By Heather Lopez
One of the most common questions I get asked is, “How do you balance it all?” The answer: I don’t. I was talking about this with my new friend Vicky, who runs a conference called Inspiration U. We were working on topic ideas for a potential speaking opportunity at her event, and we both realized how often people mistake balance for priority.
Vicky stated that the word Balance implies that you have an equal allotment to each part, which when you think about it, is both unrealistic and nonsensical. We both came to the conclusion that balance was a myth i.e. something that people talk about as if it is real, but it doesn’t really exist.
Show me someone who claims to have it all figured out and I will show you a liar, or at least someone in denial. You see, we want to put our best foot forward in the world, so we fear sharing the times when we “fall off.” But, everybody does.
When I thought about the concept of balance, I also began to realize why people kept asking me how I do it. People have perception of me as a mom entrepreneur juggling multiple responsibilities, and I have been successful at providing the illusion of having balance. But if you knew me, you’d know that I am resilient, not balanced. I get back up on the horse, every time I fall off. You can have a routine, but there are always those unexpected occurrences that can catch you off guard. Being resilient means being able to bounce back from the setbacks and overcome the obstacles.
So let’s go back to the idea of priority. When you go through prioritization, you decide what is most important to you and what is the most time sensitive, and then create a plan for your actions. Prioritization can be a daily process to help you stay focused on what’s important. With this concept, you are not obligated to keep things equal and you take care of what is most important first.
One of the speakers for my conferences, Mike Michalowicz of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur fame, offered a very useful post that helped me with prioritizing my business time. The basic summary of the idea was that you:
- Get a piece of paper and make two columns.
- On one column you write TASK and the other column, you put TYPE.
- Then you write down all of your tasks as they come into your mind under TASK.
- Next, in the type column, you put a $ sign next to all of the tasks that will generate income in the next 30 days.
- Then you put a 😀 next to the tasks that will make your clients happy.
- Take care of tasks with both symbols first.
- Then take care of tasks with the 😀 symbol.
- The take care of the tasks with $ symbol.
- The tasks with no symbol can be moved back.
You can find the full post here: http://www.toiletpaperentrepreneur.com/managing-focus/do-more-stuff-in-less-time
That helps with the business prioritization, but what about the rest of it? Of course, your business is not your entire life, so how do you go about prioritizing your life too? Well, the first priority should be You. As a mom, we get so used to self-sacrifice that we put our own needs aside. However, if the donkey is sick, who is going to pull the cart? Happy Moms breed Happy Homes. Make sure you are getting at least 15 minutes of Me Time every day, doing whatever it is you want to do.
After that, if you are involved in a meaningful relationship, you need to focus on providing time for your partner or spouse. If you are so busy that neither of you have time for each other, eventually the communication will break down and the closeness will dissipate. Make time each day to show that special someone how they are important to you.
From there, you prioritize your kids’ needs. Don’t overschedule them. There is a difference between being in band, and being in band, basketball, football, chorus, etc. Let the children gravitate towards an area that they would like to focus on. This will help them maintain focus later on in life. I, myself, was one of those kids who was in dance, cheerleading, band, chorus, basketball swimming, yearbook, etc….. Look at me now, finding it virtually impossible not to be doing 10 different things simultaneously. I might’ve have benefitted from some focused direction earlier on.
Then you have everything else like your extended family, friends, etc. Now, you might disagree with me on the order, but that is your personal priorities. You decide what order suits you the most and then decide what you will take care of first each day.
I don’t balance, I prioritize. I am not balanced, I am resilient. Follow me for more tips on prioritizing your business and your home.
Heather Lopez, aka The Social Commerce Mom, specializes in relationship marketing both online and off. She is the CEO of Heather Lopez Enterprises LLC, where she is responsible for several events, websites, trainings, and services targeting moms and those seeking to market to moms. Heather empowers moms to create their own financial freedom through business or blogging so that they may have more time for what they treasure most. She is also a 30-something mom to two rambunctious toddlers and wife to one entrepreneurial-minded husband. You can connect with Heather @ http://www.HeatherLopezEnterprises.com