Life can be incredibly crazy at times. Sometimes I can really relate to the hamster on the wheel not really getting any where. When this happens, life becomes overwhelming and exhausting at times. Our lives are filled with so many activities and 100’s of little tasks that things begin to feel unbalanced. Certain activities take up too much of our time, while other areas are neglected. There are however, some simple habits that you can develop to help keep your life balanced and create more serenity.
1. Make a List of Your Priorities
The first habit you need to develop in seeking to keep your life balanced, is to make a regular habit of writing out your priorities. When you know your top priorities in life, you know what you need to be spending your time on. Writing down these priorities is super important to keep you focused and to bring balance. Knowing what is most important to you, and it may change depending on your season of your life, helps to stop the overwhelm. This gives you a clear statement of your priorities. At the end of the day, you know that you did at least one thing that was important to you rather then wasting an entire day completing a hundred useless tasks.
Right now I have been thinking a lot about what I say my priority is and how I actually spend my time. When I take the time to write out my priorities I can see whether my stated priorities are lining up with where I am spending my time. Often they don’t. Forcing yourself to make a list of the things that matter most to you, and then taking the time to write down your daily schedule, you may find that the discrepancy is striking! But the good thing about this is that it allows you to adjust where you are spending your time so that you can keep your life balanced.
2. Make a Plan
Now that you have your priorities in clear view, you need to make a plan for how you will spend your day. I am not talking about a check list or a to-do list here. To-do lists are great, I personally love them and make a to-do list each day. However, you need more then a to-do list if you are going to have balance and not just busyness.
One of the things that really helps me is to break down my tasks into two tiers. The first tier contains those tasks which line up with my stated priorities. The second tier consists of all other tasks. This enables me to make sure that the things that are really important to me are being placed first. I am not just checking off menial tasks from my to-do list.
Another aspect of planning is determining what time of the day you are able to accomplish your most important tasks. For example, if you have little ones at home, (trust me this even happens with teenagers) it can be hard to accomplish those important tasks while they are up and about. Our kids have a way of needing you as soon as you sit down to focus 🙂 Since you know this ahead of time, plan these activities during your child’s nap time. Tasks that require a lot of mental focus are best kept for a time you will have an uninterrupted ability to focus.
You can use the time your kids are up for chores that they can help with and for most errands. By doing this, you are available for the needs of your kiddos while still being able to accomplish those more challenging tasks. This will automatically bring a feeling of balance and peace to your life.
If you really want to bring effective balance to your life, it is going to necessitate that you clearly communicate your priorities and goals to those in your life. This is especially true with respect to your family. When you let others know what your priorities are and what your goals are, they will be able to support you. Moreover, they will understand when you say no to certain things that would interfere with your priorities.
Developing the habit of effective communication is key to helping to keep your life balanced.
4. Eat Your Frog
There is a well known and a popular productivity book by Brian Tracy titled “Eat that Frog.” The book is based off of Mark Twain’s famous quote: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” Mark Twain’s theory is that if you do your hardest task first thing in the morning, it will probably be the hardest thing you do all day.
This same principal applies with making sure that you have your priorities covered first. If your priority is to have family dinners together, but you know that your husband will be working late several nights this week, plan a family breakfast to take the place of the family dinner. By switching the family dinner to breakfast, you will be meeting your priority first thing. Whatever else happens in the course of the day, you know that you will have met this priority.
5. Schedule Your down Time
One of the biggest things that throw our life out of balance is over committing. When we have a free spot on our calendar it is so easy to fill it up. In fact, for most of us, it happens without even trying. With every part of our day filled, we become stress and overwhelmed. This results in our life feeling out of whack and unbalanced.
But if you take the time to schedule down time activities, and actually write them in your planner, you will no longer have those free spots that so quickly get filled with less important activities. Write in your planner, specific times to read, even if it is only 15 minutes. Schedule your time to get outside for fresh air. Plan for a 20 minute power nap when you know you have a busy day. Schedule time to call a friend or meet them for coffee. Whatever it is that allows you to rest and recharge, plan it. These are the things that can have lasting and positive effects on your overall well-being.
Having regular downtime scheduled, helps us use our time well and brings that feeling of balance and well being.
6. Utilizing Your Time Intentionally
We all have those times when we plop on the couch, zone out in front of the tv and binge watch Netflix. If not tv, we get lost in social media and end of wasting more time then we even realize. When this happens our plans and priorities fly out the window. Even though we are all so tempted, and have most likely done this at some point or another, the truth is, we always feel more tired and sluggish afterwards!
This is why being intentional with our time is vital to living a balanced life. It is tough to do sometimes because we’re so easily distracted. We fill our days with tons of small, menial tasks that don’t leave you feeling fulfilled or satisfied at the end of the day.
When we make it a point to fill our time with more of those things that actually matter to us and make a point to have restful free time, we create a balanced Life.
7. Stop Trying to Do It All
Social media and the internet are filled with images showing us these amazing women who appear to be doing it all. Homes perfectly organized, running successful blogs or small businesses and giving incredible advice. We see these posts and images and begin to believe that we too should be able to do it all.
The reality is, women who “do it all” are mythical figures. We need to realize that no one does it all and more importantly, we shouldn’t try to do it all. It is an impossible standard that does not exist and destroys our sense of peace and balance.
Instead, focus on your priorities and the things that really matter to you. Give up anything that overwhelms you or takes away from what really matters to you. I wrote a detailed post on all the reasons we need to stop trying to do it all, you can find it here. Learning to let go of trying to do it all will quickly help you keep your life balanced.
8. Evaluate on a Regular Basis
As seasons of life change, so do our priorities. If we just go through our normal routines and do what we do because it is what we have always done, our lives can get out of balance without even knowing it.
In order to maintain balance in your life you need to regularly reevaluate and determine whether your priorities need to or should change. You then need to ask yourself if your top priorities are getting the attention they deserve. If you find that your priorities are different or not getting the attention they should receive, make the necessary changes and keep balance in your life.
Bringing balance to your life isn’t always easy and you will not achieve it perfectly. But I hope these tips help you to keep your life balanced more often.
I would love to know if you have any tips that help you to keep your life balanced, share them below.
Now live simply, live fully and make today your Favorite day!