Balance. The Ultimate Goal.Ricky Lankford
If your life is as busy as mine, you may feel like you are a circus act performing stunts for your audience. The constant pressure of juggling responsibilities, the desire to please everyone and to be the best in every area of your life. If I am being transparent, at my best, my day ends with me staring at the window with a glass of wine or at my worst, curled up in a corner having a complete meltdown. I’m okay, I promise…maybe.
When life starts to feel overwhelming, you may feel the need to shut down, only realizing later that you have set yourself up for failure. Not only are the tasks you have put off are still there waiting for you, but they are waiting with new task friends! Cue another mental breakdown and so, it becomes a vicious cycle.
This type of scenario has happened to me so often that I decided I needed to find a solution. How can I attempt to have complete balance in my life to not only take care of my responsibilities, but to find the time to do things that I enjoyed as well? This answer is still a work in progress (I’m human), but I do have some tips to share on how to effectively juggle your responsibilities to create a healthy work/life balance.
Write it out.
I like to consider myself an extremely organized individual. However, I must admit that the idea of writing my day-to-day tasks in a planner is not thrilling to me whatsoever. But it so helps! Writing your responsibilities clearly will allow you to see exactly how much you have on your plate and can provide reassurance. Often, our minds run wild and it may seem more overwhelming than it is. Writing it out will allow you to see the ‘big picture’ and may serve as a motivation tool to cross those tasks out once accomplished.
If you are anything like me, you want to accomplish all your responsibilities as quickly as possible. I often feel like I am racing against the clock when I attempt to accomplish my tasks, partly because of my fear of knowing that more will come eventually. But that’s the thing. Responsibilities never go away, they multiply! So, no use in rushing to get them all done; you must prioritize. What is the most important task to take care of? What can wait? Is this task essential? All questions you should ask yourself before diving in and creating additional stress. Prioritize your responsibilities and focus on the most important ones first. For those that are not as important, consider them as aspirational and put them on the back burner until you have more time to focus on them.
Create a Schedule.
Although I often make advanced plans, I am not keen to following a day-to-day schedule. However, I do feel it is necessary when your life is demanding. This goes back to the point of writing it out, especially in a planner. But now you must take a step further and create designated time slots for your tasks. For example, I know that between 6:30 am-8 am before work, I reserve that time for the gym or to work on my writing. Since I work from home, I often eat my lunch while I am working but will reserve my lunch break to take care of other priorities, such as paying bills, going grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. And after work, depending on how early or late I get off from work, I set intentional time for my own self-care as a wind down routine before bed. This is typically my weekday routine so when the weekends do arrive, I have that free time to enjoy a social life or my favorite, the art of doing nothing. Creating a schedule helps enforce a visible timeline you can follow and if executed correctly, you can fully utilize the time you have available to create a healthy work/life balance.
Set intentional time your self-care.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this tip is. When you are attempting to meet the demands of your life, you often run the risk of burnout. You must set intentional time for self-care to recharge. Put your phone into airplane mode. Read a book. Grab that bottle of wine and take a bubble bath. Light some candles and meditate. Do breathing exercises. Be a couch potato if your heart desires! Whatever self-care looks like to you, do it and make sure that you are creating a routine where time is set aside regularly for it. You cannot be productive or effective in your productivity if you are burning yourself out. Everything else can wait. Stop showing up for others and show up for yourself.
Accept what you cannot do.
Personally, I struggle with this. I often feel like a failure when I am unable to complete all my tasks. I get frustrated when I must put them off an additional day…or week…or month. It literally haunts me! But I am learning to accept that I am human and can only do so much. I am learning to accept that I cannot always show up for everyone and everything. Accepting that you will not always be successful in fulfilling your responsibilities is very important in creating a work/life balance. It is accepting that sometimes the circumstances in your life are out of your control. It is accepting that you cannot dwell on the things you cannot control, and that tomorrow will always be a new day to shift your focus on the circumstances you can control. It is realizing that your worth is not determined by your accomplishments. Why put added stress on yourself? It can all wait until you are better equipped to tackle what is left.
I hope you find these tips helpful. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a healthy work/life balance. And although my tips may not be 100% proof, it will help creatine a routine that works best for you. I am here learning with all of you.
Feel free to drop a note and share your experiences with me. What are some tips you utilize for a healthy work/life balance?
Cheers to becoming more productive, mindful, accepting, and evolved. Sharing lots of love and good vibes!