3 Simple Steps to Bring More Balance to Your Unbalanced Life
Do you ever think having more balance at this point in your life is impossible?
Whether you’re overworking on the job home or both, it seems you never have enough time.
You feel frustrated about not being able to spend more time doing things you love, but never have time for. Maybe you’ve even forgotten what those things are.
When you’re out of balance, it can feel like you have to make a huge change in order to get that feeling of life equilibrium back.
The thing is, there are small things you can do to begin feeling like yourself again. And these small changes can support you in feeling more balance more of the time.
So let’s take a look at a few simple things you can do to bring some of that elusive balance into your life.
Step One: Take Stock
First off, it’s important to know where you are so you’re clear about where you want to go. When you want more (or less) of something, it's helpful to first assess what you're starting with.
Using a scale for yourself is a simple way to take stock.
So right now, if you had to give yourself a rating on a scale from 1 to 10 in terms of your Life Balance, where would you be? A 1 is “Balance? What’s that?” to 10, “I’ve never felt more balanced”.
There’s no judgment needed here, just an honest assessment of where you are right now.
Once you know where you are on the scale, you can ask yourself where you’d like to be at this time, given your current circumstances. Sometimes people think they need to say a 10, but I like to remind clients to be realistic and gentle with themselves in the beginning.
Say you’re at a 3. Perhaps setting your sights on a 5 or 6 feels do-able and motivating. It’s important that the leap isn’t too big.
This step might seem too small or trivial to some. Don’t let its simplicity fool you.
Just getting clarity about where you are, putting it in a form that your brain can comprehend and adding a destination to move toward can be a great start in the balance process.
Step Two: Start Small
Once you know where you are currently and have more of a destination in mind, you’re ready for the next step.
Sometimes when you’re out of balance, you have no idea where to start. If you’ve been so focused on all of your ‘to-dos’, you can feel so dis-connected to the things you used to do and love, you don’t even know what those things are anymore.
In addition, there are often so many things you aren’t doing at this point, it all feels overwhelming.
A good place to start is with a blank piece of paper and a little space. Maybe this is time before the household wakes up, with your morning cup of coffee or as a transition activity from work to free time if you’re still working from home.
It doesn’t have to be a big amount of time. Even 2 minutes will do.
Take whatever time you have, grab a piece of paper and write down all the things you can think of that you enjoy, that you wish you had more time for. These can be things you’ve done before or new things that you want to explore.
You can do this in one sitting or more. The idea is to come up with a ‘master list’.
If you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas it’s ok. Just think of things that sound appealing to you. You don’t have to know how you’ll find the time. This is the exploration stage - just getting the ideas down on paper.
You can be as organized as you’d like with your list as well. I have clients who just jot down the ideas and others who make an elaborate ‘menu’ of activities.
Once you have your list, you’re ready to make your first choice.
Thinking of where you are on your scale, look at your list and find one small thing you could do that would bring you up on the scale.
And remember, all you’re looking for is a small increase right now. If you’re at a 3, is there a small thing you could do that would bring you to a 3.5 on your scale?
That first item is important as it can prove to yourself that it’s possible to move forward here.
Choose something that is really calling you and could be done pretty easily that would make a difference. You’re looking for something that would really
An important note, sometimes the thing you choose is to STOP doing something. Social media or listening to the news is something that I often hear people are doing that doesn’t bring them energy or allow them to feel the space they’re looking for.
In this case, the first action item (or non-action item in this case) could be to limit the amount of time you spend on social media because doing that, you know, would give you a bit more space.
This is the same idea with over-working. Perhaps the first step is limiting the amount of time you spend on the weekend or on weeknights.
Perhaps you fill the space with another more energizing activity or perhaps you leave it because the emptiness is what you’re craving.
Step Three: Create Your Formula
Now you have your master list and have begun the process of choosing - one small thing to take you up the scale.
And when you’re ready, you can look at the list again and choose something else to experiment with - to do or not do, whatever the case.
Experiment is the key word here.
As you go through this process, you get to be a detective. What supports you in moving up the scale?
And what do you notice takes you down the scale?
This whole exercise is about you finding your own balance formula. There is no right answer here except what works best for you right now.
So often people are looking for a magic answer about how they can find more balance.
The thing is we’re all unique with our own individual values about what’s most important and our own lives full of differing commitments.
Taking some time to build awareness about what fills you up and gives you balance and what drains you and takes it away is key.
So wherever you are right now, remember that more balance is possible. You can begin by taking stock of where you are, creating a master list so you’re prepared with options and making a choice.
This is a process so remember to be patient.
You don’t need to make a huge change to experience more balance. You can add a bit more balance with each choice, one step at a time.
So, now it’s up to you. When will you set that time on your calendar to make your master list?