Image: Slodak Photography
There’s been plenty of posts written about the glorification of being busy and I don’t want to beat that one dead here. Instead I want to reflect on an awesome book I recently finished, Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu. Part memoir, part manifesto, and for me, part therapy, it’s a must read for any woman that feels the pressure of juggling too many things at once. Tiffany perfectly weaves her life story through the struggles of being a career woman, mom, and leader of helping women & children.
For me the book was full of affirmations (I think I audibly said “YES!” more than once while reading before going to bed), thought-provoking ideas, and comfort in that it is possible to juggle being a mom, managing a family & marriage, and leading in a high-powered career, you simply have to reset some expectations, learn to depend more on others, and institute some changes in your life to help release yourself of something Tiffany calls “Home Control Disease”. It’s not really a secret that women are conditioned since childhood to be the caretaker, the home maker, and the overall “manager” of all things related to the home and family – so how do you break out of that cycle and ensure both you AND your partner are sharing tasks equally, and most importantly, learning to let go (ahem, drop the ball), of seemingly important tasks, that may not actually be that important.
There’s two solutions that Tiffany proposes that have already helped me, that I felt compelled to share: first was the idea of setting up a shared task board of sorts between you and your partner, and second was listing out your 3 or 4 top most important things in your life.
The shared task board is two-fold, for one it gets SO MUCH out of your head, and into a list, and for two it helps you to realize how much your partner does too (when you feel like you are the one doing it all). Andy & I started a simple “Master To-Do List” on google drive, and it has made me feel SO MUCH BETTER this year. I can jot things down when they come into my brain, instead of just keeping them in my brain, and either of us can just pick items off the list to do. If things aren’t taken quickly, then obviously they aren’t that important to either of us, and it feels so much easier to “drop the ball” on those tasks.
I still need to make my list of “most important things”, but Tiffany uses hers as a sort of compass – a way to decide whether or not she should say yes or no to things she is presented with. It helps her to make decisions (if it doesn’t satisfy ALL her goals, she says no) and keeps her happy, because those important things ARE what makes her happy.
I’ve been historically bad at defining goals for myself and my business and sometimes I wonder if that is why I struggle some times to complete items on my CapRo Business To-Do List. Plenty of people say to me “I don’t know how you do it all”, but I often feel like I am leaving so much on my list that I am NOT doing and perhaps I feel this way because I don’t have that defined set of goals for my life or my business. Guess I will add this to the to-do list.
So if you have the time (or even if you don’t) I highly recommend picking up a copy of Drop the Ball – especially if you’ve felt overwhelmed like me, about all the pressure and “to-dos” that are auto-put on my list as a working mom and small business owner. I promise the book will give you some perspective, ideas on how to make things better, or at the very least help you to see that the reality is: we’re all just trying our hardest, to do our best.