Balance is one of those unicorn words in my opinion. Do y’all know what I mean? As in, I don’t know if I totally believe in it (hence the quotations around “find balance” in the headline of this article). And the funny thing is, once I realized that it’s kind of impossible to feel balanced 24/7, I almost felt better about things.
Because here’s the thing – we all have all these different buckets in our life, right? Everyone’s buckets look different but for the most part we have the following: family, friends, partner, career, self, household, and then things like faith, hobbies, whatever – and not necessarily in that order. And usually (at least for me), I’ll feel like I’m killing it in one of the buckets, maybe two, but the rest are totally empty. Like I’ll be really focused on work for a week and realize that I didn’t talk to my family much and my house is kinda messy. Or I’ll have a bunch of time with friends and feel like work wasn’t my main focus. It’s truthfully rare that I feel like all buckets are equal amounts full and nothing is tipping over – or empty. But you know what? I think that’s OK!
What I’ve learned especially this year is that different times of year and even different days focus on different buckets and that balance. It’s literally IMPOSSIBLE to give myself to all buckets at all time. So instead of looking at each bucket as the same amount filled, I look at balance on more of a wave spectrum. To me, finding that balance is knowing that maybe not all buckets are the same at all times, but that I’m not totally ignoring a bucket for too long. *THAT’S* what’s important! That’s what makes me feel my best.
Anyways, I hope that makes sense! I wanted to explain all that before I got into the #tips section of this article. Because without y’all knowing or understanding that, the tips are kinda silly TBH. What’s above is the important part and Step 1, and what’s below is Step 2. At least that’s how I’d suggest thinking about balance! Then these are just a few ways I like to keep attention on the buckets…
Since work/career is one of those buckets that most of us literally need to keep full to keep paying the bills, it’s an important one obviously. It’s one that you can’t spend too much time ignoring because usually it comes with more rules and structure than some of the others. So…how do you keep water in that bucket (ignore my lame bucket thing but can we just go with it?)? Planning in advance!
I know you can’t plan all work in advance, but I’d guess that you can plan a good 50% of it. At least I can in my business so that’s what I’ll be using for my example just to get numbers down, OK? I’ve found that planning as much as humanly possible in advance creates this ongoing balance of sorts. So even if I have a week where I have a lot of self and family to focus on, my work bucket keeps going without as much effort. And on weeks that I have a lot of time to put into work, I can really get ahead of things.
This will look different depending on your job, but some ideas that can help:
- Creating canned emails to make things go faster
- Only checking emails every other day
- Writing blog posts in advance and BANKED CONTENT (aka content that can go live at any time)
- Batching tasks to make things go faster
- Getting all calls done on Mondays
Find pockets of YOU each day
This is one of those buckets that’s usually first to drain but it impacts me more than other ones – and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here. Taking care of ourselves is literally the most important thing, and without it, all the other buckets will end up in a hot mess and empty – I promise you this. Learned the hard way over here! So, it’s a bucket that you need to think about DAILY. And while that might sound intense and you’re probs thinking “OK but I don’t have time for yoga or some long morning routine every day Brighton!”…I get it!
My answer to that is small pockets of you time that turn into habits. It doesn’t need to be some 2-hour thing (though it’s awesome if it can be!). Here are some ideas for a quick morning routine and then 30 other ways to nourish yourself. If you don’t have a self-care plan at all, man you need to start one (here’s how!). The important part is to think of things that make YOU feel good and like your bucket is attended to. For me this is definitely quiet time in the morning, walks around the neighborhood, taking social media detoxes, and coffee dates with friends (which fill up a couple buckets at once…aka balance!).
Oh man, I love this – but it’s hard. Well, it’s hard at first and then it’s basically the best thing ever. Delegating your life frees up SO much time. And since time is really the only value we can’t ever get back, it’s really really important to use wisely. I know delegating usually involves money and that’s scary, but you have to think of your time as money, too. You can usually make that money back or budget in way that it feels OK, anyways, just takes extra effort or creativity. Some ideas of things to delegate (which in turn keep the house, self, and other buckets that take time balanced):
- Grocery shopping
- Cleaning the house
- Self care (massages or manicures that come to your house)
- Yard work
- Driving places
- Chores around the house (painting walls, fixing things)
- Travel plans
Assess your buckets weekly
If there’s one tip I can give for actually keeping that “balance,” it’s to do more regular self assessments and brain dumps (p.s. click on each of those links for how to do each). Sunday is a great day for this and so is Friday! If you can kinda draw out each bucket that’s important to you and see how you did that week and what’s getting low, it’s a heck of a lot easier to focus on those buckets the next week. And once you do a brain dump and see what’s bugging you and figure out your to-do list, you can plan everything you need to! I don’t do this every week, but it’s a goal for 2019!
OK – now I’d love to hear y’alls thoughts on balance.
Do you think you have it? Do y’all think of it like I do? Any tips to add that make you feel semi-balanced?
Brighton Your Day
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