I recently had a thought-provoking chat with a colleague (hi Amy G!) about the challenges working parents face every day.

Amy’s premise was that there can be no such thing as “balance” when it comes to juggling family, career, home and life “stuff”.

Instead, she focuses on being 100 per cent present wherever she happens to be at any given moment.

When she is at work, Amy gives 100 per cent. Thoughts of what needs to be done at home, dinner plans, parents, social activities are consciously put to one side. Until it’s time to go home. Then, she is 100 per cent present with her family.  No guilt feelings about work, because she knows she’s done her best job that day.

It’s a wonderful philosophy.

Research shows that people who are “present” and focused report feeling more fulfilled and engaged in their work.

They are generally far more productive and – no surprises here – they are happier in their personal lives.

I think it’s about giving yourself “permission” to be 100 per cent present. And that’s harder than it sounds.

There are days when I arrive at work already worrying about what I am going to cook for dinner that night, or thinking ahead to the weekend away I need to plan, or stressing about when I’m going to buy my niece’s birthday present.

But I am learning, as my colleague Amy has, to give myself permission to put all of that to one side. For now, at least. Because right now, I have a really interesting and inspiring job to do.