As someone who constantly feels like I am juggling flaming sticks while walking backwards through a revolving door, I must confess that balance does NOT come easy for me in my professional or personal lives. I find myself sitting at my daughters’ softball and gymnastics practices checking my email and social media. (The picture for this blog post is actually my daughter on the balance beam—her least favorite event in gymnastics I might add. She gets it honestly!) I think about work things while sitting at dinner with my friends. I answer client texts after my set hours. While these are not all inherently bad things, I do feel like they are indicative of the creeping way that I let my work interfere with my personal time and how hard balance is for me to achieve.
While multi-tasking is sometimes necessary, there is plenty of evidence to tell us that we will be more effective and efficient at completing things if we focus on one thing at a time. Yes, I am serious! How many times have you sat down to write a blog post for your business and not completed it because you get distracted by the other projects you have going on or your phone notifications going off for your social media? (That may be happening to me right now, not going to lie.) Finding the balance is important for our sanity and focusing on one task at a time helps us check things off the to-do list faster!
Balance, to me, means that I am giving each part of my life the right amount of time and energy. This changes naturally as different aspects sometimes need more attention than others. Some months I really need to up my personal time to practice some self-care. Other months I need to spend more time with one kid than the other. From a business perspective, some clients just need more attention than others, but making sure that I’m not investing soo much time and energy in one client that I neglect all the others is sometimes like walking a tight rope while trying to carry an anxious goat.
The best way for me personally to find balance has been to set very clear and hard boundaries for myself, though it is honestly an ever-changing landscape that I set time aside monthly to reevaluate if I want to keep the same boundaries. I honestly think that as a childbirth professional I have done a very poor job of drawing healthy boundaries for my time, and believe me, I feel like I am constantly working on learning better ways to keep balance. I am a very empathetic person, which means for me personally that I tend to absorb and emulate the energy of the people around me. Balance helps me avoid burnout. That means pulling away from some people’s energy and trusting my gut more often.
What does that look like professionally?
-Refusing to work with certain providers & at certain locations
-Limiting the number of clients that I take
-Setting my calendar FAR in advance so that I get time off
-Clearly communicating when I am and am not available.
Balance is not easy. I am still working on it constantly, but I promise that your clients will respect you even if you don’t answer their non-urgent 10pm text until the morning. Clarifying your boundaries should be part of your contract with your clients, and you may have to remind them of that sometimes, and that is ok. Personal boundaries can be harder, but I urge you to tune in to your personal energy and listen to that voice inside of yourself that helps push you in the right direction. Also, try to remember that self-care is not selfish. Moving yourself up on the to-do list is a good thing to do for so many reasons, and rarely have I regretted the time I give myself. That is part of striking a balance in my life, both personally and professionally.
What is one professional boundary that you always make sure to set?
Finding Balance: Empower Yourself with Tools to Combat Stress and Illness by Monica Aggarwal & Jyothi Rao
The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Judith Orloff
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma By Bessel van der Kolk