A few weeks ago I sat down with my husband and discussed my latest work project with him. I am putting out a kid’s DVD on manners. As I told him all about it the wheels in his brain were turning. He then asked a question that we both knew the answer to. He asked me if I was going to become obsessed with the project, and lose the balance in my life. Anyone who knows me knows I give everything I do 150%, which unfortunately can throw off your balance.
How do you keep a balance in your life? I look at it in three steps. You list out what you need to and like to do, prioritize the items, and then constantly reassess. Balance is something that I have learned to constantly question about my life, and when I forget to question it is when things seem to spin out of control. The first step in achieving a balance is to sit down and list out your priorities. For me it is my husband and three children, work, volunteer work, house, exercise/health, and friends. They do not necessarily go in that order, but I know that family always needs to come first. When I am not achieving a balance the other items in the list become juggling balls. I have them all in the air at once, and am trying not to drop any of them at any time. When you juggle the items in your life you are being reactive and not proactive. When I get to that point I take a time out and get the list out again.
After you list all of your priorities decide the order of their importance. Volunteer work was a huge priority for me several years ago. It has been about five years since I have taken on any major volunteer positions, and I decided I rather devote my extra time to working. This year I have taken on a large volunteer role at my kid’s school, but I am determined to find time for it and for work. If I can strike a healthy balance between the two I will feel successful in leading a “balanced life.” At times we cannot control the balance because projects can become larger than they were supposed to become, or we just do not make an informed decision on how much time they will take. If that happens, get through it the best that you can, and when possible reach out to others and get help, if it is your boss, co-workers, or fellow volunteers. Once again, the faster that you can acknowledge that things are out of control, the faster you can come up with solutions and then go back to achieving a balance. This kind of assessment is what will make you proactive instead of reactive.
Finding a balance in life is important. It makes us better people for those around us, and can eliminate a lot of stress in our everyday lives. You can do this by listing out what you need to and like to do, prioritize, and then constantly reassess.