I don’t believe in balance — it implies equality among all areas of our lives, and that’s just not possible. Sick kids prevent work, big work projects can give you less time with the kids, and both kids and work can bring your social life to a halt.
Harmony, on the other hand, is a real possibility. Harmony is when you’re able to shift between the areas of your life, focusing on what matters right now. And you can create this harmony with a few simple strategies.
You can’t do it all, so why try? I know — you’re a mom and you feel like you have to. But you simply can’t, so it’s better to accept that now.
Instead, learn to pace yourself. Focus on what you’re doing right this minute. Whether that’s having breakfast with the kids or working on a contract or having dinner with your spouse, focus on that moment. Don’t worry about what else isn’t being done.
At the end of the day, don’t beat yourself up over what didn’t get done. It’ll still be there tomorrow.
Get some help
You probably already need help, but pacing yourself just might make you realize it. Or you might have already realized it and just haven’t acted on it yet. Either way, asking for help is not a crime. It doesn’t make you weak nor does it make you less successful than someone else.
Ask for the help you need, whatever it looks like. If you need a nanny or a daycare, find one. If you need an assistant with your business, hire one. If you feel like you need a life coach to help you figure things out, seek one out.
Passing some things off onto someone else will not only free up some time, but also some mental space. It will reduce your stress and that will make you more productive and creative.
Pick your battles
We all have principles. We all have values. We all have those things we’re willing to fight to the death for. And sometimes we have to be willing to shrug our shoulders, say screw it, and let something slide.
This might mean giving in and buying fast food for dinner sometimes when you’re exhausted. It might mean firing a client who proves to be more demanding and difficult than you’re comfortable with. It might mean letting your spouse be right even when you know they’re wrong just because you don’t want to spend this one evening you have together arguing.
It also might mean declining a lucrative contract because you don’t want to do that much work.
Whatever it is, pick your battles. Know when to push yourself, when to do things the hard way, and when to let it go and take the easy route.
Prioritize every day
It would be so nice if we could all just grab a calendar, mark out our days and have a routine that never varied, wouldn’t it? But life’s not like that. We can create a routine, but we still need to be flexible.
One of the biggest things in being flexible is to prioritize every day. Whether you do it the night before or morning of, take a look at what’s happening and decide what’s most important: the business, yourself, your kids, your marriage?
There’s always going to be one “top dog” for the day, one thing that matters most. Figure out what that thing is and make that the big focus for the day. You might still have time for the other things that aren’t the priority, but if you focus on the priority, you’ll end the day knowing that what needed to be done is done.
Take care of YOU
As boring and uninspired as it sounds, you will be your most productive, best self if you make sure to take care of yourself.
This means getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, and eating regular, preferably healthy and nutritious meals. It means getting some exercise most days. It means scheduling regular healthcare appointments to ensure you’re in good shape, as well as seeing a doctor when you notice a problem.
Just as important, it means to have a sense of humor. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes or drop the ball. Laugh at yourself — and with others.
Make time for you
Self care is also important. While the things mentioned above are forms of self care, it’s also important that you find time to do things you enjoy.
Manicures, bubble baths, long walks, reading, meditating, cooking — whatever it is that you enjoy and that helps you feel reconnected to yourself, make time for it. Ideally, spend at least 30 minutes a day on something you enjoy. Do it at least once a week at a minimum.
Do not feel guilty about this either. You cannot be the best mom, wife, business owner or whatever other label you wear without time for yourself. You need to replenish your internal resources in order to have anything to offer to anyone else.
Remember you’re only human
These are some of my favorite strategies for finding harmony in life. But the most important thing you can do is remember that you are only human.
You might find these strategies don’t work for you. You might find others that do. You might start using these and then slip back into old habits and have to start again. So remember you’re only human and cut yourself some slack.
Figure out what works for you. And once you figure it out, own it. Don’t let someone else convince you it’s wrong. If it works for you, it’s right. Period.