When I talk to women in my 100 Coffee Chats research project, ‘balance’ is a word I hear a lot.
Our world is one where everyone lives chaotic lives with a lot on their plates. You feel stressed and burned out. To offset the madness, you crave more ‘balance’ in our lives.
‘Balance’ is seen as the magic elixir to all of life’s problems.
When thinking of a ‘balanced life,' most people see it as one with…
- More downtime
- Less stress
- Time to do the things they truly desire
When I ask women what ‘balance’ means to them, they usually say having more time to themselves.
But, when I try to dig deeper to see what they think that would look like, they can’t really see it clearly.
So, let’s talk about this! Let’s discuss how to get your life more ‘balanced.'
The key to understanding a balanced life is to know that it doesn’t mean all slices of your life are the same size.
Most of us think of ‘balance’ as all things being equal. That makes sense...when you think about a scale, both sides have to be the same weight to make it balanced.
While that works for balancing objects, that’s not how it works for life. You can’t make all the parts of your life perfectly equal.
If you have a full-time job (40+ hours a week), that will be the bulk of your awake hours, and there’s no getting around it.
To achieve ‘balance’ in your life, you have to take a look at all of the areas in your life - work, home, family, friends, community, church, personal time, health time, etc. and figure out how much time you need for each to feel fulfilled and energized.
When you consider the different areas of your life, you will quickly see they’re not all created equal. If you’re an introvert, personal time is going to be much higher on your must-have list than an extrovert. For the extrovert, time with family, friends, and the community will rank a lot higher.
So, you have to get clear on all of the areas that demand your time and then assess how much time each should get in your ideal world.
Mind map it, break it down, etc. Take a broad view of each section of your life and come up with a rough outline of how much time each needs for you to feel happy.
As you work through this, you’ll likely see that you are spending way too much time in areas that don’t feed you energetically. That means you’re not spending enough time on the areas that give you a much needed energetic boost.
When you identify these gaps and time sucks, you can start making the necessary changes to achieve more balance in your life.
ELIMINATE TIME SUCKS
Everyone wastes time.
Let’s just agree to that and move forward.
You will never get to a place where you never waste time, but it's certainly possible to get to the place where you reduce those wastes and eliminate the time sucks.
Sometimes when you waste time, it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down.
It also might be your way of avoiding the things you don’t want to do.
Regardless of the reason, when you waste your time, you waste your life.
If you can identify your typical time sucks and, more importantly, why you’re wasting time you can start to use your time better.
The best way to do this is to keep a log for a couple of days. Write down how you’re spending your time and why. After a few days of this, you’ll likely notice patterns.
Perhaps when you’re feeling frustrated and stressed, you turn to mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.
Or, you realize that when faced with projects or tasks that you hate, you flip on Netflix and binge on TV for awhile (that’s me!).
Once you identify where, how, and why you waste your time, you’ll start to notice when you fall into those moments.
If you know it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down, you can do something more constructive like going for a walk, journaling, or taking a long bath instead of numbing yourself in front of the TV.
As you identify your balanced life plan, you can start to replace the time sucks with those things that energize you to shift the balance in your favor.
MAKE IT WORK
When you identify what balance looks like for your life, it’s unique to you. Your plan won’t work for anyone else, and it doesn’t have to.
It’s also an ongoing process. What is balanced for you now probably won’t be a year from now and definitely not five years from now.
In other words, your balanced life is organic and always changing.
You’ll constantly need to tweak it to make it work for you, and that’s part of life.
How do you know when you’ve figured out the right balance for you? You’ll feel it. Life will seem easier, and there will be less resistance.
When you start to feel resistance or anxiety about the way you’re living your life, that will be your sign that it’s time to mix it up and hone in on your balanced life plan.
Living a balanced life takes practice, self-awareness, and intention. You won’t magically fall into a balanced life, but once you achieve it, your life will feel more peaceful and comfortable.
You’ll feel less stress and resistance. You will be honoring who you are, what you desire, and how best to live for you.
Yes, it takes a little effort to get this life in place, but what have you got to lose?
If you need a little help with this, reach out and let’s talk! I'm also putting together a self-study workbook - “Your Balanced Life Plan” that will launch later this year, so if you'd like to know when that's available, add your name HERE!