Well, this is a fun day! I’m not going to lie, putting this post together with all of these absolute POWERHOUSE women from across all creative walks (writers, bloggers, planners, photographers, movement makers)….I kind of felt like what T.Swift must have felt putting together her Bad Blood video (which I just watched for the first time btw!) Stay with me now. Let me explain.
If you haven’t seen it yet, that video brings together all of these incredible, strong women from all sorts of different industries (actresses, writers, and fellow singers) and it delivers a pretty clear message: strong women cheer for other strong women. They aren’t just out for number one and they aren’t only focused on getting ahead themselves. Strong women see other strong women killing it, and they high five them. They celebrate with them. They shine a light on them. They surround themselves with other strong women because they know they have so much to learn from & teach each other. That they are stronger together. And that when you surround yourself with other strong women that doesn’t make you weaker by comparison…it makes you better by their example.
I am really lucky to have a LOT of incredible #bossladies in my life who are absolutely KILLING it across every industry. So I reached out to them and asked them to share what they’ve learned. I know one of the topics that is on most of our hearts this time of year is finding some real & lasting balance in the height of busy season. So here are 10 Tips for Finding Balance from 9 of my absolutely FAVORITE strong women (plus a bonus one from me). I know you’re going to love these ladies as much as I do!
1. Email Boundaries with Dear Sweetheart Events. Picture this: you’re standing in line at Michaels holding 10+ items, typing an email with one hand and trying to dig out your wallet with the other. Sound familiar?! I used to allow emails to RUN MY LIFE because I didn’t set boundaries for balance!! I answered emails like text messages and would get so anxious if I couldn’t check my inbox a dozen times a day!! In order to find balance and be able to ENJOY my trip to Michael’s or a date night with my husband, I knew I needed to make a change. I’ve shared several email tips on the DSE blog, but one of my favorites is the easiest one of all: turn off your notifications! The truth is, email is NOT texting! Turning off my phone notifications allows me to check my email on MY time and answer each one intentionally. I still have the Gmail app on my phone, so when I’m out of the office I can click on it, see what’s come in & respond to urgent ones, if needed. But I no longer feel the need to drop what I’m doing and respond immediately; it’s a win-win!:) Kat shares a TON of amazing #bosslady tips on her blog! Be sure to check it out by going HERE!
2. Block Scheduling with Heart Love Always. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to balance. It’s going to look different for everyone. The biggest thing is finding a balance that works for YOU in the season of life you’re in. For me, balance means systems. I have to have a system! I live and breathe by block scheduling and monthly duty days. They keep me on task, on track, and most of all, on my toes! I honestly don’t know how I’d get on without them! Check out more from Alexandra by reading her gorgeous blog HERE!
3. Simplifying with Amanda Hedgepeth. One thing that is near and dear to my heart and representative of who I am as a person is that fact that I enjoy celebrating and aiming for a simple life in my ways, learning to live with less material things and making more memories instead. In business, this applies, too! The more our desks and workspaces accumulate, the more stressful the environment can feel..so when I am feeling a little overwhelmed I try to downsize areas of my workspace by getting rid of old things or condensing existing items. This has also been SO helpful in our home, too…the less “stuff” you have…the less their is to clean and take care of, and that’s more time for yourself, your spouse and your babies to make memories! Read more about how Amanda achieves simplicity by going HERE!
4. Prep Day with Krista Jones. We stay balanced throughout the week by using PrepDish. It’s a subscription service that provides a meal plan for the week, a grocery list, and instructions for a “prep-day.” The main benefits: 1) The prep-day, which usually takes us about two hours after church on Sunday morning, is time we intentionally spend “resting” together; 2) we make it a point to sit-down nightly for family dinner to enjoy the meal; and 3) we eat healthy meals throughout the week! You can read more about Krista’s prep day approach by going HERE!
5. Focused Tasks with Natalie Franke. Rather than leaving my inbox open all day, I have found that I am far more productive when I schedule out two to three thirty minute segments to respond to email messages throughout the course of a standard business day! I used to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by my constantly over-flowing inbox so I knew something needed to change! I start my mornings with a quick email blast around 8:30am, (followed by a second round before lunch at 11:30am on Mondays and Tuesdays when my inbox is more full!) and then closing out the day with another thirty minute segment. Emails that aren’t answered by the end of the day, roll over to the following morning where they are my priority! Read more about the best tips for productivity from Natalie by going HERE!
6. Automate and Organize with Hope Taylor. Before finding 17Hats, I was managing all of my contracts, invoices, questionnaires, emails, calendars and to-dos all by myself. I told myself over and over again that I didn’t need a business management software to help me, but I am SO glad that I finally decided to make the leap and invest in 17Hats! Now, I can have peace of mind knowing that all of those things (and more!) are being organized and managed FOR me, and I don’t have a brain constantly full of things to do! It has saved me so much time and stress! Read more about exactly how Hope uses 17 Hats in her business by going HERE!
7. Put the First Things First with Hannah Brencher. Balance is key- especially in the insanely busy seasons where there is barely any time to breath. I am a big fan of making sure my creative work– like writing– gets done in the early morning before I even check my email and see what the demands are for the day. If I am simply waking up to check my email then I find myself in a constant spot of “maintaining” rather than “thriving and moving forward.”If you don’t respect your own boundaries, you really can’t expect others to respect them either. If you want to read writing that will change your life on pretty much a daily basis, you have to follow Hannah’s blog by going HERE!
8. Stay Off Your Phone with Jamie Delaine. In the middle of a busy season, something that keeps me balanced and sane is staying completely off of my phone for the first hour of the day. It sounds like a simple task but the addiction to “check in” is there! Clearing my mind the first hour of the day has been incredible. (And if you’re up to the challenge, try to avoid your phone for the first 2-3 hours of your workday. Your productivity will skyrocket!) And you guys also have to read this AMAZING post that Jamie wrote on dealing with pebbles when we should be moving boulders! You can find it by going HERE!
9. Fight for What Matters with Karen Stott. With a marriage, house duties, 3 children, a ministry, and a few businesses, balance is definitely a subject near and dear to my heart. Since I love what I do, my job can easily take over my home life if I let it. But I believe balance comes when we make intentional decisions about the life we want to live, and then we fight for it. I dream of making big impact outside the home, but I also dream of huge eternal impact and being a present mama and wife in the home. All of this has become possible because I decided what mattered, and I created a schedule around that. Dinners around the table as a family most nights matters to me. Having my mind free enough to dream, be the visionary for our ministry, and to write the book on my heart, it matters. Taking a meeting between the hours of 3-8 pm doesn’t make the cut. I decided what I wanted my life to look like, and I fight for it, often a few dozen times a day. I say no to A LOT. Even some of my own dreams. I live by the words, “Just because I can do it, it doesn’t mean I should.” To read more of Karen’s amazing writing and follow her on her book writing process, check out her blog HERE!
10. Win the Day with Mary Marantz. The battle is won and lost in whether we feel energized or overwhelmed. And overwhelmed is really just another word for not knowing where to start. You want to have your most productive, balanced day yet? Tonight write out just three things that you want to accomplish tomorrow. Just three things that if you do them, you can look at that day and call it a win. Now when you wake up, you’ll know exactly what you should be working on and in the place of mental fog and exhaustion, I bet you’ll find yourself fired up to get stuff done. Do all three things. And once you do, turn off the work and go spend time with the people who really matter. Because that’s the balance we’re all really fighting for!
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