I was recently asked, “How do you do it all? I struggle to find the balance for time for myself. Whether that be cooking or working out, and being a wife, mom, and having a full-time job. How do you find balance?”
Holy sh*t. That’s A LOT.
For most of us, our default is to please everyone, do everything and be in multiple places at once. Between all the things we ‘should’ be doing and all the demands on our time it’s no wonder we feel like we can’t keep up. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life (thus far) over booking, over promising, and under delivering. Hey, when you’re spread too thin it’s hard to really deliver. It wasn’t until recently that I took a hard look in the mirror and asked myself, “Why do you WANT to do it all?! Truly, what do you gain?” I realized I was so fixated on what I was doing in a 24 hour period, I was neglecting how I was feeling. Read more about that here.
Instead of doing it all, focus on how you spend your time.
Redefine what success means for you. For me, it has nothing to do with how busy I am, the amount of money I’m making or how many boxes I check off my to-do list. Instead, I focus on what I want my day to consist of and how I want to feel when it’s over. As you’re going about this exercise, be honest with yourself, forgetting societal norms or self-imposed pressures. If your definition of success is career oriented, but at the expense of your friendships or relationships, will you really be happy? Most likely no. If your definition of success is cooking dinner for your family, but in order to do so you have to sacrifice your workouts. Is that what you really want? Again, probably not.
Evaluate how fulfilled you feel across the following categories to help create balance for yourself.
- Time spent relaxing
- Investing in your personal growth
- Spiritual or religious practice
- Career growth
- Health and fitness
Really think about it. If your definition of success is career oriented, but at the expense of your friendships or relationships, will you really be happy? Most likely no. If your definition of success is cooking dinner for your family, but in order to do so you have to sacrifice your workouts. Is that what you really want? Again, probably not. This definition of success and fulfillment will provide clarity for how you spend your day, help you prioritize and set boundaries. Not to mention help you feel less stressed.
After your new definition of success is clearly defined implement these tactics to follow through.
- Each morning take five minutes to list the three things you need to accomplish in order to feel fulfilled. A friend recently introduced me to The Five Minute Journal. It’s transformed my approach to the day.
- Feel empowered to say, “no.” By carefully curating your obligations you’ll have more time to focus on what really matters.
- Be efficient with your health and fitness. If you’re working out properly you don’t actually need to workout every day. That’s the beauty of high-intensity interval training workouts.
- Organize your priorities and plan your schedule for the following day BEFORE you go to bed. It’s not enough to make a list. You need to associate each line item with how much time it will realistically take you to complete. If it turns out there aren’t enough hours in the day to make it all happen, revisit the categories above to measure importance by fulfillment.
- First, list meetings and appointments
- Second, layout projects or tasks
- Finally, detail anything else that will personally make you feel happy and fulfilled
Do all of that and you’ll have a better idea of how you’ll want to spend your day and what to do when.When you spend your time doing the things that truly make you happy you can enjoy your accomplishments and feel satisfied with what you’ve achieved. Not every day is perfect. Not every day goes as planned. That’s okay. The steps above will help you identify what is most important to you and what will leave you feeling your very best.