Are you thinking that your life isn’t quite going the way you want?
Do you feel there’s got to more to life than this?
Maybe your life has just become a bit lopsided and you need to make a few changes to get things back into balance.
But what is a balanced life? What does a balanced life look like?
That’s the million dollar question because what my balanced life looks like is likely to be completely different to yours. To find the right balance in your life so that you can make your life better, you first need to work out your priorities.
What Is Important To You?
Write down the things in your life that really matter to you and put them in order of priority. When I did this exercise, family came at the top of the list, with health second and a fulfilling job third. It could be different for you and probably is.
When you have your priority list sorted, take a good look and see if there is any part of your life that is missing. A friend of mine loves to tell the story of how he did this exercise and then realized that his job didn’t feature anywhere on his priority list. This always gets a few laughs but it showed him how much he hated his current job; he doesn’t have that job anymore!
Your list of priorities needs to include every part of your current life; things you don’t like will have a low priority and may give you some insight as to why you are feeling dissatisfied with your life.
What Takes Your Time?
Now make a list of the things you do on a regular basis like go to work, play sport, do a hobby, spend time with family, hang out with friends, cut the grass, commute, travel etc. Organize them into order, according to the amount of time they take up in your average week. Now compare to your list of priorities. How does your actual life compare, time wise, to the things that are important to you? How balanced is your life?
OK, so now you can see where your life is out of balance. It may not be possible to make any huge changes immediately, but you can find ways to make some small changes to how you spend your time. Start small, let the changes make an impact and become habit and then move on to making more changes.
Finding That Balance
Let’s look at some of the things you might consider when trying to bring your life back into balance to make your life better.
Address the Problem Areas
One of the first things I addressed was to get better organized because I found that I wasted a lot of time doing incidental things. I discovered the to-do list; (I know, it’s not rocket science but I had never been a list maker. I think it’s because I didn’t like being held accountable, even to my own lists!). What I have found is, a daily to-do list helps to keep me focused on what I need to get done and I have found that I actually achieve more in a day and am certainly much more productive. The best by-product of making lists is that I no longer need to take work home on a regular basis, giving me much more time with the family (my top priority). A workable to-do list should contain only 6 to 8 tasks, listed in order of priority; nothing else gets done until the list is cleared. Anything not completed, goes at the head of the next day’s list. It was a bit tough to get used to but now I don’t go to sleep without my list started for the next day. I even sleep better too!
Rest and Have Fun
Rest and recreation are important parts of a balanced life. When life gets hectic and out of balance, these are often the areas that miss out. To help bring your life into balance, make sure you get the optimum amount of sleep on most nights. Doctors still tout the old 8 hours a night regime as being the best and this is a great guide. However, some people find they work better with 9 hours, while others find 7 hours is all they need. Work out your optimum number of hours of sleep and make sure you get it on a regular basis.
Recreation is important to balance your life and I like to include spending time with family, friends and people with a common interest under this banner. Humans need to spend time with other humans and if this is missing from life, it quickly becomes unbalanced. So, factor in family time, hanging out with friends and being involved in community activities to find your life balance.
Have Me Time
Psychologists recommend taking time out for yourself to achieve a life balance. We often put ourselves last in life because there’s so much to be done. Making time for yourself will actually improve your productivity, reduce stress, improve your general health and make you a much nicer person to be around. All of this will impact positively on your job and your relationships, so it’s a win-win all round.
Make A Plan
To make time for yourself, you have to plan. You need to block out time in your week or you risk not finding the time. Be disciplined and take the ‘you’ time you are owed. During your ‘you’ time, you could enjoy a current hobby or take up a new one; read a book; go for a walk or a swim or a cycle in the country; go and see a movie you’ve always wanted to see; play sport; go to the gym; take a new course; plant and tend for a garden; practise random acts of kindness; or just spend some time alone with your thoughts. It doesn’t really matter what you do with this time, as long as it is something you want to do, just for yourself and gives you satisfaction.
It’s been said that a person needs three things to live a satisfying life: something to do, someone to love and something to hope for. Make sure you have these three factors in your life and you will be living a balanced life.
So, can you make some changes in your life to have better balance?