Throughout my breast cancer experience, the demands of being a wife, mom and friend, my volunteer work and owning my own business, I have learned one thing: my time and energy are valuable resources. And so are yours.
We’ve all hear about balance. How many of you feel a constant tugging of your time and demands in life? For many of us, our life is anything but balanced. It’s more like a colossal collision between the thousands of things pulling at our time, not to mention arms and legs, if you have kids.
What does finding balance mean? For some, a balanced lifestyle means having time to work, play and be with friends and family. Yet few, if any of us, ever truly achieve complete balance. Rather, I believer that balance can be viewed as a life in which you spend the time you want on the things that are important to you — things that you’re passionate about. Too many of us live at a frenzied pace. We’re so busy trying to get ahead — or just trying to keep up — that we forget to live. Add to that our inability to say no and technology, which puts more demands on our time, and it’s no wonder life’s so out of control.
Lean to set priorities to determine what and how much you will do, saying yes at the right times and saying no at the right times, too. This is what many call finding balance. I call it “resigning as general manager of the universe.” I’ve had this own conversation with myself lately about balancing work, three kids, school projects, homework and our own taxi cab service (i.e. three kids in activities).
For women, in particular, saying no is something that doesn’t come easily to us (insert guilty feelings here). We teach our kids to “say no to drugs” or other negative influences in life when really, we need to add that word no to our vocabulary as adults and use it when it makes sense.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. There are only 24 hours in a day, and we make decisions on how to spend that time and who to spent it with. Learn to delegate more. Eliminate things in life that drain your energy — those “Debbie Downers,” fun suckers and energy zappers. This might mean a friendship, a volunteer job or a business relationship. Be strategic in how you spend your time. A high-quality life has lots to do with what you remove from you life. Build a soulful community. Find people who value you and support you in your desire to live a high-quality life. Be as big and as bright as you can be.
Finding this balance in your own life will not be easy. I know it continues to be a struggle for me. But the reality is that we can’t be all things to all people, and we must start to take care of us by learning to delegate more and saying no. The juggling act continues, but we can still do it all. I’m a better wife, mom, friend and business owner because I do say no to things, but I also say yes to other things, and I make sure to take time for myself by fitting in a pedicure, a hot bath, enjoying a sunset and doing a little retail therapy when I can fit it in. Find that thing that brings you joy, and make time for it.
Even if you follow these suggestions, life might still feel unbalanced at times. And that’s okay. Balance changes often. It does in your checkbook. Why not in life too? As long as you recognize that change and take action to correct it, you won’t “overdraw” in life. Life is simply too short.