There are few things in life as satisfying as success.
That sense of achievement after overcoming a challenge and accomplishing a goal just can’t be beat, it’s an incredible high that reminds you you’re alive. Unfortunately, living up to that standard can be very difficult, especially when you’re trying to rack up points in two different games.
Striving to sharpen your skills and climb the corporate ladder can sometimes make it difficult to eat healthy and get regular exercise.
Scheduling yourself to attend seminars and workshops may eat into the time you want to spend with friends and family.
Reviewing reports and going over project updates could leave you feeling too drained to maintain a social media presence.
You want to get everything done, you want to maintain a balance between your professional accomplishments and your personal obligations, but you don’t know how. On top of all that, the abundance of technology we use to conduct our business and enjoy our leisure is not only all around us, it’s often overlapping. Because of this, the very idea of tending to one at the expense of the other just seems unthinkable, especially since you’re sure it won’t stop there.
You feel like those circus performers who balance plates on tall poles in the palm of their hands, with your career being held up by one while your casual life is being held up by the other. You’re sure you’ve got this under control, but inevitably something will happen to throw off your balance, and one of the poles will start to wobble. You know it’s a problem that needs to be fixed, but you’re not worried, on the contrary, stabilizing the pole is like a challenge in and of itself. It feels so incredible when you actually do pull it off, yet the second you try to adjust the pole that’s slipping you by, the higher your chance of messing up the other. You don’t want to give up, you’re sure you’ve got this, and you know it will feel even more incredible once you successfully resolve this even greater problem. But you also know, even if you don’t want to admit it, that the more you try to compensate, the more you risk losing control. If you’re not careful, then before long they’ll both come crashing down, and you’re not sure you could pick up the pieces and get them back up again once that happens.
As an entrepreneur with multiple businesses and two young children, I’m painfully aware of how challenging it can be to balance my priorities, especially when they are all urgent in their own way.
I certainly can’t let my children go hungry, therefore I have to make sure I get up early so I’ll have time to prepare them food. But at the same time, I can’t just ignore the emails my employees sent me at the end of their shifts the previous day, they need my input and approval to move forward on their tasks. So that means I have to either get up even earlier or start staying up later to work on those emails before bed, either of which will impact my attempts to get some exercise, which in turn cuts into my already short sleep schedule, and…well, you get the idea.
It’s no secret I have a lot on my plate, but you see, I don’t think of my plate as being balanced on a pole, and that’s how I successfully manage it all.
Rather than separating my responsibilities into two different types that must be balanced with one another, I organize everything I need to accomplish into one large portion and divvy it up accordingly, like a pie. What’s more, I treat every day like a new pie, so each one gets sliced up differently than the last, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps today I’ll cut a larger slice for my children and trust in my team to keep themselves busy with work that doesn’t require my input for the time being, whereas tomorrow, I can count on my husband to tend to our children’s needs so that I can meet with my team and see how I can contribute to their workflow. At the same time, I allot properly proportioned slices to the other obligations in my day to day life, changing the servings as I see fit. And thanks to the advancement of technology, I can use the same device to work all my schedules around one another, precisely measuring out and adjusting slices as I need.
I understand why people think in terms of separating their work and their life, but I firmly believe people would be happier and more productive if they started thinking of their work as their life. By pursuing a career you enjoy and excel at, as well as fostering a healthy network of people you can rely on, and mastering the many tools at your disposal, you can go from struggling to eat two conflicting meals at once to instead savoring a delicious gourmet spread of complimentary flavors.