As a wife, mother of three, and entrepreneur I’m always looking for the best way to keep all the plates spinning in the air. If you’re like me, some days I feel like Wonder Woman, suited up for battle to take on every challenge that comes my way. Unfortunately, those days can feel few and far between. By the end of the day, Wonder Woman feels more like Wonder Bread – all eaten up in the middle with nothing but end pieces left. Crying out for help, I realized my task lists were overtaking me. It was time to make a change.
Like most knowledgeable professionals, I turned to the expert…the internet. Within a few key strokes I populated my computer screen with, “8 Ways to Achieve Better…,” “5 Secrets to Achieving…,” “37 Tips…,” etc. I was exhausted just reading through the list! My research proved to be unfruitful in delivering me from my struggle for balance. There is no back door into achieving harmonious plate-spinning.
My conclusion, just tell the truth about achieving work-life balance:
Truth #1: Work-life balance is personal. Everyone’s situation is different, so what produces success for me may not work for you. Don’t assume that it’s a one-size fits all, because it’s not. Balance looked different while I was in Corporate America with younger children versus now as an entrepreneur with teenagers.
Truth #2: Achieving work-life balance is a daily, intentional choice. I keep one calendar and color code work, personal and family commitments. At the beginning of each week I review my calendar, and set realistic expectations based on my limitations.
Truth #3: Achieving work-life balance costs. It takes work, hard choices, and commitment to achieve the balance that works for you and your family. There is always a trade-off. It may mean skipping a meeting, not volunteering to take homemade baked goods to your child’s class, or choosing not to go for the big assignment.
Truth #4: Most work-life balance strategies help you to prioritize, but you still have to decide what’s most important. There are lots of great strategies that help you prioritize your life. I use a number of them in my coaching business, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that you are the one that decides what’s most important. You have to live with that choice.
Truth #5: Achieving work-life balance requires awareness and flexibility. Change is inevitable. Our decisions are based on the knowledge we have at that time. Be flexible, because the plan may change.
If achieving balance has you trying to keep all the plates spinning, then it’s time to just tell the truth. Oprah Winfrey is quoted saying, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” Ask yourself, “What must I achieve today?”