The unforeseen has been on the agenda this month again for me. I waved my youngest son and his partner off to work on a station out west for the rest of this year.
Limited contact and I probably will only see them a couple of times for the rest of this year.
As is usual, these two make instant decisions; they are beautifully spontaneous. I was told they were leaving with only 24 hours notice. Eek! My little heart cried out!
I was planning to visit them in the Tablelands that Saturday and they had decided to leave early Saturday morning.
What a dilemma! How would I be able to see them before they left?
Being a very committed and focused entrepreneur I normally have my whole week mapped out in front of me. I make the most of every moment and prioritise well. This helps me achieve so much more in less time, even working from home where there can be many distractions.
With a big deadline fast approaching my natural tendency is to stay focused Monday to Friday and spend most of the weekends connecting with people I love, having fun and resting. Because this helps me balance my life, right?
No! That’s not always the case!
In that moment when my heart went “eek” I almost laughed at myself!
What is entrepreneurship if I can’t be flexible with my hours? Isn’t that one of the reasons I’m doing it, so I can be free to choose where I go and when I want?
One of my highest value areas is family and there I was so focused on my deadline that I was about to miss seeing my boy for the last time for months!
I believe that balance is a feeling, not an idea or concept.
The feeling of balance comes when we are creating space for the things that are important to us and to do this really well requires a lot of awareness on our part.
There are strategies and thought processes I have identified that help me do this and they help me make decisions like the one I made last week.
Have a structure that works for you – When you know what is important to you and what you value, its easy then to create a structure that works around that. Its helps you map out your months, weeks and days to allow time and space for what is important to you. Having a map for my week that includes caring for myself, and space for what is important to me means that I feel in balance and in harmony with life.
Know your deadlines – This all begins with knowing your outcomes and goals. When you know this, then it becomes easy to integrate them into your structure, still allowing space for what is important to you. Always knowing what my goals and deadlines are helps me prioritise really well and that means I feel calm and in control of myself which helps me achieve my goals with less stress.
Flexibility is key – Feeling balanced is about consistently adjusting to the situations at hand. If you have structure and have set your deadlines effectively then it becomes easy to adjust when unforeseen circumstances arise. This means you can adjust and create space for things that are important to you when the need presents itself. For me, because I had prioritised well, I was able to take Friday afternoon off, jump in my car and visit my son, this meant the world to me.
Be honest with yourself – It’s easy as an entrepreneur or business owner to distract yourself with things that aren’t important and you may even tell yourself they are important when they are not. When you do this it can lead to last minute rushes, chaos and a life that feels out of balance. Self-awareness is key in this, be honest with yourself when deciding to do something that isn’t in your plan for the day and ask yourself “How important is this to my life, my values and my goals?”
Hold yourself accountable – Often when the unforeseen happens and things are rescheduled to another day, they can keep getting put off. Its important to hold yourself accountable and having a good schedule and plan helps you do this. When you have something planned into your schedule its so much more difficult to put it off. That day before I jumped in my car, I blocked off my Saturday to do the work tasks I had originally planned for the Friday. I held myself accountable and still met my deadline with ease.
The above may sound simple and it is. The thing is we often forget one of those strategies and wonder why we feel unfulfilled or unbalanced. I initially forgot to be flexible and imagine how I would have felt if I had just continued blindly, I would have resented having to work and felt upset that I missed my family. When I realised this and adjusted it, I totally changed how I felt. I had a wonderful afternoon visiting the important people I love and because of this I felt satisfied and happy to work at the weekend …… and I still met my deadline!