Are you able to balance all of the different aspects of your life to the fullest? Did you ever ask yourself, “how did it get to be Sunday night already?” and think about all of the great things you were going to accomplish over the weekend. Perhaps you worked on your “chore list” all weekend and forgot to enjoy time with your family and have some fun. Maybe you really enjoyed a weekend of fun, and now you feel guilty that big work project didn’t get completed.
If you are like me, there never seems to be enough time to do all of the things on my mind. These thoughts and ideas race into my consciousness just long enough to remind me I have not completed them yet and then they are gone until the next time I am trying to focus on another important project and the idea races “red-lights blaring” in front of my mind’s eye!
Do you ever feel like that? You have so many wonderful ideas, projects, thoughts, as well as mundane tasks which are calling for your time, but you can only scream “there are only 24 hours in a day!”
Did you know that your mind would love to file these ideas away for you so they could be recalled at the appropriate time? That may not happen if you are like me and can not remember where you laid your sunglasses (which are on top of your head). My memory just doesn’t file and retrieve thoughts, ideas and tasks nearly as well as I need it to. So what are we going to do? What if we all hire assistants to remember these great ideas and wonderful thoughts for us. Then when the idea flashes in front of our mind’s eye again, we can ask the assistant for the information and relevant details, and to follow up and complete the project. That’s a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that!
Perhaps you are thinking “Well I have a lot more great ideas than you do. My assistant will need their own assistant to keep track of all the appointments, tasks, great ideas, and random thoughts!” And one more thing, if we all have multiple assistants who is going to be left to be assistants for all of the assistants. Something tells me we will run out of people to fill all of these “assistant” roles. Perhaps we should come up with a better idea which more people can take advantage of, now where did my assistant go?
Options for Achieving Balance
Of course you relaize we all don’t need to hire Assistants! Plenty of options already exist to help us remember all of the family obligations, work tasks, and fun activities. First of all, pen and paper is an affordable way for you to write down all of those events and tasks so that you don’t forget them (so long as you don’t forget where you placed the paper). Even better, use an actual calendar or date book so you can write down the activities and events on the specific date they are due. If your ideas are more detailed than a calendar will allow for, invest in a planner which includes multiple pages for each day and allows you to track simple tasks, events, meetings, and notes on your ideas. Tasks not completed today are simply moved to a later date for completion. Planners also often include an address book, so you can easily retrieve anyones contact information as needed.
Perhaps some of you read the preceding paragraph and thought “people still use paper?”. Smartphones and computers are in most people’s hands today and every scenario I just described can also be accomplished with one of these devices. Smartphones offer a calendar, notes, email, and message apps right out of the box. They can even call a friend or prospective client, set an appointment, and book a table at a restaurant for you. Many of these tasks can be completed with only voice prompts from you so your fingers can keep working on something else. This idea provides a whole new meaning to the word Assistant doesn’t it?
Which ever method you decide fits you best is your choice. There are certain advantages to paper methods and other advantages to electronic methods. Anyone’s phone battery ever die at an inopportune moment? Truth is none of these methods will balance your life unless you know how to utilize them effectively.
If you really desire a balanced life, you have to prioritize your tasks and take control of which events end up on your calendar.
If you will commit to keeping a detailed planner and calendar (paper or electronic) you will see results immediately. If you also commit to a weekly planning session to decide on priorities and schedule those in your calendar first, you will see even greater results. Continuing to schedule and plan in this manner consistently will spur your personal growth, expand your career options, and enrich the experiences with your family. “How can spending more time writing/typing things into a planning system ever give me more time?” you may ask. When you make sure the important things are on your calendar first and the “must do” tasks are prioritized on your list, you’ll start to notice you have more time for the “need to do” tasks and “want to do” events you never seem to get to before. Try it and see!
Some of you may still be skeptical so I’m going to suggest a book for you to read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen will help you understand more fully the concepts I quickly explained above.
If you are having difficulty deciding what your priorities should be, find a mentor or friend you believe leads a more balanced life and ask them to help you with structuring your priorities. Work together on your plans and ideas and meet weekly to hold yourself accountable for reaching your goals. You can be successful in all areas of your life, but you may need some coaching from others who have learned how to set plans, reach goals, and strive to become all they ever wanted to be.