Find Balance in Your Life; It’s All About Time
Updated: 08/16/2022 – Are you juggling too many things at once; trying to do a great job with everything but falling short of your mark? How do you find balance in your life? Maybe the answer is “it’s all about time”.
And by that, I mean time management.
If you were able to make better use of your time, would you be able to find balance in your life?
Finding a Balanced Life
Does a balanced life even exist? Or is it a figment of the imagination?
My life has always been overbooked. Running between work, meetings, family, volunteering, and carving out me-time, no wonder life felt out of kilter many times. There was always something or someone who needed my attention.
I was scheduled to be out of the house most nights of the week. This led to unbalanced home life.
And therein lies the problem. Life is just too busy.
So, here’s a big realization…we just can’t do it all. And when we finally realize that, that’s the time that we can do something about it.
Is There a Happy Medium
Think about this – are the obligations on your schedule there because you want to do them or do you feel obligated? Do they make you happy or are you doing it to please others?
Don’t get me wrong. Bringing pleasure to others makes us feel good. But sometimes too much of a good thing may have a negative impact on your life. People pleasing can become tiring.
So the big question: is there a happy medium?
Let’s see if we can find the “sweet spot” where you can find balance in your life.
First, let’s talk about prioritizing – determining what is most important to you and what can leave behind.
Try this activity.
- Make a list of your activities.
- Include your family responsibilities, paying job, volunteer work, and anything else on your schedule.
- After each of the listed items, write down the reason that you have it on your calendar.
- Reasons could include necessity, stress buster, or someone else is relying on you.
- Then conjure up a feeling about each of the listed items and write it down.
- Now, decide what can be eliminated from your schedule and put a big X through those!
- Redo your calendar.
- If you’ve crossed off the unimportant things, you’ll see so much more “white space” on the page and instantly feel some sense of relief!
Congratulations! 🥳 You’ve successfully decluttered!
Now you just have to follow through and gracefully back out of those commitments.
In doing this exercise, it is obvious that family and work obligations take priority. But if there are so many extra activities that can simply be erased, you have to admit that they’re taking you away from more important things.
This is a great way to find balance in your life by finding more time for the things you want to do.
And don’t look back.
Set Limits to Find Balance in Your Life
If you find that you have a number of responsibilities in an organization and you’re not ready to leave it completely, cut back on some of your duties.
Set limitations on new projects for your volunteer work. Believe me, others will understand and respect you that you need to scale back.
This can easily give you a few more hours on your clock to fill with other things that are more important.
It may be more difficult to set limits at work. But when asked to commit to a heavier workload or overtime, you can set reasonable limits. Talk to your boss. Failing to do so can impact negatively on your life.
Ask for Help
Don’t be too proud to admit that you can’t do it all. It is very tiring to be constantly on the run.
There is no shame in asking for help.
Are there others in your circle of family and friends that can share responsibilities?
Here are some possibilities:
- Ask a sibling to take an aging parent to the next doctor appointment;
- Share carpooling rides with neighbors for the kids’ soccer practice;
- Talk with your partner about dividing after-school pickup duties
You may be pleasantly surprised that others will gladly step up to help but never did so because you never asked!
Do you try to keep a timely schedule only to have others impose on you? And it feels like you’ve been completely distracted and accomplished nothing after a while?
If you allow this, you will find that it’s extremely difficult to find balance in your life.
I had a very dear friend who was elderly and lonely. I’d stop by to do things for her, have lunch, and just keep her company. But once she started talking, usually about local politics or days gone by, it was very difficult to leave. I was held hostage.
We all have a loved one who can sap energy and time. Being able to set limitations when spending time with them can help you to find balance in life.
Tell your friend, or family member, that although you love them dearly, your time is not limitless. Set a time limit and make sure that you abide by it.
Don’t allow yourself to backslide on setting limits as it is easy to be taken advantage of again.
Other forms of Distractions
Distractions from your task-at-hand can come in other forms.
Monitor the time that you spend on social media. It can erase hours of precious time if you go down that rabbit hole.
Do you find yourself being drawn away from your work for minutes on end by a rerun of an old show on the TV? You know what to do!
By allowing others and things to steal time, you are losing precious time for important things in life.
Practice Saying No
Once you realize and acknowledge your limits and time constraints, you need to practice saying “no”. Believe me, this will take some practice if you’re not good at saying no to others.
Here’s a for instance: I have never been good at fundraising; I hate to ask people for money – no matter how worthy the cause. If I’m given tickets to sell, I end up buying them myself and giving them away!
And all because I just couldn’t say no! When I tried, I end up feeling guilty.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If I said no, I always imagined that the person asking for something is taking my rejection personally.
So, I had to develop a way to let them down easily. It usually included some type of explanation – although one is not necessarily required. (Warning, if giving a reason, be truthful)
A simple “no” can look something like: “I’m sorry, but I have plans.” And leave it at that.
After practicing saying no for a while, it does become easier.
Own it, say no, and save yourself some time.
Picture your life without those extra activities in it. It may be difficult to leave all those added things behind at first, but these changes will help you to find balance in your life.
Don’t feel guilty about leaving an organization or thinking that they will fail if you don’t help. Chances are they were doing all right before you came on board and will survive after you leave.
When you start to feel guilty about your decision, pull your mind back to the present. Remember why you let go and allow yourself to feel the weight lifting off your shoulders.
Give yourself permission to let go.
Forty Years is a Long Time
I was a Girl Scout for 40 years, both as a girl and an adult. When my two daughters were old enough to be scouts, I volunteered as a leader. Throughout the years, I held almost every volunteer position in my Council.
I finally resigned from my final position as a Girl Scout Gold Award Committee advisor. Forty years was a great run and a lot of fun; it really was a tough decision to leave. But, it was time to let someone else step up and for me to “retire”.
And quite frankly, I can definitely breathe easier with that commitment off my plate.
Understand that Balance is Fluid
Once you have balance in your life, something (or someone) will inevitably come along and unbalance you again.
But that’s OK. As long as you remember that balance is fluid. What was once not important, now goes to the top of the list; what was once important, no longer is and can be crossed off your calendar. Accept change; change is good!
Be vigilant on how you’re spending your time. If you’re spending it in ways that you really don’t want to, make adjustments and get back into your proper balance again.
And remember, this is your life. You get to decide how you want to spend your time.
Sign up for email notifications when a new article is posted to Dream. Explore. Discover You. You will also get access to the Dream Life Toolkit where you’ll find free journal pages, prompts, guides, articles and so much more! And don’t forget to download your free set of worksheets to help you prioritize your time to find balance in your life.