We’ve all been there, right? Trying to spin the seemingly endless number of plates in the air all at the same time without dropping any!We hear the word balance thrown around a lot. We’re supposed to develop a work-life balance… but, that makes it sound like if we just master good enough balance we can keep those plates spinning perfectly forever without ever dropping a single one. The fact is that what we need in our lives isn’t balance, exactly, it’s more akin to harmony: a sense of peace that we’re doing what we need to be doing at the appropriate moments, rather than trying to balance everything all at once.
If you’ve been trying to find balance and have felt like a failure, you’re not alone! No one but a circus performer can successfully balance so many plates! The good news is that you’re not a circus performer entertaining an audience. You’re a human being who is going about living life! Harmony is a more attainable goal… and it can help you stop trying to perform so that you can enjoy living!
Here are some tips that we use to bring harmony to our business life, our relationship life, and our home life.
1. What’s Important to Me?Figure out what your priorities are and make a list. Now look at your calendar/scheduler and bank or credit card statements over the past three months. Do they match? Where we spend our time and money reflects what we are giving priority to in our lives. If there are huge discrepancies between your list and your practice, you are likely experiencing a lack of harmony in your life. It might be a sense of uneasiness or maybe even guilt over not prioritizing your own priorities! The first step to finding harmony in your life is to actually commit to your priorities.
Remember too that priorities can change, so it’s a good idea to review your list often to see if you need to alter your focus on any particular ones.
2. Prioritize Your PrioritiesIf taking the dog to the dog park is something that’s important to you, put it on your schedule several times a week. Is your partner a priority? Discuss with them how often you want to have date nights and schedule those too. You know that one of your kids has “receiving gifts” as their love language? Skip your coffee shop stop three times and use that money to buy them something they will enjoy! Making your priorities actual priorities in your life will help to bring harmony, because you’ll actually be living the importance of them.
It isn’t enough to say that “one of my highest priorities is my physical and mental health”. If that’s true, we have to take the time to engage in self-care. Is my daily workout on my schedule? Have I made time for meditation/prayer/contemplation? Am I taking the time that I need for myself so that I can be fully available for the other priorities on my list?
3. Too Many Plates Mean a Lot of Broken GlassA key to finding harmony is to focus one doing one thing at a time. If you’re in a business meeting, that’s not the time to be trying to make dinner reservations for date night. You can’t cheer your kid on at a soccer game and vacuum your house at the same time. Multitasking may be a great word to throw around - but - it’s not particularly efficient… in fact, it slows you down and stresses you out when you try to focus on more than one priority at a time.
So when at work, focus on getting projects done, scheduling follow-up meetings, answering emails, etc. When with your kids, focus on being with them rather than scrolling through social media or stock returns. Cleaning the house? Do that, and let the unanswered text messages wait until you’re finished.
4. Schedule ItWhether you use a physical planner/calendar or a mobile app, we recommend writing out all your events, tasks, and meetings in one place where you can view them all. Use your “planner” to record daily and weekly to-lists to help keep everything organized. Seeing everything all together helps to prioritize what needs to be done on any given day, and can help you to make any necessary shifts or adjustments. We made a free
download 5 Things Successful Entrepreneur Families schedule weekly, and can get it by signing up here!
5. Learn to Say No to What Isn’t ImportantOnce you’ve identified your priorities and are spending your time and energy on them, it’s easier to recognize what’s going to further your goals or develop your skills. It’s okay to say no to time commitments that take you away from where you want and/or need to be… even when, in and of themselves, what you’re saying no to are good things. Don’t be afraid to say no without feeling like you have to have a reason or offer an explanation. Your time is one of your most valuable resources and it belongs to you.
Harmony comes from being at peace with yourself and with your life. Harmony and the peace it brings is attainable and do-able when you assess where you are in life, what your priorities are, and how you can best focus on/achieve them. It definitely takes some practice and determination to learn how to set the spinning plates aside, but the payoffs are more than worth it. If you’d like to learn more about how to find harmony in all of the aspects of your life, tune into our podcast: The Illusion of Balance where we break it all down and share what we’ve learned together through much trial and error.