I find that I’m happiest when I am able to manage several aspects of my life in a well-rounded way. But if I try to do everything all the time, it’s an unrealistic expectation and I end up struggling and frustrated.
So I’ve accepted a key realization about priorities and personal time management. I have seven life categories that are most important to me. They are necessary for one reason or another, bring me pleasure or support my values, etc. Of those seven (such as career, family, hobby, etc.) , I can realistically handle five of them at a time, over the period of, say, a week. Then, I have to make sure that I rotate them all in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, so that I don’t go too long without giving each plate a spin, so to speak.
For example: I like to eat right and exercise. But if work is really busy AND friends need my time AND I’m fighting a little flu bug… well, then it’s fine to skip the gym.
Or, since I’m also a big reader, if I go too long without starting a new book, I feel like I’m missing out on receiving the important nutrients that books give me — and I pick something up, even if it’s just for an hour.
I asked friends on Facebook for their thoughts on maintaining balance. Another friend, blogger Jessica Rossi, wrote about it in an excellent post. Here are 11 of their tips to keep balance in life. Send me yours and let’s keep the conversation going!
1. Alan: “For me, it starts with a very understanding and supportive spouse. She makes everything possible.”
2. Moe: “It’s all about doing some things with people. For example, if I didn’t have a gym partner that I have to meet right after work, I’d never leave work. Having a mini book club with friends or colleagues forces you to do your recreational reading during lunch, so that you’re also not working during the time and still reading a good piece of fiction to break up your day.”
3. Jenn: “It is about making sure to also take time for me. Because if we are not taken care of by us the we cannot have balance with others.”
4. Chris: “Balance sounds great on a self-help book cover but impossible to practice in my real life . My reality — only way to balance when life gives you inevitable extra weight is to take something off the scale or everything suffers . Life is defining priorities for me.”
5. Liz: “My husband says that sometimes the most romantic thing he can do for me is to take the child and leave the house. A few hours of alone time can right the scales pretty quickly. I have to schedule (as in put on the calendar weeks in advance) time with friends, dates with hubby, and time at the gym or it doesn’t happen.”
6. Diana: “By remembering that a job is a paycheck and a family is people. Spend your time with people.”
7. Charles: “League pinball on Tuesday nights. Drinks with my closest friend at an Irish bar on Saturday afternoons. Family and work fill the other time. Works for me.”
8. Russ: “Nothing is more important than family. It all flows from there…”
9. Trish: “Someone must be the flexible one in a relationship… to keep balanced life. He knows I’m watching out for him. Right now, it is too much work/not enough exercise, but family is good — even with the work travel.”
10: Elizabeth: “Try to say no more at work and yes more to family and friends.”
11. Jessica: “It’s helpful to consistently re-evaluate how I’m spending my time. Simplify.”