A few more days remain before the start of 2015 and you have been bombarded with self help advice and tips for the new year. I plan to focus on balance and how I spend my time because creating space for balance will support my health, happiness, family, friends AND the growth of my business. How do I find balance in a chaotic world?
1) Take a time audit. Measure how you are spending all of your time. How many hours are you spending on work? What type of work are you spending your time on? How much time do you set aside for personal growth? Time with family and friends? Exercise? Church activities or religious studies? Where is time well spent and where are your liabilities? Here is one of many time charts available online. http://www.organizedlife.org/uploads/Time_Audit_Chart.pdf
2) Enjoy the moments. Turn off the devices and take time to enjoy the simple joy of being alive and live in the moment with those around you. I will gaze at the stars more, watch the clouds, play “daddy monster” with my children more often, and enjoy the taste of a ripe strawberry. Life is a gift.
3) Take time for silence, prayer, and meditation. I like to move fast and keep a busy schedule and sometimes struggle with focusing on stillness and quiet. I find that I eventually “hit the wall” and “crash” if I don’t take time for rest, silence, prayer, and mindful meditation. I have attended many retreats and felt the most refreshed and reenergized after those retreats that focused on silence and removed the necessity to speak.
4) Create a simple plan for your time based on the results of your time audit. Where would I like to spend more time? Where am I spending too much time or wasting my time (being inefficient or unproductive)? What would I do if I had all the time in the world? What is holding me back from those activities?
5) Say no. It is the hardest word to say for many of us, but it is one of the important and needed words. Doing too much can lead to a host of negative consequences and ultimately does more harm than good for everyone involved. No, I can’t volunteer for that committee, board, project, or wonderful opportunity, but perhaps next year. It is like the family that buys a bigger house to hold more “stuff.” After a few years the family ends up needing an even bigger house.
6) Delegate. Whether it is for work, home, community activities, or other aspects of our life we need to call upon others to help us get the work done. As Sondheim wrote, “No one is alone, truly. Someone is on your side.” If others are not willing to help (especially if it is a volunteer project) then the best and most difficult answer might be to simply say no. We are human beings with limited resources, but together we can make anything happen.
7) Value your time. All too often we fail to adequately value our time both for work and our personal life. What is your time worth? Does the time spent with family and friends have the same value? My wife places the highest value on time spent together and when I don’t value that time then problems arise and our relationship suffers. Consider the value of your time carefully when you say “yes” or “no” to opportunities.
May you enjoy a very happy and healthy New Year!