Creating A Balanced Life
The concept of feeling balanced in your life is something most people struggle with. Managing to stay balanced in all the 7 life areas: health, emotions, work, family, friends, finances and spirituality, can be very challenging. Most people are doing more with fewer resources. They are working harder or multiple jobs to make ends meet; trying to keep up with their kids school, activities or both; trying to keep up with their health by refraining from getting ill and if lucky actually exercising; all while striving to stay wthin a budget. Many times when one of the life areas is unbalanced, one or more of the other become off balanced as well. For example, if your health is poor, you may have problems at work, with finances and emotional balance.
The idea of being balanced is a dream like concept for many who feel they are drowning every day. But is the concept of life balance a dream or a reality to be achieved?
How To Achieve Balance
Look at the tasks you need to complete, and place them in order of priority. Are there some tasks that go to the bottom of the list and you can do if time allows? Are there tasks that you have been putting off that need to move up the list of priorities?
For example: On Monday laundry was on the bottom of the list. It has remained at the bottom of the list for the past 4 days. It now needs to go to the top of the list or there may be a shortage of clean clothes. Keeping track of your priorities does a few things. One, it helps you the see what needs to be completed. Two, it helps you to see success in tasks that were achieved. And three, it helps you to know what still has to be completed.
2. Important vs. Urgent.
Important means that it has to get done, urgent means it has to get done now. Not everything is urgent. In addition, some things we believe to be important may not actually be necessarily. For example, getting the kids homework done by the end of the night is important if it is 4pm. Getting the kids homework done by the end of the night is urgent if it is 9pm. Urgent takes priority over important.
A good way to keep tasks at the “important” level versus “urgent” level is to use preventative tactics. Write down tasks that need to be completed for the day. Create a time schedule that has realistic goals. Everyone has experienced believing a task might take 10 minutes, but takes an hour instead. If you know it a task might take an hour to an hour and a half, schedule an hour and a half. If you “get back” some time then it is an opportunity to move to the next task or have a small rest. It is better to have extra time instead of feeling behind schedule.
3. Define Your Needs:
You have to identify your needs and then communicate them to the correct people. Sound simple? Sometimes it feels hard to ask for help. At other times, you may know you are overwhelmed but can’t identify exactly what you need to make it better.
For example, if you are finding that you are the only one (1) taking the kids to school before you go to work, (2) picking up the kids after you are done working, (3) beginning dinner after doing the kids homework with them and then (4) bathing and (4) putting them to sleep before you can sit down for five minutes, it may be time to ask for help. Talk to your spouse about possibly handling a pick up or homework time. You could ask a family member or friend if they would car pool a few times a week. These small reliefs can be of great help in decreasing the feeling of being overwhelmed and increase the feeling of having some balance.
4. Say No:
It is ok to say "No" to requests. This might be very hard, but saying “no” does not imply you are “mean”. Saying “no” is a way of saying you recognize your limitations and have chosen to prioritize a variety of activities. Agreeing to do to many things can leave you feeling overwhelmed an unbalanced. Know what your limitations are and feel comfortable expressing them.
Achieving balance in your life is possible. Through practicing these techniques, you can find the balance you are looking for in your life. Remember that it will take time and practice to achieve.
- Kim B.
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