In an effort to get my life in order in 2018 I attended our local Young Leader organization’s luncheon this past week with my friend Sam from Momma Runs on Plants, where the speaker gave a talk on the importance of work-life balance. If you are like me and love blogging, you know that the time you spend writing and connecting with others can easily add up to be the equivalent of a part-time job.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Add in school/work, parenting, errands, exercise and reading and often times it can be enough to make your head start to spin (Somebody please tell me I’m not alone in this!). Despite all my wishes otherwise, there are only 24 hours in a day, so it is important to find a balance for all the things we need to do and all the things we want to do.
During the talk the speaker gave some solid nuggets of advice on how to find that balance, and I wanted to share those ideas here with all of you. I hope you might find something in this that is useful (I sure did), and always remember to take what you need and leave what doesn’t speak to you.
Boundaries protect and define us.
It’s important that we set boundaries for ourselves because they help to protect ourselves and define who we are as individuals. We are responsible for the things we take in or exclude, and we need to install boundaries that protect our values and beliefs, as well as health.
Anytime our identity is based on what other people think of us, we’re in trouble.
This can be so. hard. in the world of social media where it’s so easy to become fixed on how many likes or views you get on a post. Rather than being the person other people want/wish you to be, it is important to stay true to yourself and march to the beat of your own drum. Do the things and read the works that please you and fill you up, not just blindly following trends to fit in.
Self-care is not selfish.
A camel can go sixty miles without water, but even a camel has to have water. You could be Super(wo)man (in which case I’m jealous), but at the end of the day every single person needs to take time to recharge. As humans we are not meant to run around nonstop every single moment, because that quickly leads to burnout and fatigue. Rather, make time for yourself to relax and restore. I know, parents especially hear it all the time, but really let it sink in for a moment. Date yourself: find those moments of quiet to pursue your passions and joys, reconnecting with who you are as an individual.
Take ownership of personal feelings.
The only person you are responsible for at the end of the day is yourself. Often times we do something we didn’t really want to do because we are afraid of disappointing someone, or we want to make them happy. Rather recognize that we cannot make anyone happy, that is a feeling that comes from within a person. We are not responsible for anyone’s feelings but our own, so if someone is disappointed because you could not review their writing or volunteer for a fundraiser, remember that that is not your fault, but rather their personal problem. You do you.
The speaker also brought up a three step process on ways to cultivate a better work-life balance. I thought the action items were extremely helpful because I am the type of person that can have all the best intentions in the world, but if I don’t have a list of things to cross off forget about it.
- Ask yourself: “Why can’t I say no?” Reflect on it. Is it because you don’t want to disappoint someone? Why don’t you want to disappoint them? I am terrible at saying no because I feel like I will miss out on an opportunity or experience. But then life gets extremely busy and I get crazy flustered and all of a sudden the things I thought would be fun I don’t enjoy anymore because I’m too stressed and tired to be present and truly enjoy it.
- Use tools to prioritize your time. The speaker mentioned Covey’s Quadrants (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Look at your To Do list today and see where it fits within those quadrants, then make adjustments based on your priorities and what’s truly important.
- Write a personal mission statement. Filter any decisions you make through this statement? Does doing a certain activity draw you closer to fulfilling that statement, or away from it? Just like blogs have topics or purposes, your life is the same. Reflect on the things important to you, truly important, and build your life around them.
And the best piece of advice ever? Work to live, don’t live to work. Work should just be a vessel for you to fulfill the desires and purpose you have. It should not be the thing that runs your life.
Find balance, embrace it, and know that it is never one size fits all. Tailor your lifestyle… And rock it.