We’re all gifted 24 hours a day. Some people squeeze those 24 hours until they bleed. Others let them slip through their fingers without even realizing what they’ve lost. So how is it that certain people seem to fit everything in while others barely make it out of bed every day?
It’s simple really — balance.
Now, not being the most coordinated person anyway, finding an acceptable balance in my life hasn’t been easy. At first it was, “How do I balance singlemomdom with employment?” Then it was, “How do I balance singlemomdom and self-employment?” Later on I started asking, “How do I balance singlemomdom, self-employment and university?” And as the years progressed I also wanted to fit in homeschooling, writing, homeownership, and a personal life.
When you look at everything you want to do it can overwhelm and discourage you.
Don’t let it!
You see, the key to life-work balance is: priorities. No matter how much we want to, or how much we think we can, we cannot do it all. We can have it all but we just can’t do everything on our own. Therefore, it’s crucial to examine your “To Do” list or “Goals” list or whatever type of list you have, to make sure you’re doing what you truly want to do.
Here are my priorities in order of importance:
- Myself – This includes my ongoing education (we should all strive to learn something new on a daily basis); my physical needs (food, hygiene, etc.); and my emotional needs (writing, reading, movies, socializing, etc.)
- My Daughter – This includes her education; her physical needs (food, hygiene, etc.); and her emotional needs (art, playtime, outdoor activities, socializing, etc.)
- Our Family – This includes being there for family and friends if and when they need us. But it also includes making time in a busy schedule to just hang out. Side note: Our six cats are included here as well.
- Our Home – This includes all the not-so-fun junk like doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom. However, it also includes the fun stuff like mowing and gardening.
- Giving Back – I feel quite passionate about the need to give back or pay it foward, however you want to phrase it. This ties into my belief that we manifest what we put out into the world. So if we send positivity and good deeds then we’re bound to create the same for ourselves.
Wait a minute, I didn’t include a career or a job or work anywhere in my priority list, did I?
And for good reason.
Work is not a priority for me. It is a means to an end. I work to pay the bills acquired whilst maintaining my priorities (food, mortgage, cat supplies, field trips, etc.) and I don’t give “work” any more power in my life than that. Don’t get me wrong, I love my day job, but it is not my life.
I work to live; I do not live to work.
We’ve all been programmed to work, work, work. But for what? To accumulate large amounts of money – or debt depending on your finance savvy – for our family members to enjoy once we kick off? Hmm…something seems off with that picture to me. Why in the world would I want to waste my best years working and stressing and constantly looking at the future just to have a nest egg or no mortgage when I’m 65 or 70?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘WOW! What a Ride!’ ~Unknown
Once you nail down what’s really important – what’s vital to your happiness and living the life you want to live – finding a good balance is just a matter of tracking your daily routine to pinpoint time sucks and designing a flexible time management plan based on your wants and needs. Sadly, I could use about 7 more hours each day to complete every single item on my daily list, and that’s why I wrote “flexible time management plan.”
Balance is not a static thing. How could it be? Life is dynamic and you have to work within life’s constraints. Sometimes you’re in balance and sometimes you’re not. No biggie unless you get stuck in the unbalanced phase. Remember how to get back to the place you want to be – balanced and happy – and life’s little curve balls won’t be as hard to rebound from.
Are you living a balanced life?
“6 Ways to Help Create Balance in Your Life” by Karl Rogan
“How to Give Yourself More Time and Space” by Mike Robbins