Do you recognize this feeling when your agenda is so massively packed with all these responsibilities and obligations, that you honestly feel like you don’t control your life anymore? Do you have difficulties with creating a balanced life?
It just seems impossible to have it all, right? Being a loving and supporting partner, an amazing best friend, a caring daughter, a thriving employee, a successful blogger,…
We want to excel and thrive in all these areas of our lives, but trying to combine all these roles and juggling with the responsibilities they come with, can be often very overwhelming and make it seem impossible to achieve a balanced life. I remember thinking, I can’t just magically add extra hours to my day, therefore I have to compromise on some areas in my life even though there are important to me, to be able to thrive in other areas.
The good news: it is possible, there are ways to create balance and a sense of control back in our lives, without having to sacrifice activities that truly matter.
Here is how I gained back control over my life and created a balanced life.
1. Ask yourself what a balanced life specifically means to you
Finding balance can mean different things to different people. What does it mean to you? Does finding balance mean that you can spend more time with your partner or family? Or maybe it means that you can finally find the time to work on that side hustle? Or it might mean that you can have more time for a hobby you are totally obsessed with.
Action point: Figure out what a balanced life exactly means to you and reflect why it’s so important for you to create extra time in your life. Finding your why is crucial since it will give you the willpower and motivation to make the necessary changes in this journey.
2. You have the power to create a balanced life
We often say that we have to ‘find’ balance in our lives. It makes it seem that balance is something you can ‘find’ accidentally (if you’re lucky!). And that it isn’t something that we have control over. However, a balanced life isn’t something you just find, it’s something you create.
Finding balance doesn’t happen magically overnight, it is a result of consistently protecting our time and only focusing on the things that are most essential in your life.
It’s all about creating time for the things that truly matter in life. It is NOT about how to get more things done, it is about how to get the right things done. It’s about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy.
Unfortunately, our daily time and energy are limited. Think about it as the battery of your laptop. You can choose how to use your laptop during the day, but eventually, it will be out of battery, independently if you have used it to get work done or spent hours scrolling through social media. So start seeing time as something valuable and scarce and chose wisely where you spend your time, attention, and energy to.
Action point: Get as clear as possible in which essential areas or activities you are underinvesting in (priorities).
3. Doing less of the things that don’t matter
You would be astonished seeing how much time in a day you are losing to unessential things and distractions. How much time per day are you checking your social media feeds, binge-watching TV shows on Netflix, or checking your mailbox? These really add up to a huge number of hours that you could have spend on things that truly matter to you. They distract you from what is really important in life.
Of course, it is important to have some downtime, but admit it, watching brainless TV shows for HOURS is just a complete waste of your time and actually brings your life out of balance. Plus, there are hundreds of other ways to relax and recharge your batteries, like meditation, reading, spending quality time with your boyfriend, friends, or family, doing your self-care routine,… These activities will make you feel way better than just passing out on the couch, watching series the whole day.
What I personally like to do is multitasking when I’m doing these things. I check my social media when I’m on my way somewhere in the metro. I like to watch my favorite TV shows when I’m folding my laundry or chopping some vegetables. I listen to audiobooks or call someone I care about when I’m cooking or washing the dishes. I check my e-mails when being on the toilet. I watch videos of my favorite YouTubers when combing my hair (takes a LOOONG time), you get the point. In this way, you are smart with your time and make activities that are ‘boring’ actually way more fun!
Action point: What are unessential things you are overinvesting in? (distractions) and actually track how much time in a week you lose on distractions (for example, on Instagram you can check ‘your activity’ (which shows how much time per day you spend on Instagram).
4. Doing more of the right things
Do you know this feeling when you are doing something you love so much that whenever you do it, you’re so present in the moment that you forget everything else that is going on in your life? Whether this is a sport you love or a creative hobby you’re passionate about, these are the activities that you should definitely continue creating time for in the future.
In contrast to these, there are probably also activities in your life that you don’t enjoy doing at all and seem like a total waste of time. These are typically the monotonous, mundane tasks that have to happen every once in a while for keeping your life in order.
Action point: Clarify for yourself which are these activities for you. Which ones do you enjoy that much that you lose time out of sight? (hobbies) And which ones you find a total waste of your time? (monotonous tasks
5. Analyze your commitments
Every time we say yes to something less important, it takes time away from the things that are the most important. In other words, every time you say yes to something, it means that you say no to something else.
Often people say YES to fun requests they receive from their friends and families, only because they experience something called ‘FOMO’, the fear of missing out. FOMO is actually a real thing: It is experiencing a strong feeling of anxiety when you believe that others are having so much fun when you are not present. Furthermore, the growth of social media has increased FOMO even more, because when you are not able to come to a party, there will be a big chance that most people have put pictures and videos of the party on their social media. This often makes people with FOMO regret that they didn’t show up.
Taken this in mind, let’s get real for a moment. Think about all the times you said yes to something recently.
- Why did you say yes to these requests? Brought these commitments a sense of joy or value to you? Or, did you only say yes because you wanted to be polite or make other people happy? Or is FOMO the reason you are accepting all invitations?
- Which essential things did you have to sacrifice to do the things that you said yes to? How does this make you feel?
Action point: Which of the yesses are absolutely non-negotiable? (non-negotiables) And which yesses can you uncommit to? (Undesirable favors)
6. Audit your life
After you completed all the above-mentioned action points, you can now use them in the following matrix. This will give you an overview of which activities are worth your time and which ones you should ideally invest less in, so you can create more time for the things that are the most important to you. So you ask how you can create a balanced life? This matrix is the answer:
- Create time for your priorities by planning them beforehand and make sure to actively protect this valuable time
- Maintain the activities that you’re passionate about (hobbies) and continue doing them consistently
- Execute your non-negotiable responsibilities and obligations depending on their urgency and importance
- Reduce the non-essential activities that distract you from the things that really matter
- Automate and outsource as much as possible the monotonous and mundane activities that you don’t enjoy doing
- Uncommit to (and delegate if possible) previously made favors that you regret making and don’t bring value to your life
And there you have it! Now, I’m super curious to hear about your tips to create balance in your life! Please share them in the comments down below 🙂