Balance makes a better you.
Updated: Sep 24, 2019
We are all looking for that elusive balance in our lives, but most of us never find it. As educators, we tend to give our all to our students, and the majority of our time and energy ends up being devoted to school, whether we choose it to be or not. We dream of work/life balance, but it’s a dream that rarely comes true.
“Balance is a myth, but living with purpose, passion, and priorities is within your reach.”
This line on the back cover of Balance Like a Pirate spoke to me, and I hoped that this book by Jessica Cabeen, Jessica Johnson and Sarah Johnson, and another published by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc, was going to help me achieve it.
Luckily for me, this book delivered! Through personal stories, questions and practical advice, Jessica, Jessica J and Sarah help you understand what balance is, how to identify imbalance and actions you can take to find balance. There are also ‘Treasures from the Deep’, stories from other educator’s experiences with imbalance, scattered throughout.
Section One introduces the four Balance Quadrants – Personal, Positional, Professional, and Passions – and uses the PIRATE (Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask & Analyse, Transformation, Enthusiasm) acronym to guide you to help identify where and how you can regain balance in your life.
Section Two delves more into the four quadrants, clearly defining each, helping you to navigate them in relation to your life, and identifying possible cannonballs that could sink your ship. You really need to take the time to explore each quadrant deeply and relate each quadrant to your own life.
Section Three is where the work is, but it’s worth it! You’re called on to honestly assess where you are in each quadrant, set goals and chart a course in order to hold yourself accountable. This section also talks about ‘The Five Steps of Freaking Out!’ when you veer off course. I really appreciated Jessica, Jessica, and Sarah’s openness and honesty in this section – letting us know that we’re all human and can ‘lose our cool’ in times of imbalance.
Section Four is full of practical tips for staying balanced in each quadrant. In fact, throughout the book, Jessica, Jessica and Sarah offer practical advice and strategies through the sharing of their stories.
Ready to set sail.
After taking time to process where I sit in each of the quadrants, I've clarified the actions I'm going to take to achieve and maintain balance.
Personal: schedule time with family (it's going on the calendar ahead of time!); a device free evening once a week (I think this will be just as hard on me as my kids😬) where we spend time together; implement the 'five minute rule'; and take time to reflect and make a gratitude list each morning.
Professional: develop and grow my #TLAPdownunder chat; continue to build my Twitter PLN and participate in chats; listen to podcasts in the car during my daily commute; read; blog.
Positional: at least two nights a week school work free and only work 1/2 a day on a weekend; clean up email subscriptions; spread kindness and joy.
Passions: plan a holiday; make time to pursue my interest in photography.
Finding balance really is the best gift you can give yourself. It not only benefits you, but your family, friends, students and others in you life. Make it a priority.