Now I can fully understand that part. I was the designated family cook in our family and it was my responsibility to baste the turkey and get the salad ready before setting the table during the holiday dinner. But Mary, decided to keep listening to what Jesus was saying instead of helping the in kitchen, which got Martha a bit upset. But Mary was commended by Jesus for knowing how when to stop and take time for what was most important at the moment.
Later on, you read where Jesus returned to their home for another visit and Martha was busily preparing a meal again but this time it was a totally balanced experience. I used this story at a women’s retreat once to do a lesson on getting a balance in your life. It seems appropriate to use it now to talk about getting a balance in your business and professional life too. As a business owner have to deal with the daily decisions on how to grow their business as well as marketing strategies, networking, cash flow analysis and perhaps the most common stress of how all, learning to get a balance between your personal and professional life.
Fortunately, you can learn to get a balance in your life. Here are seven tips to help you get a balance in your life and business.
1. Find Your “Balance” Model: This point really needs emphasizing because no model of what creates a life balance fits every woman. Some of you are single while others are single moms, or a wife, mother of several with a husband at home and on and on. So you have to learn what balance means to your life instead of copying a model you find that’s generic. This is often a reason why it seems you might fail at finding balance when you’re presented with a “one size fits all” balance model. Start by looking at your life, then start planning from there.
2. Make it Relevant: Along with finding the right model is the need to make what you do in your life each day relevant to your goals. As a professional business woman, you should include activities for your business, and include time for spiritual and personal care. Some may say “I pray all of the time” but putting prayer time on a schedule will become a beautiful and powerful habit that lets you concentrate even more on speaking to the Lord about your business needs. Whatever you do, keep your overall goals in mind as you create your balanced schedule.
3. Form a Schedule: Now it’s time to actually create your schedule. Depending on your life, a schedule will keep you on track. Of course, there will always be things to disrupt a schedule such as a sick child, emergency in the office or no food to get dinner ready on time after all. But getting into a habit of starting your day with a schedule helps you get more done. Even though the timing might vary, let your daily schedule include prayer, exercise, time to do some de-cluttering, and specific business activities. Now, include family or home life according to your lifestyle and don’t forget about being social or church attendance.
4. Track Your Activities: When working on time management coaching, a major activity is to have a person track their daily activities. This is tedious at first but quickly shows how time is being used each day. You can’t create more time, you can only better use the time we each have each day. List time increments on a paper in 30 minute segments, although it’s best to track every 15 minutes and the small times in-between that. Now, track how much time you spend during the day on any activity. Note when you work, when you get distracted, when you change activities. Track this information doing what’s normal for you for at least two weeks. Then sit down and do an honest analysis of the data. How much time do you spend on work? How much time do you spend on personal things? After studying what you do all day, you can make adjustments to better use your time.
5. Include Others: If you’re married with kids or single and new in town, leave time in your schedule for other relationships. In fact, it’s difficult to do most businesses successfully without some type of social life. Women excel at networking so find ways to get involved with a social networking group that is outside of your normal circles. Go to business forums, community events and non-profits. The more you get out the more you’ll meet people and get ideas about how to do your business better. Schedule these times into your life so you don’t get out of balance doing them.
6. Schedule a Vacation: Entrepreneurs are known for not taking time off from work to rest and have a vacation. Human resources studies show that overworking leads to lower productivity. That means you can keep working until you’re actually burned out but you progressively get less and less done. It’s better to pace yourself. Take time off on a regular basis. It might just be a long weekend or one whole day once in a while. But also schedule in a few weeks off during the year at least once and possibly twice if possible. Let your mind have a completely different experience and give you body rest and rejuvenation.
7. Eat Well: Yes, it’s vitally important to get a balance in your eating. You can have the best intentions in the world to eat right and take care of yourself but if you don’t schedule in time to do some grocery shopping and plan your meals, your busy unbalanced schedule could wreck your weight and health. It takes time to plan what you want to eat. Even if you’re going out to eat, it’s better to pre-plan what you will or will not order so you won’t be tempted to go overboard in the restaurant. It you work from home and don’t plan your meals, it’s easy to start snacking more often. Soon meals could become snack foods that pack on the pounds instead of keeping you healthy. Schedule time to plan your week’s worth of meals, go shopping and cook and freeze a certain amount of meals each week so you always have something healthy to eat.
Women in business are a unique group of people. You have to learn discipline in new ways in every aspect of your life. Start by getting a balance in your business and personal life and so many other aspects of your business will start to fall into place.
Consuelo Meux, Ph.D. is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women in Business (NACWIB). Sign up for the Association mailing list and get your business plan template and devotionals for women in business. http://www.cwibnews.com