Finding Balance

Harmony-Singing-Note-Doug-Floyd-Quote.pngHow we spend our time will always tell us what is important to us.  We live is a society and time when most people feel unbalanced, overworked and like they are burning the candle at both ends. We work more, sleep less, over train, under eat, move too little, eat too much, and on and on it goes. We feel guilty not spending more time at home with family or kids or pets.  We wish we had more time for reading, hobbies and friends.  Our health is swiftly falling down the ladder of importance.  Our lives and our happiness suffer as we try to do it all and forever miss the mark.

 

So how do we find balance in the midst of the demands of life?

 

I think we have to start by asking ourselves a few questions…

  1. Where do I spend the majority of my time?
  2. Where do I need to spend more time?
  3. Where could I spend less time?
  4. What areas of my life are suffering as a result of how I spend my time?
  5. What are my priorities?
  6. What am I sacrificing to make money, make others happy, etc.?

 

None of these questions are easy to answer.  And it’s not fun to take a close look at this stuff, but we must start.  It’s easier to keep trucking along and telling ourselves one day we will make a change, than actually taking small steps to do something about it. Let me tell you the promise of tomorrow is a trap and the tomorrow you wish for starts today!

 

So let me guide you towards getting some awareness, figuring out your priorities and making some changes…

 

Start by doing a time log for 3-5 days.  Yes, it will SUCK, but it’s one heck of an eye opening exercise.  Get a notebook and log what you are doing every 15 or 30 minutes WITHOUT FAIL.  I’m talking everything! I did this when I was in life coach training and learned a LOT about how I spend my time.  Doing this activity is meant to give you more awareness, NOT to become tool to use to beat yourself up with.  If you don’t have a clear picture of what your time looks like (FYI you might think you do, but you’d be surprised) you won’t know where to start with making changes.  Basically your time log is your lie detector…you can’t hide.

 

Now categorize the areas where you spend your time and calculate the hours spent in each.  Don’t forget to create a category for things like commute, chores, sleep, eating, etc.  Tracking every 15 or 30 minutes of your life will show you where your time really goes.

 

Here is an example…

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

TOTAL

Work

8

8

8

32

Commute

1

1

1

3

Health

.5

0

0

.5

Family

1

1

1

3

 

 

Now list out your top 5 priorities and rank them.  Compare your priorities to your time log categories and time spent in each.  Are there discrepancies? Maybe you put health as your #2 priority but you only spent 30 minutes on your health.  You get the idea.

 

Priorities

Hours Spent

#1 Work

32

#2 Health

.5

#3 Family

3

 

 

Use all this info to give you some insight into your current lifestyle so you can begin coming up with ideas on where and how to make small changes.

 

Most people are out of balance because they feel they have to do it all, struggle to set boundaries or say no and feel guilty about putting themselves first.  So if you want to gain more balance you are going to have to learn to do those things.  Put guilt and people pleasing to the side and slowly but surely start putting yourself and things YOU want to first.

 

When you start creating balance in your life, things will shift and those around will have to adjust as well.  Maybe you need to delegate some tasks to others (loved ones, kids, or co-workers).  Or maybe you will have to tell that friend you can’t do something so you can make time to rest, exercise, meal plan, etc.  You might have to have conversation with your boss about your hours, projects, etc.  Point being you have to start standing up for yourselves and what is important to you.

 

None of this will happen over night, it’s a process.  Once you have the time log, categories and priorities list done make a list of small actions you can take to start making changes.  Don’t limit yourself by not list something based on a feared or expected outcome.  List everything!  You don’t have to do a damn thing yet, just make a list.  Once you have a good action list going, pick one thing you can implement.  Maybe pick the thing that is the least anxiety provoking.  No matter the outcome of that action give yourself credit for taking it and keep moving along implementing new strategies to create balance in your life.

 

Example Action List:
  1. Talk to boss about working 1 day per week from home
  2. Schedule a date night twice per month
  3. Email volunteer organization about stepping down to role with less commitment
  4. Do meal prep on Sundays
  5. Hire cleaning service
  6. Turn off TV 10 minutes earlier

 

Now with all that said I am actually not a believer in balance because balance inherently means everything will be equal. And the reality is not everything will get your equal attention.  I think we need to find harmony instead.  Its about going with the flow, being flexible, shifting, tweaking things as your life changes.  There will be times family will trump work or work will trump health.  Just know that you will stay in harmony when you make sure each area gets a little love.

 

I have a pretty set schedule in my life with everything from training to my home chores, but sometimes work gets busier and my chores don’t happen as planned or I have to do a shorter workout.  I am always taking inventory of what is going on in my life with my time.  I try to find ways to make life easier not harder.  Whether it’s using a grocery service to get shopping done easier, hiring a cleaning service, or asking my husband for help with something, the key for me staying sane and making sure I stay in harmony is constantly adapting to my current situation.  I know I need to attend to my health regularly, make time for sleep and rest, make time for my husband and I to go on dates, etc. for me to be happy.  I’m always looking at the big picture of my week, my month, my year and anticipating when I will need to make changes to ensure every area of my life is getting the attention it needs!

 

So I challenge you to do the time log exercise and get real with yourself.  If you have the courage to look at your life under a microscope and get honest, you will be more likely to make the changes you need to improve your health, happiness and well-being.


Join me Wednesday 8/17 at 10am CT on Facebook Live for a discussion about Finding Balance in your life and implementing the time log activity!

Jessica Storch, MA is a boxing coach, personal trainer, health coach and owner of Knockout Women's Boxing Club in Westmont, IL. Her mission is to empower women to be their best through the sport of boxing. She promotes a health focused mentality and encourages women to let go of the diet mentality. Jessica believes weight loss doesn't equal health and works with women to support them in building healthy lifestyles and happy lives. 


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