Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Precarious Balancing Act

So I'm speaking at this conference for women entrepreneurs this Friday (the conference is called Touchpoint - see that icon on the right?) on the topic of Building a Business While Raising a Family.  I need this topic so much myself!  It's been great having to really think through this topic for myself while figuring out what to say to others.

I think what it comes down to is BALANCE.  Balance is such a lovely concept, but such a hard thing to really find, don't you think?  Balance requires TIME for prioritizing and re-prioritizing and self-assessment.  It requires setting and sticking to boundaries.  And just when you think you've got things balanced quite decently, some new thing gets dropped in your lap and you're off-kilter again.

I thought if I devoted all my discretionary time to running The Power of Moms and The Joy School Company and spread out the Retreats and conference involved and devoted the hours my kids aren't in school solely to them, I could keep things pretty balanced and create lots of win-win situations.  I made decisions on committments based on my situation at the time.  And now my situation has changed.  I have to find renters.  I have to find a new house.  I have to pack up 4800 square feet of stuff, research new schools for the kids, examine the pros and cons of different neighborhoods, I need to devote 9 hours most weeks to driving up to Ogden and back.  Plus I was asked to help with the children's program at church and felt I should do that.  I didn't plan on or ask for these new huge things that got dropped in my lap.  But they're mine and while I'm delegating all I can to realtors and other people at church and everyone else who could possibly help, the buck stops with me on a few too many things these days.

So in a situation like mine, where you find yourself juggling too many balls and you've dropped all you can, what do you do?

As so often happens, I found a great article on Power of Moms that really helped me get my thoughts in order for myself and for this workshop (I think I'll have to read parts of it to the audience).  It's called Unbalance - check it out HERE.  It's short, beautifully written and I love that it points out how important it is to grab those now-or-never moments and constantly evaluate what's "good" and what's "best," setting aside the "good" for the "best" more often.

I'm thinking one thing that might help with my crazy juggling act is taking things week by week, day by day and hour by hour.  I've started making a short list of the very best things to do each week (on Sundays) and each day (the night before).  I'm only including the things that are time-sensitive to that week, the things my family needs that week, the things that really matter.  Then I have a whole list of other action items that do need to be done, but not necessarily that week or that day - and when I finish my most important things, I can go to that secondary list for other things that will wisely fill my time.  I feel like every hour of my life could be used for a dozen different "good" things.  But figuring out that "best" way to use that hour is often a challenge.  I find myself working away at things without stopping to think first about what should be my highest priority for that time.  I need to go into chunk of time in my life asking the Lord, "what's most important for me to do now?"  When I do this, it works.  But too often I forget.  I'll be better.

And here are the questions I'm using to determine whether or not certain things should stay on my to-do lists:
  • Does this really matter? To me? To others? To my overall goals?
  • Do I WANT to do this?
  • Does this really need to be done by ME? Am I really the best person to do it?
  • Would this be the BEST thing for me to devote time and effort to NOW?
  • What will I NOT do so that I can do this?
  • Can I do this in a simpler way? Is it worth doing well or just barely worth doing? Thoreau said: “Our lives are frittered away by detail, simplify, simplify.”
    Share your tips!  I can use them for sure!

    5 comments:

    Patty Ann said...

    Love these tips. I think they would work. I would also add to schedule some "down time". Time that you can use for something else. Time for yourself. When you keep your own well full, it is much easier to help others as they seek to fill their wells. When we are empty, it is harder to know how to help anyone else. Scheduling time for yourself, is like sending a message to your subconscious that you are important! That is often the hardest thing for many of us to do, and one of the most necessary.

    Kristine said...

    I'm amazed that you captured these thoughts during such a busy time in your life. Really, I'm truly amazed! I love these questions. When we schedule scripture study at the earliest time in the day possible we tell our Heavenly Father that we are trying to put first things first. When the baby cries all day, that time might not come until later in the day. Sometimes I've put my scriptures on the kitchen counter (avoiding anything sticky) so that I can catch just a verse or two when I'm pacing with a baby. So often I feel like my wheels are just spinning and I can't seem to accomplish what needs to get done because I am not as in tune with the Spirit. I definately notice a difference when prayer and scripture study are high priority (feeding a baby is even higher priority). Knowing this doesn't make that balancing act totally easy, however (as you know). Heavenly Father is certainly trying to teach us something about managing our time and it's hard work. Even when we do our best, we still often find ourselves in a pickle. Good luck!

    kms said...

    You are moving. Say you are done with the children's program. Is there a way to quit so to speak? Are you even going to be there to see the result of efforts?

    If you found a renter and were able to get something there suddenly would you not be moving immediately? They need to get another anyway and the sooner the better.

    Business and the move and the ordinary family stuff made more complex with geographic separation are the big three to deal with. You are 2 parents in a sense on some days.

    If you are burned out what good will you be to the community you move to once you have those 9 hours commute time back in your life to devote to work, family, fun and service?

    Sydney said...

    Wow! Very, very good!

    Hi, I'm Hannah. said...

    I'm coming to the conference tomorrow and am so excited to meet you and learn some things. I will be taking notes and it's nice to know that you are in the throws of this and are still learning too. :)

    Amidst all of your other commitments, I'm selfishly so glad you made this one and I really hope you feel like it was worth your time.

    See you tomorrow!

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