Balance is the key to success in life, whether we are talking about eating healthy, managing your checkbook, or maintaining a positive mix between professional responsibilities and personal life. Striking a balance in all areas is critical to making your life move more efficiently, and by doing so, you will increase your productivity, and give peace of mind.
In a world of conflicting priorities, finding that equilibrium can be difficult, but that goal can be accomplished by mastering these three life skills:
1. Recognize the Importance of Boundaries and the Power of "No"
The simple truth is that the vast majority of stress from which we suffer are actually problems of our own devising. We allow our schedules to get out of control. From the kids at home, to the boss at the office, we desire to please those around us, and that frequently means absorbing the bulk of our precious time. Pleasing everyone is impossible, however, so learning how to set boundaries around your schedule, and your time, is crucial.
Whether you work from home, or you have a boss with your name on speed dial and no sense of appropriateness, these boundaries can easily blur if you are not careful. Setting boundaries with your available hours is your first responsibility, and every other responsibility needs to revolve around adhering to those barriers. The word "No" is your first line of defense. Remember that, when used properly, "no" is a complete sentence, as well as your right when confronted with calls to burden your schedule with other people's priorities.
2. Keep Track of Your Time with a Journal
Time is a limited resource that we can't control, but we can keep better track of its passage by notating its elapse in a journal. Writing the exact time that you spend on an activity or project gives you a roadmap to your productivity. When you keep track of where your time is going, just like your money, you can make adjustments--utilizing the "Power of No"--to claim back your schedule.
3. Know Your Limitations
Before you can be honest with other people about your schedule, you have to be honest with yourself first. As mentioned, we generally want to please those people around us, but it takes a toll on your own peace of mind if you let matters spiral out of control. The good news is that the world will not end if you refuse an obligation or request, nor does the weight of the world rest on your shoulders. Not one reader of this article is a super hero, so give yourself the freedom to be a normal person who knows the value of his or her own time when maintaining a healthy life balance.
My challenge for you this week:
Become intentional with your time!
Use a planner every day to keep track of your hourly functions.
Review your hourly functions every day before bedtime and decide whether each hour was productive or not in the effort to advance your goals.
Do not repeat those behaviors that are non-productive. Just say "no"!
When you follow the skills outlined in this article, you will gain the balanced life you need to accomplish the goals you've set for your life.