In our very full, electronic overloaded world there are very few who don’t recognize the feeling – many balls in the air – or plates – keeping them all up at the same time. I like the image of the plates because to me they signify balance as well as organization.It is here that I’m going to stand a bit apart from others who talk about balance in life. I’m going to suggest that balance is something that is achieved in a big picture kind of way, rather than a daily kind of way. I’m also going to suggest that – hold on to your hat!!! – it is OK to put down the plates for a time and then come back and pick them all back up again. Or maybe just pick up a few.
You see, balance between the 110% percent of yourself you must give to your business along with the other 100% your family requires and the other at-least-a-little percent in which you nourish yourself, is not really achievable with that paradigm of doing it all and keeping it balanced and all the plates spinning.
So – the solution is to change the paradigm. When you create a new structure in which to view the spinning plate a wealth of alternatives open up. (In fact, in any situation where you are are struggling to find a solution, take a step back until you can look at the problem from a different perspective and start to solve it within a different structure).
Balance is the ability to engage in all the aspects of your life that you value, while not losing yourself or your health in the process. I don’t believe it’s a matter of all the pieces every day. Though there are some that must happen every day, particularly if you have children. A modest level of self-care will allow your very best energy to be present every day -though it doesn’t necessarily mean a mammoth session at the gym daily. Your business requires much from you – especially at the beginning stages until you have created momentum. There may be a year or two when you work 70 hours per week to set yourself up for others where you work only 20.
Suggestion: Take a 24 hour period out of each month and put all the plates down. Spend that day in contemplation. Write. Walk. Think. Stay off the screens! As the day comes to an end, prioritize your month ahead. What is calling to you for the next 30 days that requires your attention? Which things would be nice to focus on but are not top priority? What are you going to do for fun and play? Trust that your intuition will know how to answer these questions after you take the 24 hour break from the plates. You will not truly know it right now as you are reading this article.
Prioritizing your highest truths is a learned skill. As you learn it, it becomes easier. You’ll then know which ball to keep your eyes on, and which plates must keep spinning while others lay waiting in a pile nearby.
If you are considering working with Deborah to decipher your life path or any of the expansive levels of coaching she provides I encourage you to stop considering and give yourself the gift of deciding to work together with her right now. I am eternally grateful for our session together. – JEW
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I am clearly not doing the balancing act very well because in the paragraph where you talk about giving 110% to your job and 100% to your family and a little percentage to yourself, yeah I lost that little percent to myself a long time ago and never have gotten it back so my plates fell from that side. How do you factor in time to yourself?
Deborah Tutnauer says
Unfortunately Joan, you can’t solve this equation with math. It’s more about flow and the perception of priorities. Time for self is where most women tend the drop the plates…yet it’s also the most important plate to pick up regularly. Without self-care, we as women can’t keep spinning all the others.
Achieving balance is more challenging than it seems. It is easy to say you’re going to implement balance between work and play or work and family, but it takes faith and self discipline to do this. It is even more difficult when you are starting a business. You know you’re already up against it when trying to gain an edge on the competition and establish your business. And you know that you have to outwork the competition. So you have to make certain sacrifices.
This is something that takes years of practice and then sometimes you still don’t get it. There is a fine line to be walked to balance everyday life without losing it period and that line is easily crossed as well. Thank you for posting this if you are a spiritual person it can mean a completely different thing as well when you are balancing the two worlds.
These are very good suggestions. I know from my own experience that when you are doing a monotonous task (albeit creative) such as sitting at your computer and writing, or writing code as a computer programmer, you have to take both short and extended breaks. You simply cannot go at it non-stop or you will get stressed and that will affect your work. You need balance in the form of frequent breaks from the grind.
I think it’s important for everyone to learn time management skills. I’m referring to the simple, practical techniques that have helped the leading people in business, sport and public service reach the pinnacles of their careers. Those skills help you become highly effective, by showing you how to identify and focus on the activities that give you the greatest returns. Mastering them will save you time, helping you work smarter, not harder.