Balancing The Act

I often get asked how Sandras and I ‘manage it all’, being parents to two young children, having full time jobs, running SLi and now he is doing an MBA at the Graduate School of Business (University of Cape Town) whilst I’ve been busy setting up a social enterprise around women’s economic empowerment between South Africa, Zambia and Uganda… and thus seem to have our hands very full!

Well the three S’s seem to work for us: Selfishness, Structure and Support.

1. Selfishness:  This is to do with how one uses their time! I believe one has got to be selfish with their time. It’s a critical resource that when wasted cannot be taken back. And it’s unfortunate that most of us are highly skilled in wasting time in so many ways!

Procrastinating is one way! It’s a great thief of time and dreams. Failing to say no to things is another and a lot of us tend to take on things that we do not want to do simply because we failed to say no. That can be a great time waster! Guard your time jealously.

Key in doing this is finding out your values, those things that are really important to you and dedicating your time to them. For example amongst my top 5 values are:

–          My family and friends

–          My work, business and making money

–          People and their social and economic development

–          My personal development and health

I therefore divide most of my time around these things. It is important to note that one’s values change and shift around every so often and can also be interconnected. Thus it is necessary to take inventory every 3 months or so just to ensure that you are making the most effective use of your time. For me the above seem to be the core values and may shift around in order but all 4 tend to remain in the top 5 most times. The 5th position changes around between fashion, entertainment and any other pressing matter at the time. I find that I am stress free when I spend time on what is important to me.

Want to find out your top values? Contact SLi coaching here.

2. Structure: It makes a whole world of difference when you have a lot of activities going on to have some structure to how you will do them. For me this entails the following:

–          Having plans for the year as a whole then dividing it into quarters. I do this by deciding what activities/projects I will do when and thus giving adequate attention to each appropriately.

–          Dividing my weeks into days. For example Monday to Friday is mainly about my work and family. Friday night is date night for Sandras and I. Saturdays are mainly SLi business, family and friends and Sundays I like to dedicate to the boys.

–          Dividing my days into hours. Each waking hour counts to me and my days are thus divided as such. For example during the week (apart from Friday) the times 6.30pm and 8.30pm are mainly about the boys i.e. having dinner together, checking homework, listening to school stories and who did what to whom and the likes.

–          Doing some things in advance. For example I prefer to do grocery shopping for the month at once so that it is not a weekly activity. This saves me time. I also set up activities like speaking engagements in advance, sometimes up to a year in advance!

 3. Support: Yes each of us is only one person and thus can only do so much in 24hrs and thus support is Key. This entails:

–          Learning to trust that others can do some things as well as or better than you and shaking off the control freak in you

–          Delegating by critically looking at which activities totally depend on you and spending time on those whilst delegating the rest.

Is this fail proof? Of course not, because life happens all the time. Sometimes I can’t make dinner with the boys during the week for some reason and so I call and speak to them on phone and let them know what is going on. That way they are not upset and my mind is settled too. Sometimes a friend may be having a party that we have to attend on date night so we simply shift things around etc.

There are also times when one has to do something they don’t particularly like and yet has to be done! For example I don’t like grocery shopping and most times Sandras does it because he likes it. But there are times when he can’t and that means I have to do it. I have found that when that happens, finding ways to make it exciting helps A LOT! J So I will dress up in nice clothes (yes I love clothes) and that picks up my mood whilst I do it. You’ve got to find what works for you! LOL!

Try applying the 3 S’s in your life to help you balance your act too. Good luck!

Image by Danilo Rizzuti

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