List out the things you want in life.
What that all comes down to is wanting more balance.
What we really want is to have time, finances, and feelings evenly budgeted and distributed for everything that we want in our lives.
Is that really possible?
Yes and no….
Yes, in that you CAN and SHOULD balance your personal, professional, physical, emotional, and spiritual life over the course of your life.
No, in that not every moment of your life can be perfectly balanced.
You’re going to go through seasons of life, wherein you’re going to have to give more attention and time to specific areas of your life.
It’s the end of the quarter or year, and you’re up to your ear in work projects and assignments. You’re going to have to dedicate a bit more time to work in order to finish them by the deadline. That means you might miss some workouts here and there, have some late nights at the office to miss some family or social time, and picking up some additional stress.
Holiday season is upon us, which means more family and friend get-togethers and may come at the cost of time off work.
You may be training for a competition or you’re coming close to a goal, so you tighten up on your workouts and nutrition.
These show seasons where you’re dedicating more time to certain areas as compared to others, but if you’re truly hoping and working to live a balanced life, the pendulum always swings back.
So how do we make sure it swings back? How do we maintain an overall balance in life?
Awareness is key.
It’s important that you’re aware of the fact that you cannot have complete balance every second of every day.
The sooner you recognize that, the sooner you can stop chasing it and beating yourself up for not having it.
But you also need awareness for when your time is becoming unbalanced.
You need the awareness to understand that it’s necessary to adjust your time to give more focus to a specific area of your life.
Even more important, you need the awareness when your life is getting too far out of balance. The awareness is what can pull you back before the imbalance becomes damaging to your work, relationships, or health.
So how do you build awareness?
Think about how much time you need to feel balanced to each area of your life.
Know what your typical workday and week looks like and when you have major deadlines or events.
Know the number of workouts and time in the gym you need to feel in control of your health.
Be realistic with the amount of time you feel comfortable spending with family and friends over the course of the week.
The important thing is to be honest and realistic, so that you’re able to build the awareness of what balance truly looks like in your life.
Control What You Can
You cannot control deadlines or being assigned projects.
You don’t make the kids’ school and activity schedule.
You don’t even control the fact that your gym is closed for the holiday.
Stay focused on what you control.
You do control the effort dedicated to your work, the attention given to your family, and how you plan to workout.
We have this tendency to get overwhelmed and worked up by these things we have no control over.
As a youth sports coach, I teach my kids that you’ll always be given homework in school, you’ll fight with your family and friends, and games won’t always go the way you hope.
All you can do is make the best of it, come with a great attitude, and give it your best effort.
Adult life is no different.
If you maintain a focus on the things you can control, not only will you better maintain balance, but those periods of imbalance will smoothly pass.
As you feel yourself shifting your focus away from things you can control, take a timeout, and refocus on what you can control in that moment.
Regular Goal Checks
If you don’t keep an eye on where you’re going, it’s easy to lose sight of where you’re going.
Keep your goals in a visible place and review them often.
As days come and go, it’s easy to add tasks and events to our place that don’t bring us any closer to our end goal. A regular goal check helps to remove those things before it’s too late.
Think of it this way.
Let’s say you’re locked in on hitting your goal weight before the end of the year; however, you continue to volunteer yourself for every upcoming event and project at work.
Well, now you’ve taken on so much that you’re unable to hit the gym after work and you’re just grabbing something to quick to eat on the drive home.
You’re stressed, short on time, and no longer seeing any results – did you REALLY need to volunteer for those projects?
These events and projects are not serving your current goal, so I recommend you don’t volunteer for every single one.
Stay focused on your weight loss goal, and contribute where you can without sacrificing too much time and mental effort.
If you’re not time blocking already, adding that in may already add some balance to your life.
Time blocking means you’re dedicating chunks of time to specific tasks.
The key is to be specific in your time blocks. Avoid labeling a chunk of time as “work time.” Label it as what you are specifically working on – respond to emails, create a presentation, or set up for a conference call.
Almost as important to the specificity of your time blocks is how realistic you are. If you continuously misjudge the time required for your tasks, you’re setting yourself up for more stress and chaos.
Personally, I’ve found I need to budget more time for commuting from place to place as well as how long it takes to write these blogs.
If you’re not time blocking, I challenge you to give it a try because it might just be the missing link keeping you from balance.
Plan Time for All Pieces
This directly relates to time blocking.
If you don’t specifically plan for family time, you’ll always wish you had more of it.
Like I’ve said throughout this blog, you’re bound to go through seasons where certain areas of your life will take precedence, but that does not give you permission to completely ignore the other pieces of your life.
The time block may get shorter, but it shows the intention and helps to maintain some form of balance.
If you’re specifically planning time, you’re preventing an unhealthy imbalance and it allows you to be fully present when those times are scheduled.
Feeling out of balance can really have you feeling frazzled.
It’s frustrating to not be able to give equal time or say no to doing things you are typically free to enjoy.
I hear you!
Self-affirmations are a great way to remind yourself that this season is temporary, you’re progressing toward your goal, and that you are taking steps in the right direction.
Find the time where you need the most encouragement during the day and plan your self-affirmations at or around that time.
If you’re unsure where to start with self-affirmations, fill in the blanks in these sentences:
“Today will be great because…”
“I am grateful because…”
“Today I will…”
Keep it short and simple but repeat it as many times as you need to get yourself refocused and motivated.
When our schedule begins to fill up, what’s one of the first things to go?
Well, you don’t live under a rock, so you know it’s important, so what gives?
We’ve all convinced ourselves that we are stronger than sleep. That it’s just an accessory and that we don’t REALLY need it.
Sorry, but we’re all wrong.
The percentage of people who can actually function on less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is so small that there not be a single person reading this blog who fits that standard.
Our lives only become more unbalanced as we cut back on sleep because we lose mental acuity, focus, and motivation.
Maintain a goal of 49 to 50 total hours of sleep per week. If your week doesn’t allow for
7 or 8 hours during the week, play catch up over the weekend to make up for it.
Do Your Best
No matter how hard you try, your life will never be perfectly balanced.
Remind yourself that.
If you’re applying the strategies from above and working to keep your life balanced as best as you can, that’s all anyone can ask of you.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in what other’s tell you do or how you could better spend your time, but they’re just outsiders and unable to see all of the effort you’ve put in to getting this point.
If perfection isn’t possible, then take rest in knowing you’ve done your best.
As you wrap up each busy season, it’s important you take time to reflect.
Be an honest critic of yourself in assessing how you handled all areas of your life.
Identify patterns or strategies for the next time you endure this busy season. Recognize the areas that took a hit and how you can create more time in the future.
If you really want to improve for the future, ask those around you for a review in addition to your personal review. They’re able to provide feedback from an outside perspective so you’re able to understand how your ability to balance was perceived.
You might think more time, money, love, sleep, and peace are out of reach but you might simply be missing balance.
Take the time to evaluate where you’re at before you enter into the holiday season, so you’re able to prepare and maintain some sanity through one of the craziest times of year.
About The Author
Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan.