My 7 steps to a balanced life

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Rather than work-life balance, let’s talk about ease and flow

Gosh! You guys are awesome.

Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments on my last post. I’m determined to personally email each and every one of you so hang in there if I haven’t got to yours yet.

As you know, I rarely get so many comments 😉

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Today is a momentous day for us – my twins moved to “big beds” tonight.

I think they had an inkling that something was afoot because they were up and about til after 9 pm (this is unheard of in our household) last night.

They are adorable at this age – of course the cuteness is interspersed with a few tantrums – so I didn’t get too cross with them.

There wasn’t too much drama tonight – but they still missed their bedtime by an hour!

It made me think about how we all have that inbuilt radar for when things feel “off”.

Sometimes it’s just a bit off like when I start dropping food in the kitchen, burning myself taking things out of the oven or breaking mugs or glasses.

*Ahem* that’s a sign I need to get out of the kitchen before I cut off my finger.

Other times your whole life just feels off.

Off like “I don’t know how I’m going to get through all this busyness” off.

I have my tricks for getting through those times, most of which I share in Break out of overwhelm.

It’s a rhythm.

Personally I can’t deal with too much off for very long which is probably why I work really hard at the balance.

I know many of you don’t believe in work-life balance – neither do I – but it’s the feeling of your life having flow and ease instead of living on the extreme ends of the spectrum.

There are so many demands on all of our time that it feels virtually impossible to ever achieve that all-elusive life balance.

To feel like you effortlessly flow from one area of your life to the next, and not feel guilty about any of the individual parts.

Here are my 6 best tips to achieve flow:

1. 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, the happier you’ll be.

2. Write down your different roles and the time commitment required from each of them

Don’t forget to add in managing your home 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.

3. Now ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I too busy?
  • Am I trying to do too much?
  • Am I being realistic about the amount of time outside commitments take?
  • What do I need or want to focus on at this time in my life?
  • What can I cut out?
  • What can I delegate?

4. Prioritise

I do an exercise with my time management clients where they tell me all the different areas of their lives. Some people have lots and lots of balls that they’re trying to juggle. That’s okay (not preferable though) as long as your self-defined 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 overall and do the things I love really well rather than to feel overwhelmed by taking on more and more.

5. 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 of having twins. 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 just to keep myself sane.

6. Keep evaluating and tweaking

Just when you think you have things figured out, suddenly something won’t work anymore.

That’s normal with organising anything, let alone your time.

Keep evaluating where you’re at – I do this on a weekly 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.

So that’s how I create flow and ease in my life. I want to emphasise that it’s an area I’m always working on!

As always, if you need a Personal Time Session with me, contact me. I have a client currently on a break so I have four sessions available. Do you want one of them?

I’m a bit off at the moment (about a 6 on the scale) because my house is a wreck due to the kids’ big beds arriving and some painting I’m having done. Oh, to have my house sorted again 🙂

Do you believe in work-life balance? Why or why not?

How much flow and ease do you have in your life right now?

PS My friend, Beth Dargis, wrote a great blog post on how balance is like perfectionism. Have a read – it’s definitely worth the click.

juggling work and babies…

Today is my first day back at work!


Connor and Kendra, 15 weeks
(couldn’t resist this opportunity to show off some baby pics)

It must be hard to juggle your work and your babies?

How do you do it? 🙂

Leanne from Joburg

I wrote about balancing work, life and family before…

I thank God every day that I’m organised so I can save lots of time in a myriad of different ways.

I honestly don’t know how people do this mothering thing (especially of multiples) if they’re not organised 🙂 I would go nuts.

  1. I have lots of systems so that things that have to get done like cooking and cleaning get done with the least amount of fuss.
  2. I also always cook double and when I’m in the mood and have an extra bit of time, I’ll cook even more and freeze all the extra meals. At the time of writing I have 10 extra meals in my freezer (that’s enough for two weeks) and on my to-do list today is to cook another two meals as I have the nanny here.
  3. I’m fortunate that I have a wonderful boss who’s allowed me a more flexible working day now that the babies are here. However that means when I’m at work, I’m totally there. No faffing around; I get to it and get my work done.
  4. I’ve pared down my business considerably. When I’m at home and working on a newsletter, I set myself a time goal, focus and get it done.
  5. I always assume that a baby will wake before I expect it to so I try and work quickly. At home I clean as I go, or tidy as I go. I don’t ever think “I’ll come back to this later”.
  6. Of course when the babies need my attention, all this goes out the window.

I think in short, I’ve been forced to use my time effectively. I’ve learned that now more than ever I can’t afford to procrastinate otherwise it might never get done (even simple things like eating breakfast).

Calling all mothers!

Please share your best tips with me for juggling work and babies (any work – inside or outside the home)

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