Originally authored by Rose Morris at Ms Career Girl
In the current workplace environment, there seems to be great value placed on finding the perfect work-life balance. However, this idea of balancing the scales between your work life and personal life is a myth we need to blow out of the water.
As an entrepreneur, business owner and mom of three, including a son with special needs, it’s not about finding the perfect balance, but rather learning how to juggle. Think about your own life – can you imagine all of the different facets of your life ever being equal on a regular basis? Life will always be chaotic and messy, but also full of rewarding and successful moments. It’s about learning how to juggle the chaos so that you are better able to enjoy the rewards.
Below are six ways I’m able to let go of the idea of a perfect work-life balance and become a juggler of life:
It’s okay to drop the ball
There are so many moving parts in my life – I have a husband and three kids and I run a business. When you add in the extra attention needed for my son, who is on the autism spectrum, it’s easy for me to drop the ball, which used to leave me feeling like a failure. However, I’ve come to learn that I need to let go of unrealistic expectations and not sweat the small stuff. It’s helped me so much in both my personal and professional lives to not let dropping the ball negatively impact my day, week or month. When I drop the ball, I focus on picking it back up and moving forward.
Everything is relative
In a world of social media, where all you see are the best versions of people’s lives, it’s easy to feel like a bad mom or unsuccessful in the workplace. Social media is a comparison game, one that I refuse to play. Instead, I choose to reframe how I look at everything. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors, or what people have had to sacrifice to get where they are today. I appreciate what I have and try not to compare myself to others.
Don’t make easy hard
As humans, we tend to over think and overcomplicate things. This can lead to a downward spiral of self-criticism, wasted time, procrastination and negativity, none of which is beneficial to your personal or work life. I constantly have to tell myself to stop making easy hard. If something isn’t working, I modify it. For example, as the business owner, I’m able to accommodate my employees’ different schedules by allowing them to start or end their workdays on a schedule that fits their needs. Everyone is able to still get all of their work done, with the flexibility to juggle the schedules of both their work and personal lives. This turned out to be an easy change for us to implement and it worked wonders for us all. When we stop overcomplicating things and learn how to prioritize what’s important, life becomes so much simpler.
Organization is key
There is no way I’d be able to juggle therapy sessions for my son, extracurricular activities, running a successful business and being a good wife and mother without an organized system in place. Everyone utilizes different tools to help them stay organized, but my method of choice is a crazy, colorful calendar. I’m able to see everyone’s schedules all in one place and can color code and prioritize accordingly. The only consistency in my schedule is inconsistency, along with my calendar that I’m constantly updating – it’s a lifesaver!
Find a good support system
We all need support and encouragement in our personal and work lives. It’s important to have a strong support system in place to help you through frustrating and difficult times. Besides my immediate family, I don’t have any other family nearby or locally. I’ve had to create a nontraditional support system of friends, therapists, employees, and church staff and members to help me out in a pinch. Through social media, I have connected with people who are in similar situations to my own. While we may never meet in person, we’ve created strong bonds by sharing stories and tips and sometimes by providing an outlet when we need to vent our frustrations. Make your own family that can grow and changes with you as you navigate life. My support system is crucial to helping me stay on track!
Drink more wine!
I’m a firm believer in a glass of wine at the end of the day. Whatever your method of choice for destressing, take the time to treat yourself. I sometimes need time alone to just sit down with a glass of wine and unwind. If you have trouble finding mere moments to take a breather, try penciling them in. I’ve found that if you don’t make time in your schedule for personal time, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, it will never happen.
I’ve come to accept that my life is a work in progress and that there is no such thing as a perfect work-life balance. This mentality has simplified my life, allowing me to positively juggle all of its different moving parts. When you feel like your life is spinning out of control, remind yourself of these six tips to help you master juggling and continue moving forward.