Life can often feel chaotic. There are many demands on your time and a long list of things that you want to do, but can’t seem to get to. This takes a heavy toll on your emotional well-being and its negative creep can range from feelings of general unhappiness to feeling so overwhelmed that you lapse into inaction. Here’s some steps to take to restore your healthy outlook.
- Shift into being proactive. Take responsibility for your role in creating balance and managing the precious resource of time. Don’t let outside forces, circumstances or people control your life. Use the language of energy in your self-talk, such as I choose, I prefer, I will, or I can. If you are reactive instead of proactive, your time will be consumed by the demands of others.
- Determine priorities. Be realistic and set your priorities of self-care, work, partner, children, family, and friends. How can you plan your day or your week to align with your priorities?
- Set daily goals. Begin each day with a very short list of personal accomplishments for that day (a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6). Commit to achieving these accomplishments in spite of the many demands or obstacles that you will encounter throughout the day. You may have a much longer and more extensive “to do” list. Create your daily goals from this longer list. Recognize that you can’t get it all done. A shorter list of daily goals is easier to keep at the top of your mind as you go through the day.
- Establish boundaries. Lay out your limits with regard to your work schedule, with the people at work and your personal relationships, with interruptions and with distractions such as your use social media and text messaging. These boundaries include responding to work related e-mails during off-hours and continually checking your phone for text messages and other distractions. Communicate these boundaries early and clearly with others (and with yourself). Focus on concrete explanations. Establish structures that will support the boundaries (such as creating agendas for meetings or putting your phone away during family time). Prepare for violations (such as how to respond when you receive e-mails from your boss during off hours).
- Urgent is not always important. When responding to e-mails and text messages from others, consider whether spending time to read and respond to them will enhance your personal goals or distract from them. Is the message important to the sender or to you? If the message benefits the sender more than you (or doesn’t benefit you at all), look for ways to reduce or eliminate these types of messages.
- Delegate or ask for help. Look for ways to build relationships by sharing tasks, empowering others or simply asking for help. Develop a team mentality at work, home and play. You don’t need to go it alone.
Enjoying a balanced life doesn’t just happen. It’s up to us to balance all areas of our life by being proactive, establishing boundaries, and practicing the art of communication and relationship management. The good news is that you are not alone in this struggle. Respect that others are also establishing boundaries and honoring commitments. Mutual respect is a solid foundation for guidance in making choices and then implementing and communicating them.