Whether it was a brief period or years long, you’ve likely experienced a time in your life when you were living in a constant state of stress.
Perhaps you said yes to more than you could handle. An extra hour here and there turned into many more – wreaking havoc on your healthy habits and overshadowing other aspects of life, such as time with family and friends.
But here’s something we’re sure of: No one wants to reflect back on life and wish we’d lived better, loved more, or worked less. And the good news is – it’s never too late to make a change!
Avoiding the above scenario takes a balanced approach to how we spend our time.
Simply put, the secret to creating balance (and minimizing stress!) is living with a plan. We don’t mean an overly-structured plan that doesn’t allow for fun or spontaneity. A flexible, adjustable plan is best – as long as it aligns with your goals and priorities in life. Think of your plan as a path that guides you. Naturally, you’ll veer off course or take a break. What’s most important is that you give yourself grace and get back on as quickly as possible!
So let’s take this step by step and discover exactly how to set ourselves up for success when it comes to achieving a balanced life. Join us below for our five-step approach!
1. Create a plan to serve your own needs first
This needs to come first! You have to take care of you. If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will.
One of the warning signs of an unbalanced life is that you don’t have time for self-care. People often get so wrapped up in other areas that they slowly sacrifice their own needs.
It’s time to put yourself first – unapologetically. Think of the things that make you feel alive; the things that make you feel like you’re fulfilling your purpose. Allow time to spend by yourself. Rejuvenate.
This might mean getting enough sleep, soaking in a long bath, reading a book, meditating, or exercising. If you’re a parent, your kids are certainly a priority, but you need to make sure you’re allowing time to refuel. If you’re working a full-time job (and then some!), you need balance and it starts with self-care.
2. Block time for your relationships
Your people matter. Relationships are one of the most important things in our lives! This includes our immediate family, our extended family, the people who we consider to be part of our family whether there is a blood relationship or not – plus new friendships that you might be recently developing. Are you investing in these relationships? They need to be nurtured, and we have to prioritize them.
3. Prioritize your growth and development
What are your plans to better yourself personally, spiritually, or professionally? It’s important to challenge yourself to keep learning and building your skillset. Even if you’re just learning about yourself, you’re becoming more self-aware and growing as a person! Prioritize your growth and development through self-reflection, reading, workshops, and courses. The options are endless!
4. Manage your finances wisely
When we’re not conscious of how we’re spending our money, it’s all too easy for it to flow without direction. Keeping your finances in check requires awareness and careful attention. In order to spend and save more intentionally, take some time to create a simple, easy-to-follow budget and schedule regular times to review it.
Pro-tip: Keep track of your spending in your Day Designer. Our Flagship Daily Planner offers a daily prompt called “Dollars” and our Flagship Weekly Planner includes a section of expense trackers.
5. Establish boundaries for your career and commitments
Many of us keep busy schedules when it comes to work, volunteering, and other activities. Despite this, we all have the power to set boundaries when it comes to our time! Here are a few examples:
- I will not start work until after I complete my morning routine.
- I will take a 30-minute break for lunch.
- I will schedule a 20-minute walk every day.
- I will close my laptop by 7:00 each night.
- I will take a full day off after working five full days.
- I will charge my phone in another room starting at 9:00 pm.
The ideal work-life balance will look different to everyone, however, the idea is that you will identify areas where you can prioritize balance – opening up time for the other four areas on this list! As you create your weekly and daily schedule, block time in your planner accordingly.