Women and Balance

I interrupt my 37 things series for two very important posts. One of my friends (Amelia Beonde) posted the following on Facebook: “It’s international woman’s day - I want to know what you (all of you - men, women, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles, etc.) think about what it means to have balance and promote balance (for all) in work and life.”

After reading Amelia’s post, I couldn’t stop thinking about both, balance and women. After fun, balance happens to be my second most important core value. (Shameless plug:If you don’t know your core values, you can find yours in chapter 5 of my book.) Balance is an important aspect of living because it is what keeps us sane. In fact, one synonym for the word sane is well-balanced. 

Most of us are familiar with the proverb “All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.” Okay, I changed it slightly for International Women’s Day! The origins of this proverb reach back to the writings of an Egyptian sage named, Ptahhoptep in 2400 B.C. More recently, it appeared in James Howell’s Proverbs written in 1659. 

So, this balance thing has been going on for a long time and my take on the proverb is that we can’t live harmoniously and purposely on a single track and therefore must seek balance in our lives. Regardless of gender, we all need balance. Let’s look at just three aspects of life that must be balanced – work, kids and personal well-being.

First, very few of us are independently wealthy and therefore we must work. When we work, we serve our proverbial master (boss, or clients, or both) and in this fast as lightning world, people want things yesterday and they want them mostly for free which puts us in a pressure cooker of work. Without work, we don’t survive, so work garners a very high priority.

I don’t have kids, but act like a kid and therefore think I know kids well. As an observer, I don’t know how parents balance just work and kids, let alone all the other things that must be balanced. Society sets a minimum standard for parents to meet just to stay out of jail. Fortunately, most parents go way beyond the minimum which further messes with the balance and leaves me scratching my head asking, HOW? 

Personal well-being is the need to feed and nurture our bodies and minds in order to keep our sanity so we can continue working and continue our way of life. Tending to ourselves is important to our survival and helps us balance. 

So how do we balance:

·     Try to avoid multi-tasking. Set your mind to the task at hand and do it.

·     Say no. Sometimes you just need to say no and not feel bad about doing so.

·     Prioritize. Get busy not being busy. Work to minimize activities that are “urgent and important” – delegate when you can. 

·     Spend as much quality time working on the things in your life which are “not urgent, and important” Things like loving your family, taking care of yourself, or planning strategically.

·     Minimize things that are “urgent and not important.” Just because a phone is ringing, doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Turn off the ringer, turn off e-mail notifications. Live life on your terms.

·     Lastly, eliminate, to the extent possible things that are “not urgent and not important.: Things like mindless social media, perfectionism, and procrastination. Who cares what the Kardashian’s are doing!

Find your balance and live your BEST life. Tomorrow, I will continue with a second post. A story about a woman – an amazing woman, my grandmother Anna Weinstock. See you tomorrow!