When we think of a balanced life it would be easy to presume this means that all aspects of your life should be evenly split and proportioned out in order to achieve success in each area. But, in reality, being balanced in life is largely based on individual needs and values. Where one person may be career driven another may feel that spending time with family is more important and that work is just a necessity. Or others may find that they get enjoyment out of a particular hobby and this is where they want to focus a large part of their time. It is all based on personal choice and what feels right to us.
How can we find that balance in life to provide us, as individuals, with the contentment and fulfillment we need? Here’s 5 steps to achieve and maintain a well-balanced life:
1. Decide what you want – take a step back and decide what your ideal life would be. Clarify your priorities and what you feel is important to you. Look at your values and focus on what parts of your life make you happy. Make sure you are honest with yourself though, as this is the only way you will create a life that feels well-balanced to you.
2. Set realistic yet reaching goals – to achieve a fulfilled life most of us like to be working towards something. When you have answered the items in point 1, you can then set yourself goals in order to achieve this balance in each element of your life. In order for these goals to be reachable yet manageable, it is always a good idea to break them down into daily, weekly and even monthly targets. This will then allow you to set yourself realistic timescales to achieve these, while also being able to manage your time around them. Make sure your goals are realistic, setting goals that are too high will only deter you or create you more stress.
3. Identify your 3 biggest distractions or time-wasting activities – in the age of technology there are more distractions around nowadays than ever before and it is easy to waste huge chunks of time on meaningless activities. Look at how long you spend doing things that bring little or no value to your life. Sure enough, sophisticated technology has many benefits both in our personal and professional lives, but how much does it hinder us too? Managing, or even eliminating the time you spend doing these activities can free up more time to focus on the elements that do bring value to our lives. If you do not want to eliminate these activities completely, instead allocate certain times of day aside for these and set yourself a time limit of doing them.
4. Make the most of the free time you have – when you do have time to do the things you enjoy, make the most out of this time by pre-planning what you will do and what you would like to get out of it. This way you will get more value out of the time you have and will feel more accomplished and satisfied that you have spent this time well.
5. Choose to manage your time – it may sound obvious but just the task of choosing to manage your time better will have great impact on your success at putting this into action. Some people believe that they are just naturally bad at time management, but really, being organized or disorganized is a choice. By taking a step back and evaluating certain areas we can easily prioritise tasks in a far more effective way. Eliminating the mental blocks of time management will make you far more focused and ready to take action. There are plenty of tools around today to help structure your time better, so utilize these as much as you can.
All in all, creating a healthy balanced life for ourselves just takes a little self-reflection, prioritizing and organization. What works for one person may not feel balanced to another, it is all based on individual needs and personal values.