Today's episode is for you if you're an overwhelmed parent just trying to get through the day. Marie talks about her Create Balance Method where she helps her membership group clean up their "junk drawer". She's giving away 2 annual memberships if you're looking for some more help to getting organized.
Greg McKeown - Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Greg McKeown - Summary - Essentialism: By Greg McKeown | The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Essentialism| The Disciplined Pursuit of Less - A Full Book Summary - Book, Hardcover, Paperback, Audible, Audiobook)
Greg McKeown - Summary - Essentialism: By Greg McKeown: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Essentialism - A Complete Summary - The Discipline Pursuit of Less - Book, Paperback, Audio book, Hardcover, Audible)
Tiffany Dufu - Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less
Marie. Started Create Balance two and a half years ago. She teaches parents how to use systems that she uses as a working mom. She was originally a teacher, and still considers herself as one in several capacities.
Her career started as a 10th grade English teacher. She started teaching in California then to East Coast. Teaching for Maria is an emotional and a labor-intensive field in which she developed tons of system early on to help her manage the workload and not let it take over her entire life.
She became a mom, and everything became a little bit difficult. She learned so much during her time in teaching and being a mom, and having to relearn systems and work so hard to be productive. It took her five years to understand that being productive should be her main goal as it was draining her life away. She developed a system to turn that around and shared it with people and that’s where Create Balance comes in.
Create Balance Method.
What it’s based on is not creating more stuff done but being hyper-selective about where you put your time, attention and energy.
It’s looking at a to-do list that is unmanageable like literally there’s no way you can do all the things on that list. As well as being very intentional and selective of what things to do and what quality you do them at.
The Create Balance Method is based on before you do anything else you start by naming what your essential values are for that phase of your life. She gets her clients to take the time to figure out which amongst their values are essential for them in this moment of their life.
The reality is, we may have things we value but because of what life’s throwing at us, or because of what’s happening at work or at home, we may not be able to do our best with that value – and that is okay. That’s the big shift in creating balance versus like finding it. You are constantly creative because you are constantly checking in with yourself and say “Okay, what was essential to me before and what’s essential to me now, and how could I really prioritize the time, attention, and energy I put to those things?”, but recognizing that that’s an evolving process -
This idea that we should set our professional or personal, parenting values perfectly now and somehow it’s going to carry thru, instead embrace the cycle.
Values. She revisits every three months. Right now she was trying to look at, where has she had the best quality time with her kids? She realized that they are doing better at adventures – getting out of the house and doing things is where they are really thriving and learning.
Looking back 6 months prior, they had a lot of stuff going on in their family and what her kids needed to thrive was downtime at home and intense emotional connection with her and her partner which was the exact opposite of adventure.
In three to six months at a time what’s most essential?-
It gives you permission to focus on that and more importantly it gives you permission to let go of some of those expectations that society puts on us but also we put on ourselves. Thinking that we’re supposed to do everything well as a parent, but the truth is we can’t do everything well. So if we can’t do everything well, we might as well be really intentional and focus on the ones that we care about the most and what our kids need most in that period of time.
Stages 2 and 3,
it’s maximizing time in what matters most and minimize time and energy on the rest -
Set up projects, one-on-one time with your kids, etc. Use time-blocking or scheduling tools to make sure these happen in your day or in your week. In the minimizing, that’s where your efficiency comes in – giving yourself permission to spend less time on the things that are a little bit less important to you and also less energy put on them.
Sometimes it’s not a matter of not having enough time, it’s just not having enough energy.
Some chores, the time it takes to do them is less the time we worry about them. So if you can set up some system or schedules for your chores instead of always having to worry about them.
Stage 4 & 5 also go together.
Taking action and getting focused. Getting clear about what tasks and projects you’re going to work on in a span of time.
Focus to plan out what you’re going to this month, this week and today. On that list are pieces of your essential values since our to-do list can easily get filled with whatever is urgent. It takes some intention and planning to put the stuff that’s important but not urgent.
It wraps up with reflection.
Step back and say “Okay, how did I live out my essential values in the past month/week/day, etc and how do I move forward? How do I want to adjust my essential values and change them altogether because our family needs some change?”
Most of us know reflection is so important but making time for it is challenging. We just actually have to dedicate a little of our time to it.
How to start. She started creating an intense to-do list. She tried several apps and took hours figuring out which one to use. After that, she landed with a very small notebook where she kept her to-do list. Looking back, the mistake she did was that she was trying to find a tool where she could shape her life around, because it feels like her life was out of control.
In reality and what helped her in the end was saying, “Where are my strengths? Where do I gravitate to, to get organized?” – Which for Marie was pen and paper. Once she figure how to double-down on that things worked better.
Very basic that happens is you set a timer for five minutes. Write down everything you think you value as a parent, a person, a professional. Make a 3-column chart for each aspect, then write down what you value in those areas and what brings you joy. Once your timer goes off, encircle one to three of those things that you want to pay attention to for the next two weeks. Then start paying attention to them.
It’s not like the whole system that fixes your life, this doesn’t happen overnight. What you start with is by shifting your attention to a few things and noticing them more in your life and then thinking about ways to build and maximize time on them – It all starts with noticing.
One thing Marie would recommend for folks who wanted to start something like this is just to make the 3-column chart right now, set the timer for 5 minutes, circle up to 3, and start noticing when they come up in your life. Revisit it in two weeks and say, “Are these the things most essential to me still right now?” If so, check what’s one thing that I could start doing to have more of them in my life?
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