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Finding Balance-The Big Lie We Tell Ourselves

November 19, 2016

 

There are numerous articles written about ‘How to Find Balance in our Lives’, ‘Living a Life of Balance’, etc, yet what bothers me about this is that it is impossible to actually achieve balance when it comes to our life. The reason being, is that the definition of balance is ‘all things being equal’, so therefore, when we say we want balance in our life, we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment from the get go. It is not possible to have ‘all things equal’ in our life. Our lives are not designed that way. (Do we spend 40 hours a week at work, then 40 hours a week at home, and 40 hours a week with friends, etc? No, we don’t.)

 

So instead, let me propose that we strive for harmony. Harmony is defined by Webster as “a pleasing combination or arrangement of different things”.  If we are going to strive for harmony instead of balance in our lives, then let us then focus on quality time versus quantity. The key is to be fully present in the activity we are currently engaging in. Schedule time with those that you want to spend time with, and then be fully present and engaged while with them. When you schedule your highest priorities first; family, work, spiritual, etc,  whatever it may be for you, and then leave room for those things that need to be accomplished (like running errands), you will find that you have much more joy and fulfillment in your life. Or better yet, delegate those items you don’t want to do! (I found when I began using a service like Dream Dinners to take care of my family dinners, it eliminated so much stress for me!) The key is, to schedule the time, set boundaries, and honor that time. When you are more present, you are less distracted and more effective.

 

A few tips that I recommend to help you find more harmony in your life are:

  1. Define your values. If you aren’t sure what your highest values are, chances are, what you spend your time doing is what you most value. If you are unsure, there are many value assessment tests available. One I highly recommend is given by Dr. John Demartini. You can find it here: https://drdemartini.com/values/login
     

  2. Calendar everything. Yes, everything. Including date nights, time for you, and even time to think and plan. Be flexible, of course, yet if you have a schedule that you will commit to, you will be able to be more fully present in each activity. Have a family calendar as well, so everyone in the family knows what is going on and what to expect. One of the greatest frustrations we experience in life is unmet, non-communicated, expectations.
     

  3. Have a family meeting once a month. Not only to discuss schedules, but also hopes, dreams, successes, failures, ideas and family planning (who is doing what ‘chores’, what family activities can be planned, etc). I have found that most people spend more time planning their work day – or work activities in general – or even vacation, more than they do planning their family life.
     

  4. Spend quality time alone at the beginning of each week (it’s Sunday night for me) to review and plan your week. In addition, take some time each morning before you start your day to get yourself in the right frame of mind. Meditate, read, work out, etc….whatever it might be for you. I spend no less than 15 minutes every morning focusing on all I have to be grateful for, doing deep breathing exercises, and reviewing what my top priority activities are for the day. I also recommend doing the same thing at night before you turn out the lights. Review the day and ask yourself, “What worked? What was effective and great about my day? What was not so effective? What can be improved upon?” and I also find at least 10 things to be grateful for. Gratitude can make an incredible impact on the quality of our lives. It’s very difficult to feel entitled, worried or angry when we are in a state of gratitude. Plus, alone time – quality alone time, even pampering ourselves!- refills our bucket so we are able to give more!
     

  5. Delegate low priority items. As I mentioned earlier, I found a way to get my family dinners taken care of. I am not a cook, and trying to figure out what to do for dinner, and still provide a nutritious meal, caused me unbelievable anxiety and stress! I would constantly set myself up for stress, the more I felt I had to ‘do the right thing’ for dinner. Once I found Dream Dinners (which they will even prepare it for me as well!), going to the grocery store for my other items, and now prepping a pre-made meal that is healthy for me and my kids, has eliminated so much stress!  So where can you find ways to eliminate stress? Can you hire a housekeeper? Imagine having all that extra time with your family, friends, or even you! What can your family help you with that you try to do all by yourself? Find ways to take things off your plate that don’t add value to your life, and you will find more joy!

Last but not least, Celebrate!  Do things throughout the month to celebrate your life! Successes, failures, accomplishments no matter how small, should be celebrated! It could be as simple as a high-five to going out to the movies to a mini vacation, or anything in between. The key is, to celebrate and enjoy your life along the way. That, and following these tips, is how we find true harmony!

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