Is your life balanced? Your life may be out of balance if you feel overwhelmed by the number of items on your to-do list; if you feel like there are so many things you want to do, you’ll never be able to do them all; if you feel like if one more person asks you to do something, you’ll scream.
A balanced life is one in which we are the master of our schedule, we do only what we want to do, and we are in control. A balanced life is having the time for all the things that have meaning to us. Sound impossible?
Here are my three tips to start balancing your life:
1. Figure out where your time is going. Before you can create balance, it’s important to know what activities are zapping time out of your schedule. For two days, keep a time journal. Write down every task you do, and how much time you spend on it. Don’t cheat! If you spend an hour surfing the net, write that down. The point of this exercise is to take an honest look at what is draining your time.
Determine what activities really feed your soul. Activities that feed your soul will make you come alive. They will feel fulfilling to you, and you will genuinely enjoy them. There are things we all do that drain our energy. These are activities you feel obligated, or pressured to do, or they are “mindless” activities that you might do to avoid something else.
When you’ve completed your time journal, go back and look through the activities that you spent time on. Think about each one, and mark next to it whether it was fulfilling or draining.
2. Now, begin the process of weeding out the draining activities. It may take a few weeks to get through what you’ve already committed to, and to break habits – like surfing the net when you should be working on a project. But, when scheduling new activities, or, when you’re on the brink of starting something that’s a draining activity, really think about how it’s going to serve you and if you truly want to engage in it.
3. Say no. You do not have to accept every invitation, you do not have attend every gathering, or accept every project. When someone asks you to be involved in something, tell them it sounds interesting, and you’ll check your schedule and get back to them. Take some time to really think about how the project would serve you and what your intentions for participating would be. If you feel yourself only wanting to accept the project to make someone else happy, it’s a good sign that this is not the project for you. Graciously thank the other person for thinking of you, and simply let them know you can’t commit to it at this time.