Balance. It’s a word we all know, and something we’ve all strive for. But here’s the thing, balance is elusive.
In the trifecta of work, family, and self, I sometimes refer to the “balance” of it all as the juggle struggle. Many times we struggle to juggle all of the balls that were trying to keep in the air as we think balance is evenly maintaining each one.
But living a balanced life doesn’t mean juggling everything with equal time, focus and attention. For each of us, how the word plays out in our lives looks completely different. And that’s where the juggle doesn’t have to be a struggle.
Balancing work and family comes down to defining our priorities.
When we can see balance as a fluid concept in our lives, shuffling the priority from one thing to another instead of evenly trying to hold each thing up, we can find the balance we desire without the guilt of “dropping the ball”. Our priority is what is maintained and held up in each and every season of our lives.
For many of us, the overarching priority will shift seasonally. Especially with young children in the home, one of my top priorities is family (and it will always be), but in this season of life, it looks a little different.
Having family as a priority with a house full of young kids will utilize a bit more of my time and attention then when they are grown into their own season of self-sufficiency. For me, it’s also a season of priority on my brand and business, a time of growth and opportunity, a period of creative learning and growing… and it means that in order to maintain that whole growing ball, it needs time and attention as well!
It’s so important for us to realize the priorities for each can shift daily, or sometimes hourly.
For us to truly feel balance in our lives, we have to reconcile to the principle of fluid priorities in our lives.
I like to schedule out time for work where I can truly focus, knowing that someone else (usually my husband) has his priority on the kids and family at that moment. Alternatively, knowing that I’ve prioritized time in my day for my family, without the distraction of electronics or work conversation is something that’s become important to me, to my kids and for our sanity as a big family.
For the longest time, and goodness, I’m STILL working on this, I thought that if only I had more time, if I got up earlier, stayed up later, learned to multi-task better (another falsity, there is no such thing as TRULY multi-tasking, but that’s for another time, another post), fit a little more into the crevices of my time, then I could be more successful, more accomplished, do it all.
I felt that if I did more, then I would always be that much closer to achieving my dreams, while having the perfect home, meal plan, and the list could go on and on.
As it turns out, I was focusing on the wrong thing. Taking the struggle out of the juggle of it all isn’t about managing time, but rather, managing priorities. Balancing work and family isn’t about finding time to give to everything in an equal and fair measure. Even more importantly for our own growth and quality of life, it’s about deciding what priorities get the time that we have and feeling confident that our focus is on what’s most important to the season of life we’re in.
So, today, I’m going to give a challenge that will help in balancing work and family (because it’s something I’m doing myself) and I hope you’ll join me!
Let’s see how scheduling your priorities can bring a sense of balance and peace to the juggle that you manage. For the next couple of weeks, pay attention to what takes up your time and adjust your schedule to your priorities, instead of the other way around… and I’d LOVE to hear what difference it makes in your life!
Part of this post originally appeared in an article in The Fresh Edit Magazine: Volume 2.