"Life is a balance of holding on and letting go." Rum
It's no secret - managing all the things you have to do as an adult is a challenge. I hear this all the time in my practice, 'I wish I had more balance in my life.' It's easy to put yourself last on the list when you have a spouse, children, work and a house. But, like a car you need to fuel up, now and then, or you will run out of gas. Here are some tips to help get your life back in order.
- Plan - I always ask my clients if they have a planner and are they using it? Most of the time they have one but aren't always using it. Start your week by looking at your planner. Schedule work commitments, physical activity, personal and family time. Remember to leave time for yourself. Then, look at your planner daily and make any changes that need to be made.
- Prioritize - This means deciding what is most important, and then doing what is most important for achieving balance. What needs to be done first? With who or whom do I need to spend my time with? What are the consequences of not doing an activity?
- Organize - This means bringing more structure to your time and space. We can waste a lot of time looking for things. Create a system for storing things. It will take some time in the beginning, but will pay off in the long run. Use memory aids: put something in front of the door that you want to remember, put a Post-It Note on the bathroom mirror and always carry a pen and paper. Start a routine: balance your checkbook on the same day every week or do household chores every Saturday. Use technology - use alerts on your computer or smartphone. In summary work smarter, not harder.
- Delegate - This will help free up your time for the tasks that are best done by you. You can delegate to your co-workers, spouses, children and friends. Make sure to choose the right person for the task. Make sure you tell the person exactly what you need and allow for some wiggle room. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, instead expect it to be good enough.
- Simplify - This means getting rid of the activities and things that don't add value to your life. There is not a one-size-fits-all way to simplify your life. This is because we each value different things. Expect to be less than perfect: do you have to dress to the nines every day, do the beds have to be made to military standards? Purge your stuff. Get rid of the clutter. Tackle one room at a time, and then throw away or give away. Rein in your buying habits. When making a new purchase, ask yourself - will this simplify or just add clutter? Start to eliminate impulse purchases by writing down what you want and then waiting 30 days, if you still want it then go ahead and buy it.
- Assert Yourself - This means taking charge of your life and your time. Stop letting others control you. Communicate clearly what you are willing to do for others and what you are not willing to do. Learn to say no without guilt. Many of us were brought up believing it is selfish to put our needs before others. Learn a healthier philosophy, say no sometimes and negotiate for desired outcomes. Choose to say yes to activities that are important to you. Nurture yourself, a little relaxation can go a long way. Set time aside each day for what you enjoy. For example, reading (for fun, not work), having coffee with a friend, taking a walk, or listening to music.
You do have time for yourself. This is a great time to change your mindset. Instead of saying 'I don't have anytime for myself,' say, 'I have plenty of time for myself.' Schedule time for you on your calendar everyday. Start with 5 minutes, you'll be surprised at how simple it is. You work hard and you need to reward yourself.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She can help with stress reduction. For more information please reach out. Lianne is available for a phone consultation as well as therapy services in San Mateo, CA. You can reach her directly at (650) 892-0357.