What’s on your plate? If you have too much, get rid of some things.
Life is like a buffet plate
One of the fantastic women I interviewed for my book on work life success, Kimberly Foss, told me that a professional woman’s life is similar to a buffet plate. Everything looks good and as you go through the buffet table. You keep on piling up food. The problem is our plate size is limited. Some things need to be removed from our plate before we can add-on more.
How many of us are living our day-to-day life with overflowing plates? It is not only unhealthy, it is also difficult to digest. We have work commitments, care for our spouses & children, do countless household chores, travel, manage our finances & try to keep ourselves healthy. For women, it’s mostly our downtime and eventually our health that suffers, while we desperately try to do all things and have it all.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by trying to have it all? Instead of living life with an overflowing and unhealthy plate, perhaps it would be good to take some time out and visualize what’s on your plate. It is never too late to take things off your plate. This can be done once you are clear on your priorities. Priorities change, so it is totally fine to coach yourself to reorder them periodically as needed.
Break your life into categories
I like to visualize my full life as a full plate with the following categories which I prioritize depending on my situation.
- Spiritual Life or centeredness
- Health & Fitness
- Financial Management
- Family & Relationships
- Child &/or Elder Care
- Career or Business
- Fun and recreational activities
- Housework or maintenance work
I like to regularly assess where I am on each of these areas and adjust accordingly. During my corporate life, most of my time was committed to work, with very little time left for fun and recreational activities. The awareness of how unbalanced my plate looked was enough for me to make some simple changes like walking regularly. Eventually walking was not enough and I took on a more intense cardio and flexibility workout, I discovered and eventually got hooked to hot yoga. It was not only a healthy workout; I enjoyed what it did to my health and overall wellbeing.
When I needed to add something to my plate, something needed to be given up. It either goes off the list, gets outsourced or delegated. Several years ago, as my career took off and travel increased, my husband picked up managing our day-to-day budget. It was not easy for me to give this up, but I noticed my stress levels decreased as he ramped up managing our finances. Years later, I am glad we made this shift; he became so good at managing our budget & investments that I was able to retire from my corporate life as soon as our youngest daughter graduated from college. As my career took an even bigger portion of my plate, finances, gardening and cooking moved over to my husband’s plate. He’s a much better cook anyway and loves to garden.
What’s on your plate? What can you move out?