When I did a survey regarding what Mom in the City readers wanted to see on the site in 2015, “Work-life balance tips” was one of the top 5 things that readers wanted to learn more about. Time (self!) management has been one of my strengths, but I constantly need to keep learning new tips and techniques as my life gets more and more full. Juggling marriage, motherhood, ministry and a couple of businesses is not for the faint of heart…but I love it. Anyway, below are some of the things that are helping me with “the juggle”. (I don’t believe in balance.)
1. Figuring out Opportunity Costs: I listen to a variety of great thinkers and when certain themes start to pop up multiple times, I take note. Both Eben Pagan and Brendon Burchard recently mentioned the concept of “opportunity costs” in their trainings. Made popular by investor Warren Buffett, opportunity cost is the consideration of what other things you could be investing in instead.
The central idea is that the real cost of any purchase you make isn’t the actual dollar/pound cost. Rather, it’s the opportunity cost — the value of the investment you didn’t make, because you used your funds to buy something else.
This doesn’t just apply to money though. It applies to other limited things like time, energy and attention. While there are certain things that are necessary to do each day, all of us are free to make a lot of choices each day. In the areas of choice, we have autonomy. I have started asking myself an Eben question: “Is this choice the highest/best use of my time?” Once we are clear on our personal priorities (i.e. mine are God, my health, my husband, my kids and then everyone and everything else in decreasing order), it is easier to answer that question.
2. Factoring in Miracle Mornings: I have never been a “morning person” and I’m still not one. However, after reading (actually listening to – I heard the audiobook version) Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), my mornings are better. It turns out that (for me) waking up earlier is helpful (?!) I had to play around with the suggestions in the book to make it work for me, but I definitely suggest reading the book for a framework. The premise of the book is that if you do the following lifesavers in the morning, it will improve your days. The SAVERS part is an acronym:
S – Silence (i.e. prayer and meditation)
A – Affirmations
V – Visualization
E – Exercise
R – Reading
S – Scribing (i.e. journal writing)
The affirmations are still a work in progress. When I think of affirmations, I think of the lines “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” from Kathryn Stockett’s The Help (which I intensely disliked). Hal Elrod’s podcast Episode #43: How to Create Affirmations That Actually Work was helpful though. It provided the following affirmation “formula”:
I am committed to ____________________(activity), _______________(frequency)
so that I can _____________________________ (goal/ideal outcome) by
I have 10 big goals for 2015 so I am clear on how to set affirmations now. While I don’t do them exactly like the formula, it was helpful to start off that way.
In any event, I have found these two concepts – opportunity costs and miracle mornings – to be beneficial. If you have learned any helpful work-life balance (juggle!) tips lately, please share them. We all need as much help as we can get! 🙂