Life Balance, what is it? How do you get it? Is it a myth or something you can achieve in your life?
There is much talk today about life balance, family-life balance, and work-life balance. I’ve even heard someone call it “work-life integration.” Whatever you call it, it seems like its something everyone is striving to achieve. And many are beating themselves up because they can’t seem to figure it out or get it just right.
As a speaker, author, entrepreneur, a wife and a mother of five, the question I get asked most often is how in the world do I find the time and energy to do all the things that I do. Between all my projects and different business endeavors, how do I still find time to show up at my children’s sporting events and take care of my house and other family responsibilities? Let me tell you, it’s not always easy and sometimes, I don’t get it right.
Like you, I too am constantly trying to figure this thing out and to strike a satisfying and meaningful balance in my life. I’m often torn between what I need to do for your business, what I want to do for myself, and what I have to do for others? In other words, I’m torn between what I should do, what I can do, when I can do it, and sometimes whether I can do it at all!
But I’ve learned a thing or two along this sometimes bumpy ride, and a few strategies that I want to help you find your unique life balance. But before we jump in, let me share my definition of balance.
First, balance is not about wearing a cape with a large emblem on your chest. Finding balance does not mean figuring out how to be in all places at all times. Nor is it about trying to spend equal time in every area of your life, yet that is what many of us try to do and we drive ourselves crazy! When you spread yourself too thin, you put unnecessary pressure on yourself that will only lead to frustration and, quite frankly, delirium. Instead, balance is all about making choices. Choices about where you spend your time and attention and choices about what you are willing to give up. That’s right, you can’t do everything. There, I said it!
The following simple strategies can help you carve out a meaningful life and strike that balance you’ve been looking for:
Strategy #1 Prioritize – Make deliberate choices about what you want in your life
You have to have a clear understanding of what is important to you in your life and what matters to you most. I have a tool that I created called the “F” Factors. I use this tool with my clients to help them set goals and set priorities in key areas in their life. You can download a FREE copy of the “F” Factors here. This worksheet will help you begin to identify your priorities and what’s truly important to you
Strategy #2 – Align your daily schedule and activities to reflect your “F” Factors
In order to find balance, you have to streamline your schedule to make room for what’s important. Once you identify what’s important to you in your life, it becomes your job to make sure that you are focusing some of your time and energy on what you say is important to you. Now, will this be equal time and energy? No, absolutely not! But at the end of the day, your work, schedule, commitments, and activities should reflect your priorities. If something is taking up your time and it’s not in line with your F Factors, you need to let it go to make room for your priorities.
Strategy #3 – Take Charge and take back control of your time and attention
You are in control of where you spend your time and what you focus on. This also means that you are control of when you work, how much time you spend with your family and how you balance between the two. You have to take full responsibility for your choices and stop blaming others for how you choose to spend your time.Does this sound familiar? “I had to work late,” “I couldn’t stop working on that project,” “I couldn’t say no, they would have been disappointed.” etc.Often when we find ourselves out of balance, it is because we gave someone else control of our time and attention. You have to make choices and decisions that support the balance and harmony you want to have in your life. Yes, I understand that we have to work to care for our families, but we also need to learn strategies to help us work smarter and more efficiently. We need to get organized, plan ahead, stop procrastinating; whatever it takes to create more balance and maximize our time.
So back to the original question, How do I find balance in my life to do all of the things that I do? The answer is simple,
One, I work at it every day. I make time in my life for all of the projects and people that mean the most to me. And two, I adhere to a daily schedule that reflects what’s important to me.
Do I miss out on events and activities? Absolutely! I realize that I can’t do it all, but I can choose what I do. Do I always get it right? No, there are times when I fall short or I have to make adjustments or reset my priorities. For instance, If my husband tells me that I’m spending too much time on a new project, that might be my queue to make some adjustments. But again, just like you, I am in control of my time and attention.
There is no magic pill or secret to finding work-life balance or family-life balance, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution because balance is unique. While I can share my tips and strategies, your individual balance will come down to what your needs and priorities are and what matters most to you in your life. Be intentional and make time in your life, for all of the people and the things that matter to you most.” And to achieve balance, you have to streamline, prioritize and make some cuts.
And remember, balance is not about trying to spend equal time in every area of your life. Instead, it’s about streamlining, prioritizing, making choices and adjustments that work for you and your unique life situation. Don’t compare yourself to me or anyone else. No one has it all together. And we all have to work at it every single day.
Originally published at www.tamarahartley.com