Is there such thing as balance? Of course! But that doesn't mean that all things are equal. And it may not mean what you think it means. Balance is what you make it and how YOU define it.
Let's talk about what we've been taught balance should be. Traditionally, balance has been giving equal attention to your career and your family, with maybe enough time for yourself in there too. We seem to think there is an elusive sweet spot of balance that will allow everything in our lives plenty of nurturing, love, attention, and time. This is so unrealistic for most of us today, yet we still hold on to this view. "Balance" in the traditional sense is a fantasy for most modern, business-owning women.
For example, your family may not get an equal size chunk of you as your work. Your business may not grow as fast as you'd like because you know that your family is more important. Your self-care and health may get ignored for a couple weeks while you take care of an ailing family member. The cleanliness of your house may suffer as a work project demands more attention. This is what modern balance looks like. We're kidding ourselves if we expect anything different. Let go of that old definition of "balance", doesn't it feel glorious?
Let's redefine what balance means to you. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself permission to not have it all together and all figured out. Modern balance is a give and take of time, constantly managing what needs to get done and all the rest of your life.
Interior Designers & Balance
The desire for "balance" is a top request that I get. But, f*ck balance, if you're running an interior design business, especially if you're in the beginning years, balance in the traditional sense goes right out the window.
Getting a business up and running takes time, dedication, and hustle. With everything on your shoulders, "balance" isn't going to happen for you. Some things that were once your priority, that you once spend more time on will now be pushed aside as you work toward your goals. This is balance. This is normal.
You can only fit so much in the day. Everyone has the same amount of hours. Everyone is struggling to find "balance". Balance is about understanding your priorities and taking action on them. You need to realize where your time is going. Look at what in your business you can systemize. Know what your priorities are for this moment. Moment to moment is balance.
Look at your business; are your clients running your business or are you? You need to be the captain of your boat, not your clients. They can't dictate how you run your business. Be sure that you have boundaries established regarding communication and office hours.
Tips for Achieving More Balance
Okay, now if you feel completely off balance, you know that something has to change. This may be cutting back, adding, or changing your mindset. Balance is more a juggling act than balanced scale. You'll probably drop balls, sometimes you'll have 10 balls in the air and sometimes you'll be good at 4. This is modern balance.
Don't be hard on yourself. Feeling guilt or pressure for feeling out of balance isn't helpful and can make it worse. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself permission.
Ask for help - There is nothing wrong asking for help. Do you think Shonda Rhimes runs all her shows, raises her kids, and looks great without help? Nope - and I highly recommend Year of Yes if you're having balance issues! (Shonda has made the choice to not get married because it's not her priority and she knew that it would take too much away from her other priorities - career & kids.) Hire a cleaner, a babysitter, have your groceries delivered, make your partner responsible for dinner, have another parent drop your kid off, pay someone to run your errands, etc.
- What do you need to feel more balanced? Examine how you spend your time, where is it going? Usually what we need is one of three things: 1) Alone time 2) Quality time with friends/family 3) Self-care. If this is true for you, make sure you schedule this into your week, or add it to your to-do list. If it's not one of these three things, then schedule whatever you need into your day. If you can't find time for it, realize it's not your priority right now.
- Don't take on others' priorities. Don't let people dump their priorities on you. Your partner can do their own laundry before a work trip. Your neighbor can wait until you're ready to trim your hedge. Your mom can wait to hear your thoughts about her new favorite book. Your client can wait until the next business day to get a response to their late-night text. Your builder can give you 24 hours notice if they need a spec they should have known about for months. Watch for other people giving you things to do and question if their priority is in line with yours.
- Eliminate what you can. Again, watch where your time goes. What can be eliminated or reduced to make room for the things you want to be doing? Maybe you spend too much on social media scrolling. Could be that dinner takes 2 hours to prepare. Maybe the laundry can be sent out. Maybe you need to be more decisive and not search for 4 hours to find the *perfect* console table, when you can find a really good one in 90 minutes. What can you get rid of in your life to make more time or less crazy?
- Keep in mind that balance is a fallacy for most of us. You just have to do the best you can. And that is perfect. Watch out for the need for perfection, ask yourself: do you want it done or do you want it perfect?