Living a balanced life is something many people would like to do. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. When thinking about balance it is important to consider that this is a very individual thing. What may seem like a very reasonable balance for one may be completely out of whack for someone else’s situation. Here are a few tips that may help you find a bit more balance.
- Being busy does not always equal being productive. We sometimes trick ourselves into believing we are the only ones who can get something done. Occasionally, this is true but not always. This line of thinking may result in us doing things that may not be the best use of our abilities or time. It may actually be better to either delegate or outsource something to free up time for something else.
- Make yourself a priority. When you feel like you have the least amount of time is when you should make the most time for yourself. Self-care becomes critical when we are under the most stress.
- Being mediocre is okay once in awhile. Lowering the bar is not always a bad thing. This is especially true for those who have perfectionistic tendencies. Accepting that you have limitations and this is okay can be hard. Not that you should shrug your responsibilities or not fulfil promises but rather accept that part of being human means you won’t be 100% accurate with 100% consistency on everything you do.
- Saying no may be an option. You may be surprised what happens when you say no to taking on another meeting or late night conference call for work. You may discover it is possible for you to have someone else attend that meeting on your behalf. With a little creativity it may be possible for the information to be exchanged by another means or at least another time.
- Everything cannot be the top priority. As you prioritize the activities in your life there may be times when a particular assignment or project simply doesn’t make the cut. Accepting that fact and moving on is important. For example, there are times when a family commitment may be more important in the big picture than meeting a deadline.
- Make time for the people in your inner circle. You know who they are. They are your cheerleaders, confidants, and the ones who always have a shoulder to lean on if you are having a crap day. Consider this an investment for the future. Bonus points if they can tell a good joke.
- Eat, Sleep and Play. We all know this but its still worth a reminder. If we are well rested, fed and have enough activity it does our mind, body and spirit good. Unfortunately, these areas are often where we look first when we feel overwhelmed and start considering cutting things out.
- Plan some downtime. We all need some time to recharge occasionally. There may be times when you just need a “Me Day”. In the corporate world this is called a personal day. If you are still in school it may be referred to as truancy. Nevertheless, there is a reason why most major corporations have built these days in as a standard part of employee’s benefit packages. It’s because they ultimately allow the person to be more productive, focused and happier.
- Don’t let the exception become the norm. In life there are times where we need to be flexible to accommodate someone or something. However, it is easy for a one-time exception to become a regular event. It is good to question whether working through your lunch break or staying late etc. is becoming a pattern as opposed to a one off thing.
- Listen to your body. If you are noticing more headaches, stomachaches, frequently getting the flu, you are developing fidgets or unusual pains don’t ignore these signs. Your body is sending out warning signals that you are overdoing it. Our immune systems are weaker when we are under stress. Tension headaches, random aches and pains can increase if we are under more pressure even if we haven’t emotionally registered it yet.
- Technology should enhance our lives not detract from them. In a world where being accessible 24/7 is possible we need to decide how best to fit this into our lives. There are clearly advantages to having prompt contact with friends, family and co-workers. Efficient opportunities for online networking, dating, and socializing can also be really nice. However, if not managed properly it can also steal away moments with loved ones, and cause you to miss interactions in the real world. Uninterrupted face-to-face chats, family dinners or walks in the park are pretty special as well. And for goodness sake… please put the phone down when shopping in the mall, out for a run, a drive etc. You become a hazard to others when you are not aware of your surroundings.