One of the most valuable tools in my toolbox for a peaceful life is balance. I’m not talking about the type of balance that gives you the perfect yoga pose, although that is part of it. You may be wondering how it is even possible to find balance. After all, if you want to be successful, don’t you have to focus on that above everything else?
As we look around at the so called successful people, we will find many who have sacrificed balance for perceived success. However, those that have done this are far from peaceful.
It is possible to both be successful and to have a balanced life. It may take some work, but it is more than worth it in the end. You must remain true to yourself and you must stay focused on your goals. Here are a few strategies to help you on your adventure to success and balance:
Set your priorities
Before you begin this process, be sure to understand what success really means – not the success of others, but what does it mean to you to be successful in your life? Describe your successful life. Get specific, write it down, or narrate it into your phone so you can play it back Once you understand your personal definition of success, decide what balance looks like to you. Finally, ask your self this question. What are the most important things in your life? Make sure the important things are all included, then set your priorities. I’d recommend writing this out and keeping it somewhere you can refer back to often.
Do a quick time study
We spend a lot of time doing all kinds of things, and at the end of the day often wonder what we did all day. Our schedules are filled with important things to do, but often get interrupted by distractions, emergencies, or other shiny objects. Take a few days (or as long as you need to get a good, accurate picture of your days) and write down what you are doing as you do it. It will take a little longer, but after you have done this for a few days, review your list. Be honest with yourself as you move on to the next strategy.
Get rid of the time wasters
Looking at your brief time study, consider all the ways you genuinely wasted time. Were you spending a lot of time on social media or surfing the internet? What about watching television, movies, or other video entertainment. How much time did you spend on the things that are supporting your journey to success?
These are tough issues to come to terms with. I personally love surfing the internet and reading up on the latest research on all kinds of interesting things that have nothing to do with my long term goals. Yes, it’s valuable learning, but it doesn’t get me any closer to being successful, and it surely doesn’t allow for a balanced life.
Your challenge, if you are really serious about finding balance and success together is to get rid of those things that don’t contribute to your goals.
Make a schedule
When I was working in the corporate world, if it didn’t get scheduled, it didn’t get done. I find that is true even more as a business owner. You need to have a plan for each day and list all your work tasks, as well as you other appointment. Be sure to include the things that are important in your personal life as well. Leave some time open for those things that you know will come up – those little emergencies and urgent interruptions that cannot be prevented and must be handled as they happen. If you don’t have to use that open time, you can decide what to do with it – whether it is to spend a little more time on another project, working on some self improvement items, or just getting a little extra rest.
Take care of the important tasks first
Sometimes you just need to get the hard stuff out of the way, do the things that are not exactly your favorite, and then work on the small things. Checking off those tasks you really aren’t fond of is oh so satisfying. If you set your mind to doing them first thing whenever possible, you will find that your day has a lot more room for balance.
Check in often
Life is a series of small adjustments. You may be going on the right path, but if you don’t check in often you could start to veer off in the wrong direction without realizing it until it is too late to easily correct. Periodically schedule an appointment with yourself to check in on the goals and priorities you set when you started your journey to balanced success. Are you still on track? Do you need to adjust your course? It’s okay if things change, just be sure it the changes are where you want to go and that align with your purpose and values.
Focus on your health
Along with the other strategies, don’t forget to pay attention to your health. Without your health, there is no balance, and rarely is there long term success. Make it a priority to eat right, get good restful sleep, and enough physical activity. Self care is another important aspect of health – be sure to take care of your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Give yourself some grace
No matter how honorable your plans and intentions are, things don’t always work out the way you plan. That’s okay, give yourself some grace, regroup, and move on. If you have one area of your life that is more demanding than usual, deal with whatever is happening and once it is over, go ahead and get back on track. Don’t beat yourself up. Keep you eye on the prize, and using what you have learned use keep going until you get there.
It is not always easy to find balance, but it is essential for your peace. Everyone has their own idea of what balance looks like. There is no right or wrong answer. You must decide for yourself what it means to have a successful, balanced life, and what is most important to you, then enjoy the adventure.
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.