One of the main challenges you face today is seeking to strike the perfect yet almost impossible balance between all the roles you play. You want to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the ideal woman, the best daughter, the best sister, the best friend, the best cook, the smartest executive and the top-performing leader all at the same time while being relaxed, happy and engaged !
As a result, you find yourself constantly living with a sense of guilt and non-fulfillment…I am a mother of two teenagers myself, as well as a wife, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur and I realized I needed to do something about my unbalanced life when it became a constant feeling that I am running around like a chicken with my head chopped off all day every day and I can’t even stop to take a breath and figure out if this is even what I should be doing and if I am enjoying any of it. I realized I was not even taking the time to breath properly and that even when I was standing still, my inside was running……….
You know what? I have learnt to put everything into perspective. I have learnt that if you want to have it all, then something’s gotta give !! Balance and success looks different to me now depending on the day. Sometimes, it’s a work achievement I didn’t think I could pull off, another day it is seeing my two children, Adam and Lara, sharing a few connected moments together discussing something that happened at school and taking each other’s advice and – sometimes – it is just about surviving the day without breaking down.
Here are the top 5 usually unspoken tips I adopted in my life that made all the difference. I could name at least 5 more, but these come before anything else:
PICK YOUR BATTLES
First things first. Accept that you are not superwoman and that no such thing exists. Start by defining what success and happiness will look like for you one day at a time. The key is to change from a human DOING to a human BEING. Understanding what your values and priorities are and living from there helps you set everything in the right perspective. It helps you identify and prioritize your daily life tasks as WANT to do, NEED to do, GOOD to do or just force of habit tasks. It also helps you pick your battles and decide where to focus your attention and effort one day at a time.
SET YOUR INTENTIONS & DESIGN ALLIANCE
Every morning, set your intentions for that day. Once you feel committed, design an alliance (agreement) with everyone close to you so that they work with you on meeting your intentions, whether by playing an active role or just giving you the space to get things done. For me, being a perfectionist, I sometimes paid too much attention to little details and that used to waste a lot of time for me, and . By setting my intentions, it was much easier for me to clearly identify what was worth dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s and what was just as good 70% perfectly done.
SUBSTITUTE QUANTITY FOR QUALITY
Consciously calculate how much time you spend with your family every night. How much time of it is connected, quality, online-free time? At times, I have spent 30 minutes of real connection meaningful time with my children or husband, and at others, we have spent hours on end together in the same room but not connected, each in their own world.
Work with priority lists and routines. Taking time to plan and prioritize is something you have probably heard many times, but have you actually made a habit for yourself out of doing it?
I have recently made two commitments to myself which have given me so much liberation and peace and cleared a lot of the busyness in my head: First, I check my new emails, whatsapp, messages and calls at set intervals instead of right when they come. Second, I limited my social media time to a set time every morning and every evening. A small step that made a GREAT difference.
Finally, routines are miracle lists for me. Everything that needs to be done repeatedly is now a routine in my life. That way, I can focus my creative energy on new and exciting tasks, and all the boring stuff still gets done but more efficiently and effectively. I have all kind of routines, and I have educated my co-workers and family to do the same. At work, we have morning briefing routines, report writing routines and performance management routines. At home, we have wake up routines, after-bath routines and cleaning routines. Just name it, and it probably has a routine in our life.
BE KIND TO “YOU”
- Say NO when you need to. We women have an instinctive need to say YES when asked to do things. Remember that by saying YES to something you are saying NO to something else……..so pick your YES and NO’s carefully. For me, it was consciously choosing a 3rd unmentioned option that would satisfy other’s needs while still being kind to me, rather than forgetting myself in the equation when I just say YES then get all upset at what I got myself into
- You DON’t have to do it all. Teach your children and husband to share the load at home. Empower your subordinates at work to carry more load and responsibility. When I started out, I wanted to do it all to make sure it was done perfectly, until I learnt the golden rule of real delegation: delegate anything that someone else can do it 70% as well as you think you can do it. Free yourself for the tasks that you, and only you, can do then if you still have time and energy, add on other tasks you feel you want to take on.
- Give yourself some ME time. For me, it is 15 minutes every morning when I switch everything off, sit in silence and just smell the morning air and feel grateful to GOD for what is. Initially my mind yells at me to start getting things done. Sometimes I feel strange pangs of loneliness or emptiness bubble up. But eventually what arises is a calm and beautiful sense of gratitude with what is. Nothing needs to be done. Nothing needs to be changed. It is simply an acceptance of who I am and where I am in this very moment. And from there, I set my intentions and plan for the day.
Easier said than done? DEFINITELY………..So, why make the effort?
Well, if you feel happy and balanced as you are, then you don’t need to. But if you feel overwhelmed, stressed and overloaded most of the time, then it is time to DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT !!
Give the above tips a try and share with us your own experiences to help other women…..
What have you tried? What has worked and what has not? What is missing? What strategies do you use that are different from the above?