I know it’s popular these days for people to say they don’t believe in life balance.
Perhaps I should tell you why I still believe in it.
Because when I feel like my work gets enough of me to stay under control while I’m satisfied with my contribution, and my home life is ordered, comfortable and fosters connection, then I’m happy.
I’d wager a guess that our definitions might be different but all of us have some sort of standards for our personal and our professional lives to run well. And when that happens, we feel calm and happy.
- Realise you only have so many hours in the day
We all only have 24-hour days. Some of us think we’re Superwoman and have more time than that. We don’t. The sooner you realise this and work within the limitations of time, the happier you’ll be.
- Write down your different roles and the time commitment required from each
Don’t forget to add in managing your home time and personal time!
The idea is to see if you’re a time optimist or if you’re being realistic with your time. Sometimes we think a certain activity only takes, let’s say, two hours a week. When you factor in travel time plus preparation time, it may increase to four or five hours. No wonder you always feel frazzled when you think about this specific activity.
- Check in with yourself and ask the hard questions
Am I too busy?
Am I trying to do too much?
Am I being realistic about the amount of time specific commitments take?
Do all my scheduled activities spark joy?
What do I need or want to focus on at this stage in my life?
What can I cut out?
What can I delegate?
- Implement good ideas immediately
I am terrible at many things but I’m a great implementer because I’ve put systems in place. You can be too.
When you see a good idea or hear of something that resonates with you, screenshot it, jot it down in your bullet journal and then schedule it so that you can test it out.
You’ll know within less than a week if something works for you or not. But if something does resonate and it works with your style, you’ve just found a new trick.
- Be honest about your priorities
I do an exercise with my time management clients where they tell me all the different areas of their lives. Some people have many balls that they’re trying to juggle. That’s okay…. as long as the priorities are in order.
Don’t neglect your home and family commitments just to look good on a committee.
My preference is to do less and do those things well rather than to feel overwhelmed by taking on more and more, and then do nothing well.
However, if your work is a priority during a particular life stage, don’t feel bad about that. Admitting it to yourself will free you from guilt.
- Realise that when you say yes to something, you automatically say no to something else.
Some things in life are just for a season, like the newborn stage. So while reading and going to my dance classes are extremely important to me, I personally did a lot less when my twins were little because I had to sleep whenever I could.
Yes to sleep, no to reading.
If you need to work late, you’re saying yes to work and no to one or two evenings of bedtime stories. That’s okay; there are no rules. We design our own lives.
- Keep evaluating and tweaking
I can guarantee that just when you think you have things figured out, suddenly something won’t work anymore.
That’s normal with organising anything, and especially your time.
We figured out the first term’s extra-mural activity schedule for the kids and then they all change. Completely normal. The key is to realise this so you don’t get frustrated every time you have to tweak.
Keep evaluating where you’re at – I do this on a weekly and monthly basis – and tweak, tweak, tweak. Just because it suited you to work really long hours a few months ago doesn’t mean it still suits you to do so now.
That’s how I create balance in my life. By realising it’s fleeting, always moving and needs constant attention. Just like a toddler!
How do you create a balanced life? Is balance an important value to you?
If you’d like to work with me to create more of a balanced life, I do have a few coaching spots open. Please contact me to find out more.