Yin and yang—you can do a balancing act!

Balance life and work with yin and yang

Long-time Shenouda employee, Donna Muldoon, applies the concept of good enough to balance work and life

The biggest lesson I’ve had to learn regarding work and life balance is the concept of good enough. This has been especially difficult for the perfectionist in me but has ultimately been the philosophy that helped guide me, and console me, during my most hectic times.

Reminding myself that not everything has to be perfect and that many things can be done to the good enough state has saved me productive time and energy, and allowed me to feel better about the job I’ve done on some tasks. Of course, this is best applied to mundane, repetitive tasks like household chores or yard work but has also been useful at work on similar types of jobs—ones that come back around for many revisions.

It’s not always easy to remember to stop at good enough. I still feel like I’m cheating—not doing my best—but it has helped to achieve some measure of balance in my life at important times.

All the planning, organizational tools, support structures, and helping hands can’t guarantee work and life balance. The small degree of balance present in my life is largely due to an incredibly patient and considerate employer who allowed me the latitude to keep most of the balls in the air, most of the time.

A few words from Judy Shenouda, the “incredibly patient and considerate employer”

As a small business owner, I recognize the critical importance of balancing the needs of the business to deliver the products and services that clients purchase with the needs of workers who have all kinds of non-work demands on their time and energy. Over the years, I have learned to address this yin and yang balancing act.

I determine the human resources that are needed to complete all clients’ projects on time. Knowing the starting point of a project (what we are receiving), the completion point (what we are delivering), and the due date, I calculate as best as I can—in spite of many unknowns—the number of people hours of work that are required each week.

It is equally important to establish with workers their availability. How many hours can they realistically work on average per work? Are these hours during our clients’ typical working day? If not, when are they able to address questions from others—clients, colleagues, and me? Gaining clarity on workers’ availability and constraints is key.

Knowing the human resources that are needed to meet clients’ needs, I map out a solution that takes into account the time that workers can commit. Maybe a team approach is needed. Maybe I will be part of the mix, either as a backup resource or the project’s face in team meetings. This takes creative juggling but has allowed my business to retain both loyal, long-standing clients and loyal, long-standing workers.

  1. Steve said:

    Excellent points Donna and Judy, good enough and plan as best we can. It is always easy to perfect, hard to stop perfecting.

    • Thanks, Steve. Striving for perfection may be admirable, but perfection (if it exists at all) likely requires more time and effort than competing demands allow. So, good enough has its place!

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