On Finding Balance
February has always been one of my favorite months – for purely selfish reasons – since February is not only when we celebrate Valentines Day, but also My Birthday (Holla!!! It deserves caps)! There is something about birthdays and getting older that causes you to live life more authentically. You become more comfortable with yourself… More selective with your time. As we get older we quickly learn that in order to make the most of our time we need to find balance.
A question that I am asked frequently is Alison, how do you do it all? I always nervously laugh and feel a little embarrassed because, to me, I don’t do it all – not even close. But I have come to realize that “all” can mean different things to different people and apparently to many out there, I seem to be doing it. I wish that I had a piece of mind-blowing advice that’s been passed down from generations of amazing women in my family that will turn your chaotic world right-side up, but I don’t.
My top tip for “getting it all done” is truly this simple:
Once upon a time – actually, not so long ago – I was a busy wife, mom, business-owner. Added to juggling those major titles, I was also a friend, a sister, a Bible study leader, a cook, a maid, a therapist, and an aspiring fitness model. I felt all this pressure all the time to accomplish so much within a fixed 24 hours. I was drowning. My husband Mark saw that I was having a hard time with balance and he suggested that I schedule and plan everything, down to the minor details of my life.
Confession time: I was actually irritated that he would suggest this to me – I mean, I am a wedding planner after all, I think I know how to schedule and plan. Besides, scheduling everything seemed overwhelming and exhausting to me. I ignored him and continued to shuffle through my many hats, losing track of when I accomplished what task and if I had actually put dinner in the oven.
Eventually, I decided he might be on to something with the schedule thing (because it did work so well for wedding planning, after all) and I gave it a week trial. I scheduled everything. Work, time with family, meals, time with friends, chores and exercise were all written out and plugged in to a few calendars. I even scheduled in time to be spontaneous….hey, go big or go home – and it worked!
If you are struggling to balance everything in your life something you can do right now is schedule your week. Be detailed. It seems like it will take you a few hours to do (and it might!) but I promise it will save you so much more time during the week (not to mention frustration… possibly your sanity…). ;-)
If that seems too daunting to you, here is a different approach. Keep a notepad nearby and jot down what you are doing throughout the day for a week. When Sunday rolls around, take a look at how you truly spent your time, make adjustments and base the next weeks schedule on the productive parts of the previous week. Keep taking inventory of how your time is spent and within a month you will have altered your schedule slowly but efficiently.
Sure, scheduling your time is a simple concept but there aren’t many instances where simplifying a problem makes it harder to tackle. If you have found this helpful and would like more tips on ‘doing it all’, (or to share your own!) feel free to let me know.