Clients frequently tell me they struggle with life balance. If this is you, I’m confident these 12 tips can help. Now is a great time to invest in yourself.
12 Life Balance Activities
1. Trust Yourself
Trust yourself to know when you need to invest more into one area of your life and less in another. Listen to your intuition. If your gut tells you that you should take a break from work and play cards with your daughter, do it. It’s the most productive thing you’ll do all day.
2. Have Some Fun
Most people don’t have enough fun. Don’t give all your best energy to your career. Make a list of 5 fun activities and do something off the list today. My fun list: Ping pong, cards, reading, golf, darts, talking to friends, and watching sports. Your overall productivity will increase as you have more fun.
3. Track Your Work Hours
For two weeks straight, at the end of each day, write down how many hours you worked. Be sure you include weekends. You may be surprised at the percentage of your weekly 168 hours go towards your job. People who resist this activity usually do so because they already know they work too much.
4. Set Goals
Goals are friends of life balance. They help you remember what you want most and help you focus your attention. Set goals, not just in one area of your life, but throughout the 7 different life areas listed below.
Spiritual: Faith community, spiritual disciplines, prayer, scripture, service, etc.
Family: Marriage, parenting, extended family, closest friends, etc.
Health & Self Care: Diet & nutrition, exercise, water intake, rest, sleep, medical care, etc.
Intellectual: Reading, learning, intellectual development, intellectual conversations, etc.
Social & Fun: Hobbies, recreation, adventure, relaxation, humor, etc.
Career/Business: Talent & technical skills usage, social skills, goals, professional development, etc.
Financial: Planning, budgeting, stewardship of resources, communication around money, etc.
5. Have a Friend Help You Prioritize
Prioritization requires saying “no” to good opportunities. Share your schedule with a fiend and get there opinion. Are you trying to do too much and/or neglecting parts of your life? Listen to what they have to say. My friends help me have healthy expectations and stay on track.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage —pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.” – Stephen R. Covey
6. Establish Deadlines
Deadlines are also life balance allies, especially artificial deadlines you take seriously. They decrease perfectionism and procrastination because they put pressure on you to get something done, even if it’s imperfect. Scarcity leads to creativity, in fact, it forces you to be creative as it eliminates options. Once you establish a target date, it’s much harder to delay. Set a time limit for something you’ve been putting off.
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7. Some is Better Than None
Just doing something is better than nothing. Maybe you don’t have time for a 45 minute workout, so work out for 15 minutes instead. If you cannot make time for lunch with your good friend, talk on the phone for ten minutes or grab some coffee over Zoom.
8. Done is Better Than Perfect
Get a project or task completed. With most things, you can go back and make changes later. Get something crossed off your task list today. Minimize distractions and get it done!
9. Use The Life Wheel
Assess your level of satisfaction in each area of your life on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 is low and 10 is high. When it falls below a 7, do something to get it back up. Here’s a life wheel assessment that can help. It often helps to put the majority of your energy, for a brief period, into the area you would rate the lowest.
10. Define Your “7” In Each Part of Your Life
You might not be satisfied in an area because of unrealistic expectations. “Good enough” is better than “perfect” when it comes to living a balanced life. Write down what a “7” rather than a “10” looks like in each areas. Challenge, and possibly tame, your standards.
11. Do Something New
Do something outside your normal routine. Go on a walk. Volunteer. Go camping. Play a new game. Reconnect with old friends. This may feel awkward at first, but if you stick it out, you won’t regret stepping outside your box. Make a list of 5 new things you can do. Be vulnerable!
11. Plan Your Calendar for the Next 12 Months
Put major commitments on your calendar. You can always make changes later, but this gets the process started. Put everything on this calendar besides work activities. This will force you to put some focus things outside of work.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony” – Thomas Merton
How to Apply These Tips
Here’s what I would suggest you do with this information. Application leads to transformation. You must take action for change to happen.
1. Start with the one you feel will help you the most
Your intuition may tell you which tip will help the most. Trust yourself.
2. Do what’s easiest for you
Maybe all the tips seem helpful and you need to just do something. Engage the simplest piece of advice.
3. If you have the energy, apply one tip each day
This is for high octane application. Committing in a big way can be helpful.
4. Apply one tip each week
For steady application over a 12 week period, this is the way to go. Cross one tip off your list each week and journal about your progress.
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It’s always a great time to improve yourself and it’s NEVER too late.