Or perhaps your kids are willing to take on more tasks. You might consider using some of the cash earned through your new gig to outsource chores. What really stressed out Finerman was looking the part for TV. She set up relationships with stores to send outfits that would fit and look good on camera. She stopped trying to do her hair and makeup in the morning. She used this time to work out, which meant she stay on in the office until the market closed. "I am so not a diva, but this is what it was," she says. So now "I spend the last hour of my day literally in curlers. No one thinks twice now of seeing me in curlers."
How have you made space for a new opportunity?Photo courtesy flickr user eamoncurry123