There is no single formula for achieving a balanced life. A balanced life style is more the feeling of a sense of fulfillment from the inside. It is a personal decision how one combines career, spouse/significant other, children, friends, and self into a harmonized whole. The key is to develop creative solutions as you face the challenges of balancing the responsibilities of multiple roles.
Balance is not planning every minute of your day making sure you spend an equal amount of time in your different life roles (worker, parent, spouse, etc.), it is the feeling of accomplishment & happiness just before you close your eyes at night. How well we balance responsibilities with doing things we truly enjoy directly affects our quality of life. It also helps manage stress. Once you get good at maintaining equilibrium for all the different aspects of your life, you will gain that internal feeling of bliss on a daily basis.
Below are five most important tips for living a well-balanced life:
1. Balancing life is a Conscious Decision.
Often times, you feel that you run on all cylinders full blast all day long, all week long and when you finally stop to catch a breath, you feel that the events, days or even weeks are just a blur. In order to break away from that constant cycle, you must make a conscious decision to slow down, and then balance what you need to do and what you want to do. The obligations of work and family can be overwhelming so you have a choice, every day, regarding what is important and what is not. Begin to set priorities and learn not to sweat the small stuff. It may be as simple as not getting upset about the things you have no control over.
2. Define what a balanced life means to you.
It is not realistic to schedule every minute of your day. The right balance for you today may not be the right balance tomorrow or next week because over time your priorities change. You can plan for every minute of the day ahead or even a week ahead, but a sick child or a co-worker calling out for the day can disrupt that balance.
Having a balanced life style means letting go of the Super Hero Expectations and being realistic about the fact that some things are not going to be done. Moreover, you have to be okay with that. This goes for work too. You may have a dozen projects on your plate and only so much time to complete them. Do not get down on yourself for letting one of them slide and giving other more important tasks your attention.
This is always tough because often times you go by others standards (mother, spouse, your boss, etc.) or expect that you are the Super Hero that can do it all and make your standards close to perfection. At times, you have to decide what is more important an immaculately clean house or playing at the park with your children. Sometimes when you make your own standards, a semi-clean house and a happy child are just fine.
3. Creating Boundaries.
Balance is about setting healthy boundaries, cutting down on unnecessary tasks & protecting your set priorities. Sometimes you have to choose health or your social life over work. And sometimes, you have to put work first. When you are faced with requests or conflicts, ask yourself if you are going to be left with feelings of accomplishment and happiness. If not, you may have to reconsider your answer.
4.Keep a Journal.
There are far too many things to remember or think about so write them down in a journal. When you keep an on-going journal, you can better understand what you are doing, what is working and what is not. There is a power in self-reflection that can contribute to clarifying a puzzling situation or confusing moment in time.
5. Be Present in the Moment & Stop Multi-tasking.
This is where that conscious decision to have a balanced life continues because along with that decision is the commitment to be present in the moment. As the saying goes, “It’s not the quantity of time; it’s the quality of time that matters”. This is true. If you decide to spend time with your child coloring and you get up every two minutes to check dinner that is on the stove, are you truly giving your child your full attention? If you focus your attention on the activity for the full time, even if it is just 10 minutes, both you and your child will have a feeling of a fulfillment and a deeper sense of connection. Now that your child is satisfied with your full attention, it will be easier to explain that now you must focus on getting dinner ready. Also, if you are at work and are thinking about the home tasks, how productive do you think your day will be? So giving a task or event your full attention gives you the physical and mental energy to get the next task done more easily and efficiently.
So the steps are simple, first make the decision to escape the cycle of an unbalanced life, define your priorities, continually reflect in a journal and give full attention to the activities at hand. Everyone can have a balanced life. You just have to want it and act to achieve it. This process will help you gain a feeling of accomplishment and joy every day.
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