Alyssa Mages, CVO – 24 July 2020
Toss one up, pass it on, toss another, pass it on, whoops, wait here comes some more, toss ‘em up, keep it going, keep it going, DON’T DROP IT, watch out, focus, here comes another, up it goes, around & around, DON’T DROP THEM!!! KEEP IT GOING, KEEP IT GOING, KEEP IT GOING…
The phrase “work/life balance” has gained a lot of traction & attention lately and it’s a concept that proves to be elusive if not downright unattainable for the majority of us. And why is that? Well simply said, I don’t feel that it’s a balancing act, but more of a juggling one. More often than not we have multiple ‘balls’ in the air – work, family, self, pets, friends, exercise, mental health – just to name a few, and we’re constantly tossing our focus from one to the next, often without putting another down. On & on the circle goes, and where it stops…truly, does anyone know?
I find myself in this juggling position so often, a bit less these days as I’m no longer in active veterinary practice and professionally am solely focused on EVT, but the other things in the air? I won’t list them all here because well, to see them in writing may necessitate me hiding under my desk & breathing into a paper bag! All joking aside, it’s been a challenge to identify and rectify the amount of items I’ve got in my own juggling act to ensure that instead of tossing my focus from one to another and not truly being present, I put them down, turn them – I literally visualize this – into blocks, and build a foundation & plan.
I’m still in the architectural planning phase, and there are MANY days where the juggling act comes back full force and an additional game of ping pong gets underway, but there is definite progress that I’ll share with you now.
Create a schedule. Write it down. Even what you may feel is a ‘given’ – WRITE IT DOWN. Mine is in a state of permanent flux, that ranges from 6:30 am – who am I kidding, this is usually more like 7 am, with a few snoozes – to 10 pm, that includes everything from kiddo wake-up calls, taxiing, meetings, yoga, arts & crafts, swimming, dog walking, and then some. OH RIGHT! Don’t forget to add some additional stretch time, snacks, standing up occasionally, running interference with kiddos – projects, minimal screen time, etc. & some bathroom breaks.
When I’m in work mode, I’m in the zone as much as possible– creating/developing, networking, planning and there are notes up on my office/bedroom door to relay what I’m doing so interruptions are (hopefully) minimal. When I’m in family mode, I’m working on leaving my phone at the desk and hearing, seeing & being a part of my children and that amazing guy that I tend to forget too often but he knows how much he’s valued & loved. And that self-time…this is the area that I need to work on more, but it’s come more to the forefront than it ever has, and lo & behold when I tick that box off, the others flow to completion so much more smoothly.
The takeaway? We’re all doing our best to not get hung up on the balancing that we may or may not be achieving, and work on gaining ground toward accepting that while we’ve got a lot up in the air, we have the ability to recognize when there’s too much and to choose to put things down, turn them from a round flying object into a solid & grounded one, and begin rebuilding and reframing from there. Remember, it’s very rare that anything is a true 50/50 split and sometimes we have to give more to one area and another one will just have to wait. The challenge is being OK with this, and it’s one I’m confident we’ll rise to, and with time & working together, overcome.