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Life

Life-learned lessons, relationships, marriage, faith, lifestyle, and everything else in between.

Juggling for Balance

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

"Huh?," you might wonder, "How do you balance when you're juggling?" When we hear the word 'balance', we'd usually picture somebody with yoga pants on, standing with one foot on the ground and with both palms of their hands touching (Namaste!). Or, some of us might picture a scale with equal amount of weight on both sides. Well, these depictions are not wrong. In fact, if you google the word 'balance', these images would most likely to come up on the search result.

The word balance is often associated with an act of holding more than one thing at a time to maintain that peace...that quietness...and therefore that balance.

But when it comes to work and life, can balance really be achieved that way? By doing many things, if not everything, all at once a.k.a multi-tasking?

In an infograph by Social Caffeine that I posted a while ago, researches have shown that 40% of productivity is reduced when a person multi-tasks. Why? Because when you multi-task, you are open to more distractions! A lot of people said that women are great multi-taskers, because we can have so many 'tabs' opened in our brains at the same time. But is it really effective to try to do everything at once?

Experts have found that most people like to multi-task because it serves them emotionally. Meaning, it makes work more entertaining, like when you do your homework while binge-watching your favorite TV series or getting your presentation ready for tomorrow while spoon-feeding your baby. It sounds cool, because you are pleasing everybody and every one of your senses, but the problem is, with multi-tasking, errors are often inevitable. Ooh, you don't want that my friend. Having your clients complain about your work, risking your credibility and all? Uh uh, that's not what I call balance at all.

 

So what do we do?

 

SERIAL-TASKING

Maybe, we have all mistaken multi-tasking with what experts call "serial-tasking", which means getting a task done effectively before rapidly switching to another task. Realize that the keywords here are effectively and rapidly. So you focus on doing whatever you have to do at this hour, and when it's done, quickly move on to the next thing you have to do. Yes, kinda like juggling.

 

When it comes to keeping it balance between work and life with your family, being present is certainly crucial. Otherwise, it's not balanced at all! And multi-tasking will only mess it up. I have tried to do my work (articles, translations, etc) at home while my kiddo was around, or bringing him to meetings, and I tell ya, it's not a win-win solution. When he was a newborn, yes it was probably okay, but now that he's 2? No, no. I gotta be present both when I am playing with him, and when I'm writing or in a meeting. I can't do both at the same time! They have to take turns. Like balls that are flying in the air, waiting to fall back into a juggler's hand, one by one.

 

Scheduling

A juggler does not try to hold or toss 3 (or more) balls at the same time. Instead, he works with one ball at a time, tossing the others to the sky while keeping his rhythm going and somehow achieving balance in that seemingly chaotic dynamic. He has a gameplan and a schedule that he's mastered, so he knows which ball to work with now, which ball to worry about later, and which ball to catch next. Know what to do and when to do it - that's the key.

 

It definitely takes more discipline and self-control to juggle, but trust me it's actually more efficient! With blogging, I always schedule to do it at night. So I can finish an article/post in just 1.5 to 2 hours, distraction-free, while during the day, J has my undivided attention. I also try to only do my instagram posts in the morning (when we're driving to Mr. Man's work) or when J takes a nap in the afternoon. And! I try to take most of my photos when Mr. Man is at home.

 

For meetings, since we don't want to hire babysitters yet (at least until J can speak more fluently) the gameplan is to pick lunch time if the person I'm meeting with could meet up somewhere that is no further than 15 min-drive from Mr.Man's office. Why? So that he could take J out for lunch. Therefore I could have a decent meeting without worrying about chasing a toddler around. My other option is to do it in the afternoon at 4.30 p.m. (anywhere, it could be downtown or anywhere), so Mr. Man can take J out for an early dinner or afternoon snack while I'm having my meeting. With this though, he would have to come to work a little bit early so he could leave early. Since the meetings have usually been scheduled and planned ahead, it's not a problem. And, I believe  as both J and my blog grow, we would continue to find new gameplans to make this work without sacrificing neither of us.  

Living in the Moment

Now that I've achieved the 'work' part of the balance, the only way I could get the 'life' part balanced is by living in the moment. When I'm out with my fam, even if I do take photos, I'd post them way later, when whatever fun or engaging thing we're doing is over. I do this so our family won't have those moments where I'm busy editing photos on instagram while Mr. Man and J are enjoying the food at a restaurant. That's not balance at all, right? They are my life, after all.

 

So friends, in our daily attempts to achieve the ultimate balance, let's all learn to prioritize, plan, live in the moment and juggle on!

Don't forget to click the following links to check out what other wonderful bloggers say about this matter :)

Cheers!