Local author shares secrets for ‘balance’

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 99 views 

Lela Davidson is a busy woman.

The author of Blacklisted from the PTA is a mother of two, a writer for a multitude of websites including Today Show Moms, Modern Mom and her own blog After the Bubbly, an owner and founder of local media group Peekaboo Media and a participant in a number of worthy organizations including the Junior League and, yes, the PTA.

So she was a natural choice to speak to a group of women (and a couple of men) about work/life balance at a lunch Thursday (June 7) at The Crumpet Tea Room in Rogers.

The event, which drew about 20 people, was a benefit for Havenwood, a nonprofit transitional housing program for homeless people based in Bentonville.

Havenwood provides single parents and their children with furnished apartments for up to two years, as well as offering classes on life skills such as parenting and finances. Residents of the 15 apartments — many of which are in the process of being refurbished — must  be in school or working to qualify to live there, said Rachel Cox, Havenwood’s development director.

Davidson said she thinks work/life balance is a myth and it’s much more important to consider whether you had a good day and were doing things you enjoyed whether than if everything is “in balance.”

“If you’re doing the thing you should be doing there’s not a lot of difference between work and life,” she said.

She noted that she’s able to do so much because she is able to channel her energy into the things that really matter to her.

Davidson offered 10 tips for developing a more balanced life, including viewing your work as service to others instead of focusing on what you get out of it, aligning your activities to your interests and making rules based on what’s important to you. Davidson said, for instance, that she tries to schedule events only for two nights and three lunches a week.

She also advises that people look at the whole calendar — not just the next week or month — before deciding to commit to something and to write a script to help delay making a decision. She also recommends not answering e-mail so quickly, let children live their own lives and be a good friend to a few people and their causes.

"It’s also important not to take things personally," she said.  "Surround yourself with people who build you up but also challenge you because, in the end, being balanced all the time isn’t a good thing."

“You can’t accomplish anything if you’re just always balanced,” she said.