We are constantly striving and reaching for a feeling of balance in our lives.
Balance between all the children
Balance between friends and family
Balance within ourselves, searching to find more personal time
Here is what I’ve learned about balance. It isn’t actually about balance at all. It is about striving to get it all done. Listen, you will absolutely never get everything done. Why? Because we set these ridiculous expectations on ourselves and we think we have superhuman powers. Life is going to happen. So, the question shouldn’t be, how can I find more balance. The question should be, how will I deal with life, when life happens?
Unplanned Life Happenings
A new deadline at work will be dropped on your desk.
One of your kids will get sick, forcing you to take the day off work.
Your calendar is full, causing you to think, “how will I get this all done?”
You wake up late, causing you to rush in the morning, get to work late and missing a conference call.
You want to get together with friends, but the next two months are full of family commitments.
You want to get together with family, but the next two months are full of work commitments.
You want to take the kids to the zoo, but the house is a mess because you worked late all week.
All of these things can make you feel off kilter and the list can be endless. That is life. But it doesn’t always have to feel so overwhelming.
Planned Life Happenings
You take a new dance class, but it takes two hours of your personal time each week.
You are going on vacation for two weeks, but things still have to get done while you are away.
You have three parties over the weekend that you are dying to go to, but it means not doing the list of endless chores around the house.
It is your kids birthday and you are hosting a princess party. Great fun, but you know it will take you away from other things.
You have family coming to visit from out of town. Again, so much fun, but it means saying no to other things that you put on your endless to-do list.
When Life Happens Plan
Whether it is bad, or good, we need a plan. There are two things in my personal development toolbox: making a yes or no choice and working the problem from a positive mindset.
I have this idea that chores can always wait. I will usually say yes to good “life happenings” before I ever choose chores. Because of this, I can go a month without doing any laundry. That works for me, but it may not work for you. You have to think about what you have to say no or yes to before committing to something else.
Often, your life plan includes a simple word…NO. No, I don’t have time today, but how about next week? If your calendar is already full, something has to give. You can’t do it all. If you want to say yes, be prepared that something on your list may not get done. You can’t do it all. Don’t say yes to something and then complain for days about it. You made the choice. Complaining about it won’t help. You are the one who made the choice to say yes.
Your New Daily Mantra: “I Can’t Do It All”
For most of us, we want to know how to cope with the negative things that happen in our lives. Let’s change that perspective. Instead of thinking of all of those things as negative, let’s look at them as challenges. A challenge you can defeat. A challenge brings out your competitive nature. A challenge can be solved. A challenge can be figured out. A challenge can be won.
You are going to have demands that come up that will throw you off balance. But it doesn’t need to feel like an all-consuming empty pit is devouring you. You have to expect that these things are going to happen. That means being flexible to change.
Being flexible, and not in the yoga, I can touch my toes sense, has been one of the best tools from my own personal toolbox. Being flexible means being willing to accept that things are going to come up that will change your plan. How you react to those changes is your choice. Your attitude, and your reaction are both your choice.
Let’s work through an example:
Your boss just came in and tells you that the project you’ve been working on has been moved up by one week. You immediately start to sweat, thinking, “but I have three weeks of work left to do! What about all my other projects? What about date night with my significant other? What about picking the kids up from daycare?”
Okay, you’ve had your chance to panic; now you are going to shift gears and get into action. But first, you are going to take 5 minutes (yes you can afford to take 5 minutes) and sit, with your eyes closed and take deep level breaths. Why are you doing this? You can’t solve problems, now called challenges, from a negative attitude or mindset. This will help you change the channel in your mind and get yourself out of a down spiralling, life is so unfair, I will never get this done, funk.
Now it’s action time. The deadline is coming whether you like it or not. That is out of your control. But, your action plan, is entirely in your control. Get out a piece of paper and make a list of everything that needs to get done from highest to lowest priority. Start with the project deadlines. Now, what actions do you need to take to get the first three completed? Are you able to delegate? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Doing it alone is one of the number one things we can do to add more stress into our lives. Next, how will this affect other areas in your life? What actions do you need to take to reorganize or reschedule? Now, not only do you have a plan, but you also have the action steps it will require you, and those around you, to get it done. Challenge accepted. Challenge defeated.
Stop focusing on finding balance and start thinking about what you will do when life happens, what you will say yes to, and what you will say no to. When you take your life into your own hands, the feeling of balance will start to come naturally.
Sending you oodles of positivity, happiness & joy,
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl