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Balancing Roles and Responsibilities

By Becky Higgins

“How do you DO it all?”

This is likely a question that you have been asked, or that you have asked, or that you have thought about asking someone. Social media sure does a good job making some people look flawless as they “do it all.” Spoiler alert: No one actually does it all. Nor are we supposed to! And yet there seems to be an epidemic of so many people trying to do too much, which results in feelings of being overwhelmed, overburdened, and overcommitted. The thing is, balancing roles and responsibilities is part of life. It’s good to be well-rounded and engaged in various capacities between our family roles, work, service, social life, developing talents, and so on.

I am in a busy season of life right now. And I don’t say “busy” as a badge of honor. It just is what it is. There’s a lot going on. I am a wife and a mother to three young children, and my in-laws have been living with us for the past nine months. My husband and I both work full-time. I run a business that we started in 2009 and manage a handful of employees and third-party partnerships. I serve diligently in my church and in our community. In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m also up to my eyeballs in orchestrating an annual local conference for about 250 women in our community.

When I step back a bit—actually, when I step way, way, way back and look at the bigger picture and the reason we even exist—I can’t help but feel like this puts everything in perspective. We came to this earth to gain a body, make choices, experience consequences, exercise agency, and fulfill our potential. In order to fulfill our potential, we can’t sit around doing nothing, right?

Since “wearing a lot of hats” is going to be inevitable for most of us, let’s approach this balancing act in a way that helps us to feel invigorated, not exhausted. Fulfilled, not drained. Consider these three ways that we can successfully balance our roles and responsibilities.

1. Prioritize, delegate, eliminate.

When it comes to prioritizing, it can be as simple as first things first. When you decidedly establish what is most important in your life, you make sure that happens, and then everything else comes after. For example, our family is making a greater effort this year to honor the Sabbath day and set that day apart as special and different from every other day of the week. It’s one way we are trying to follow God. I no longer sneak a little work in on Sundays, and as a result, everything has seemed to go smoother in my balancing act.

As for delegating, I have taken a hard look at what I have on my plate, and various ways that others can step in and do their part have become obvious to me. Case in point: laundry. My kids are now more actively involved in the laundry process than ever before, and this not only eliminates some stress for me but also teaches them self-reliance skills that are important in life! Eliminating some things is also worth considering. Take a look at everything that is extra “noise” in your life—from social media to toxic relationships to actual physical clutter in your life—and let some things go. You will feel weight lifted from your shoulders.

2. Keep track with list-making!

I am a list maker. My husband is not. I have come to appreciate that it’s not for everyone, but if you’re like me and feel like you’ll absolutely forget what needs to get done unless it’s in writing, welcome to the club. Keeping track of tasks and to-do’s is an essential part of my everyday life that helps me to not only prioritize my time but also be highly productive, which leads to greater confidence as I work toward my potential.

writing a list

When I write things down, I consider this a form of “brain-dumping.” I’ve learned that the more I write down (whether it’s an idea or a to-do or a feeling that comes to me of something I could do for someone else), it’s less that I have to store in my brain! And since my brain always seems to be at its full capacity, this is a huge help for me. This video is a comprehensive walk-through of how I keep lists and how I make them work for me.

3. Know when to multitask and when not to.

It used to be that people would brag about their fabulous multitasking skills. Then there was a huge emphasis on the message that multitasking was bad! My opinion? There’s a time that it makes sense and a time that it is completely counterproductive. The key is to identify the difference. I’ll share a few examples to illustrate.

When multitasking doesn’t work: being with my family and taking “just a minute” to glance at my inbox. I have learned that cleaning up those boundaries makes a significant difference in my life. When I’m at work and my children are at school, I’m 100% in work mode and being completely efficient with my time so that when I’m in mom mode, I turn off the work part of my brain and immerse myself in family time.

When multitasking totally works: being alone as I put laundry away and utilizing that quiet time to listen to audio scriptures or an inspiring talk by a modern-day prophet.

At the end of the day, doing our best is what we can feel good about. We have divine worth and potential, and God wants us to succeed in having complete joy.

Becky blogs at BeckyHiggins.com.