+ Volunteer/Side Projects
+ Community Involvement
+ Kids’ sports
+ Kids’ activities
+ Sleeping / Eating
+ Exercise / Hygiene
= BALANCE (right?)
My definition of balance is more a feeling that I am doing the best I can in each area of my life at any given moment. Because honestly, when you try to get all of items on the top of this equation to equal balance, not everything is going to run smoothly.
Here are some of the ways I have been able to make my life balanced while working full-time, commuting an hour each way, and doing all of the above mentioned tasks (ok, exercise does fall off my list…often).
1) Mind Organization for Moms (aka Getting Things Done). If you haven’t tried it I HIGHLY recommend it. Before I started using the system, I was pretty organized, list driven and addicted to self-improvement books. Getting Things Done by David Allen is one of my favorites, but The Mind Organization for Moms version has made it even better for me. The best way to explain the boost in productivity is that now my MIND really is organized. I don’t forget appointments or projects I want to eventually work on. I don’t lose the millions of ideas that constantly pop up in the “Wow, that sounds fun” or “I’d love to make that project” area of my brain. It has helped me actually BE with my family when I am home and not worry about all of the other things I need to be doing.
2) I plan – A LOT. I know where my priorities are and I have a plan to achieve goals. I have a plan to get completely out of debt so that we can have more amazing experiences as a family. Those goals are different for everyone, but having them written down has helped me to track the progress and realize that the steps we are taking are actually moving us toward those goals.
3) I make gifts. I know this is an odd one but I feel it balances other important areas of our lives. The time spent making handmade gifts for others is wonderful bonding time with my family. We’re doing projects together, we’re accomplishing the task of having a gift for a specific person, and we are getting to think about that other person while we are making something special for them.
4) Start Christmas in October. I make a list of everyone that needs to receive a gift from us, adding supplies we need to make the gifts. Then I start checking the Internet. There are a lot of places that have free shipping around the holidays and the less I have to actually go into a store, the better. Purchased items are ordered online before Thanksgiving. Everything gets delivered to our house and holiday shopping is not stressful at all. We spend December doing our family traditions and making gifts. Holidays have been much more meaningful and less stressful since I have been on top of the planning.
5) Smart phone apps! Ok, I know that “things” shouldn’t necessarily make me happier, but since this “thing” really keeps everything organized for me, it keeps my mind clear! My husband and I can both add to the same grocery list and check things off as we get them. I “heart” my smart phone.
6) I give up control of those things that I know I can’t control. My house is not perfectly clean. It is lived in all day while I am at work and I don’t want to spend all of my family time in the evenings cleaning house. I’ve lowered my standards and do not feel that things have to be perfect all of the time. That doesn’t mean we don’t have chores around our house, but a perfectly dusted and mopped house only occurs for large holiday gatherings.
There are many ways to find balance and that definition is different for everyone. I feel that the important part about finding it is to make sure you first know your priorities.
QUESTION: What do you do to find balance in your life?
CHALLENGE: Make a plan for one goal that you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years. What baby steps can you take to get you to that goal? Write them down tonight and share them with your spouse or friend.