How to identify and maintain balance in your life amidst Summertime possibilities.
Summertime is exciting. I’m not sure if it’s a carryover from grade school nostalgia but summer represents a period of unlimited fun and freedom. As an adult, some of that luster has diminished but it’s still seen as a time of vacations, a booked social calendar, and any excuse to take a “Summer Friday” at the office. Summertime is filled with possibility -- it also leaves me with a looming feeling of anxiety. How on Earth am I possibly going to make time for all of the fun things that I want to do while also being a functioning and responsible adult?
The key to alleviating that anxiety is balance.
You hear a lot of talk about the work-life balance, but there is way more to it than that. Because “life” isn’t just one category -- it encapsulates all parts of your being. It includes planned activities, time spent in relationships with others, and hours spent lounging on the couch. It also includes less fun -- but necessary -- things like doctor's appointments, going to the DMV, and household chores. And once you factor in everything, finding balance can be difficult. My intention is to leave you with a few offerings to reframe your relationship to balance along with what’s worked for me to live a life of balance.
Only you can determine what balance in your life means for you. Some folks are in total equilibrium in working a 60-hour workweek and then spending their free time constantly out and about. Others would see that lifestyle as a nightmare and are mentally drained from going out to dinner with close friends. How you balance the commitments on your plate is entirely up to you and what you are comfortable with.
Remember our discussion about Want Vs. Should? I find that similar principles come into play when considering how to leverage your time. As you try to balance all of the things you want to do this summer, perhaps start with the non-negotiables; what are the things you feel you must experience? Once you have those, you can begin to fill in the remainder by asking yourself questions like: How much time do I want to spend on social engagements or with my significant other? How much do I want to work? How much energy and time do I need to dedicate to my wellness and mental health.
Making a declaration on how you intend to spend your precious time is a powerful tool in dictating your energy towards the stated commitments.
After you've declared how you’ll be spending your time, surrounding yourself with support structures to keep you on track can be extremely empowering.
Here are a few simple ideas that may help you maintain balance in your life:
Schedule in advance: I find myself on the extreme side of the spectrum with my calendar usage. I live by the adage “If it’s not on my calendar, it won’t get done.” I’m not suggesting everyone needs to be calendar crazed like me, however blocking time in your calendar acts as a guide to ensure, at the very least, you are attempting to block time for specific activities. It can also serve as a way for you to ensure you haven’t accidentally stretched yourself too thin. One additional note: calendar invites can be used for both professional and personal events. I find that they are a great way to keep groups accountable for agreed-upon activities while also acting as a one-stop source for all of the relevant information around the event.
Use reminders: If I scheduled every little thing I planned to do in a day, I may have a panic attack by glancing at my Tetris-like calendar. Not everything needs a calendar reservation. Some things just need a simple reminder. For items that merely need to be returned to the front of my attention, I enjoy using reminder alerts through my technology devices. An unexpected ping to “read my daily bible verse” or “practice meditation” acts as a hot knife cutting through butter in the chaos of my day.
Don’t go at it alone: It is much easier to ignore a task or deadline when you are the one that assigned it. It’s even easier if no one else knew about it to begin with. An accountability partner can check in with you to ensure you’re staying on track with the priorities that you’ve set your heart to complete. Accountability also enables partnership, intimacy, and connection which make whatever you’re doing that much more worthwhile for you and those supporting your venture.
Make it easy: Anybody have a tendency to overcomplicate even the simplest commitments? If you want to work out early in the morning, set your workout outfit out the night before and leave it near the door. Trying to spend more time in the kitchen and less in the drive-thru lane? Meal prep to keep yourself from having to worry about dinner every night.The easier you can make a task -- especially ones you may not like -- the fewer excuses you will have to not do them.
Do it now: What is predictable about not doing "the thing" in the moment? It's likely easier to push aside or completely forget doing it altogether. Respond to the text the moment you receive it instead of waiting until later. RSVP for that wedding the moment you get the invite. These little things add up and can easily overwhelm or fall off your plate. Doing these things right away is oftentimes the best solution and guarantees momentum.
The sooner you figure out how to balance all of the forces pulling at you, the more fulfilling your life will be. And as we find ourselves re-introducing in-person social engagements to our calendars, figuring out how to do this is vital. It’s also true that you alone determine what balance means for your life. So go ahead and RSVP for your fourth wedding this summer. Book that vacation with your college buddies. Treat yourself to a 5 AM CrossFit workout. You’ve built a life that nourishes all parts of your being through balance and intention. Summertime shine.
If you’re interested in having a deeper discussion into what balance means in your life and what factors could be in play that is making equilibrium more challenging, book a Discovery Call with me. Let me help you unlock what is possible.
How do you maintain balance in your life? If any of the ideas in this blog resonated with you, please share your thoughts in the comments.