I haven’t gotten very personal on this blog yet–but I’m about to. Perhaps it’s because I know there are a lot of our customers who are in the exact same boat that I am in. Perhaps it’s because I want to let you in on a little bit of the juggling act that it takes to run a business and a household with two kids under four. Most likely it’s both.
One of the biggest struggles I have had in the last year since launching Handcrafted Honey Bee has been the struggle of balance. On any given day, my work list might consist of creating recipes, promoting on social media, writing blogs, creating and editing videos, pitching magazines, television shows, and bloggers, ordering supplies, and pulling together and shipping out kits. Then I have the never-ending list of housework: laundry, dishes, sweeping & mopping, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, organizing & decluttering. On top of that, my older boy Eli and I have decided to try to undertake doing preschool work at home this year–I want to see if homeschooling is for us, and so far we’re having a blast doing it. But it definitely takes some carving out of our day! Finally, I *should* be taking time for me. Typically, this comes in the form of a CrossFit workout–but I have found when I am particularly busy, the “me” time is the first thing I ditch. Which is not okay.
I currently get up at 4:30am every day, and don’t stop until my head hits the pillow around 9:30pm. My days are full and I am frequently exhausted.
I decided it would help if I started planning out my days the night before so I could be more efficient with my work. Yet I found that when I made my daily “to-do” lists, I was very tempted to create priorities that were out of balance–I’d have an entire day where I had a list full of work and completely neglected the housework or homeschooling work that needed to be done (even though there was housework and homeschooling on the list). Worst of all, I found that I was neglecting ME!
Why? Several reasons.
First…there was too much on my list. I was setting myself up for failure from the very beginning by making lists that literally could never be completed.
Second…my to-do lists were unbalanced. I would spend all day catching up on work, which would lead me to an entire day of catching up on housework, and so on. And I would feel burnt out by the end of the day. I needed more balance in my daily schedule.
Third…self-care was being neglected. As I mentioned, self-care was always the first thing to go. For some reason, I (and I suspect many of you do this as well) would consider my own self care as a lower priority than the rest of the stuff that needed to be done. Not cool.
Then, one evening as I was planning out the next day’s work, it hit me. I remembered reading somewhere that we should limit our “have-to-do” list to three or four things per day. If I split up my day’s priorities into different sections–such as work, home, homeschooling, & self-care–and then decided on one “have-to-do” in each section, it would guarantee that I would have a more balanced schedule.
Thus, the Balance Planner came into being. I just couldn’t find a daily planner that had exactly what I needed, so I made it myself.
And I’d be happy to share it with you for free. You can download a blank Balance Planner (with the sections I use) here.
With the Balance Planner, I choose a top priority for each of your focus areas. Each of the top priorities for the day must get done! There are other lines, under “Other Stuff” in each section, where you can put other priorities for that section (you can even put a star next to them in the priority boxes to the right), but you can’t neglect the #1 priority from the other areas.
The idea behind this type of planner is to help you regain a sense of balance in your day. Even if you just get ONE thing done from each section, that’s okay! You aren’t so laser-focused that you lose sight of everything else around you/forget to eat/say no to working out/turn down the chance to play with your kids.
So here’s to more balanced days ahead. For you…and for me.