I fully admit it. I am a bit over the top about this topic of time. Perhaps I talk about it too much or write about it too much. But it's only because I think that how you choose to use your hours is in line with how you choose to live your life. It's not just about getting more done. It's about being on purpose with your time and filling your time with your passions. So, I am re-publishing a blog post from two years ago. But I am adding a few new insights!....
The number one request I get from moms has nothing to do with fitness, nutrition or parenting. The number one request I get is about balance. How do you balance life and motherhood? It may be as elusive diets. In theory they all work. Making it happen in real life is much tougher.
We are living in a fight or flight world. This reaction was fine in the cave days when we encountered a saber tooth tiger. Our adrenaline pumped, heart rates increased and blood went to our extremities so we could run.Then we got to rest in our cave. The problem is that we aren't resting in our cave anymore. We are just living in a high stress, chaotic routine.
Is balance really possible? Maybe we need to re-define this goal. Maybe we should instead focus on cramming our life with what we love most. If balance is what you crave, here are 5 of my tips to living a more balanced life...
#1 Counter Balance
Let's re-define balance. A counter balance may be a better goal. No matter how much you plan, there will be times that motherhood will take over and times when work or life will. Times of imbalance may be seasonal or change by the day. Realize that you can counterbalance by giving the neglected thing more time. If you have had a long work week, balance it out by spending extra quality time with your family on the weekend for instance. Stress comes in when you continue to burn the candle at both ends and neglect balancing the other side.
#2 Shift Your Focus
Think of any optical illusion. You know when you shift your focus and you see the other picture? Maybe that's what we need to do when we look at our life. Shift your focus and see things differently. You are not a victim. In most cases, the life you are living is one you have chosen. When your toddler is screaming because you won't buy her a toy, shift your focus and smile at the life long lesson you are sharing. When you are overwhelmed because you have 100 emails, think about how lucky you are that so many people want to connect with you. maybe we need to shift our focus and see things differently
#3 Plan Margin
Margin is probably so rare to you that you don't even know what it is. It is simply a little bit of downtime or unplanned time. It's the time to catch your breath. Heck, it might be the time to go to the bathroom. If you book your day so tight that you are always running late or behind, you have no margin. "Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating" according to Richard Swenson, M.D. Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. Margin is not something that just happens. You have to fight for it. Michael Hyatt (www.michaelhyatt.com) suggests that you schedule margin in to your daily calendar.
#4 Say No
Every time you say yes, you are saying no to something else. Your hours were already filled to the max so what are you not doing when you say yes? Say no to things that are not in line with your heart or your priorities. Say yes to what is truly important to you. Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should. See what you can delegate, put off or say no to altogether. When you do, you might be saying yes to more balance!
#5 One Thing At A Time
We all have the same 168 hours in the week. We have a choice on how we use them. Most of us try to multitask and get more done at once because there is never enough time. Wrong tactic. All studies that look at multi tasking show that we are less efficient and less effective. In fact, these studies have shown us to lose significant brain capacity when we try to multitask. Choose one thing to work on at a time. When writing this post for example; I shut down my email, Facebook and Skype. I freed myself from distractions. Remember, a pilot or surgeon does not get to multitask when doing his job and neither should you!
#6 Create An Ideal Week
This is also inspired my my virtual mentor, Michael Hyatt. He taught me that you need to have a budget for your time, much like we need a budget for our finance. I don't care if you are a stay at home mom. Consider creating an ideal week where you create the plan for how you want to spend your days. It wont always go as planned, but you will feel so much better when it does! I have linked to Michael's article. He shares a spread sheet that you can fill out. I use my google calendar and have shared mine with you.
Our time is finite. Don't just fill your hours. Fill them with what you love, including recharge time and I can assure you that you will get to enjoy a little bit of that balance we all so crave.