Ask Mandy Q&A: How to Achieve Work/Life Balance
There is no such thing as true balance.
Yes, as much as we’d like to achieve balance in our life it doesn’t exist in the form we like to think. Balance is what ever makes you happy, not devoting a certain number of hours to X and Y.
In all of our lives, balance is not the ultimate goal, it’s just an average of what you are doing. What balance is to me means something completely different to you. We all juggle multiple things at once in our lives – businesses, kids, spouses, friends, charities, etc. To say you are not trying to do it all is a lie. I’ll fess up – I can be an absolute mess at times. I’m married, have 2 daughters (ages 10 and 6), own my own business and am involved in my community. Late nights are nothing new. Taking my stress out on a punching bag is my norm. There are days that I’d rather roll over in bed than be productive.
Life keeps going and so must we.
At the Professional Women’s Conference I attended there was a panel devoted to this topic. They called it the “Balance Games” because essentially that is what it is, a game. There were several great takeaways that we can all use to achieve whatever balance we are striving for.
Be 100% focused on whatever you are doing at the moment.
It doesn’t matter if you are pushing your child on a swing or writing a business proposal, be 100% focused on the task at hand. Your child or partner will remember the undivided attention you gave them. You will also find when you are 100% focused on what you are doing, you’ll be more effective and efficient because there won’t be anything to distract you.
Learn to unplug and put the electronics up.
This is hard, but you just have to unplug at times. We can frequently go into information overload and working in social media, it happens more than I care to admit. When your business is 24/7/365, it’s hard to unplug but trust me, you just got to. Your eyes, mind and family will appreciate it. After a refreshing break, you’ll find yourself more focused and ready.
Just say “no”. And do not feel you have to explain why.
You do not have to agree to everything. There is not enough time in the day to be superwoman (or superman). Busy makes us feel important, when in reality it doesn’t. We choose to be busy. We think if we go on and on about what all we have to do, we will be perceived as being someone important. We have to prioritize what we do. It could be your children, your spouse or something else. When you do say no, unless specifically pressed, you do not have to explain your reason(s) why. It’s no one’s business but your own why you are declining something.
Realize that YOU are in charge.
Only you have the power to say yes and no. No one else speaks for you. Do not concede to putting it in someone else’s hands. You have more power than you think.
Draw the line and defend it.
Being a working mom, I have boundaries. You need to have boundaries too. You need to know what you will and won’t do and defend that. This could be time with your kids, ethical business situations, things that pertain to your religious beliefs. We all have lines we won’t cross and when tempted, we need to defend it. On the same lines, find your family time and defend it as well. If your family time is from 5-8pm, for example, do not take phone calls or work during that time. Sometimes that balance means turning clients down. Remember, if they want to work with you bad enough, they will work with you on this.
Last but not least…
Success is finite; aim for significance.
Success can be a new client or an award. Significance means you made a difference. We all want to have success, but that really only lasts so long. Aim for something that you will be remembered by. If you are too caught up in the everyday busyness of our lives, we’ll never achieve that long-term success (significance) we are looking for.
What do you think? What are some ways you stay sane in your crazy life?