One of the questions I get asked most often is “How do you balance everything on your plate?”. I wear many hats these days. I am a wife and mother, daughter and sister, friend, full-time employee in college athletics, blogger, AdvoCare advisor, full contact football player for the DC Divas, and work really hard to live a happy and healthy life.
Some say that I take on too much, but for me, life would be boring without these relationships and responsibilities. I love each relationship in my life and am so grateful for the opportunities on my plate. What I’ve learned over the years though is that it’s so important to live a balanced life and to create healthy boundaries. Here are 5 of my tips for balancing family, work, and yourself.
1. Develop a system to keep yourself organized
There are a gazillion ways to organize yourself. You can use a paper planner, Google calendar, wall calendar, notebooks, Evernote, Wunderlist, and a gazillion other apps on your phone. In the end, you have to find a system that works best for you!
Currently I use Evernote, Wunderlist, and Google calendar to organize my days, thoughts, and responsibilities. I have tried just about every method there is, and although I never thought I’d give up my paper planner, this system works best for me now. All three programs are computer based and thus can be pulled up anywhere. I have all three programs on my iPhone, work and personal computers, and iPad. They provide me with a centralized system that I can access from home, work, or while I’m traveling, making it easy for me to stay organized no matter where I am or what time of day it is.
2. Don’t just keep everything in your head, organize yourself with a brain dump
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but it’s exhausting having to remember everything. Take out the trash, bring more diapers to daycare, send my mother-in-law a birthday card, pick up more food for the dog, purchased plane tickets for our summer vacation… it never seems to end! Instead of keeping it all in my head, I start every morning with a brain dump. Before the day ever gets going I take 10-15 minutes to write down everything that’s on my mind. I use Evernote, that way I can access it anywhere, and then create to-do lists in Wunderlist from the day’s brain dump. Whether it’s needing to buy milk at the grocery store or establishing a deadline for a major project, getting everything out of my brain and onto “paper” provides me with the head space needed to accomplish everything I need to in a given day.
3. Put down your phone and turn off the TV
Did you know there are 168 hours in a week? If we sleep 8 hours a night and are at work 9 hours a day during the work week, that leaves us with 67 hours a week to be with loved ones, to hang out with friends, to take care of ourselves, and to accomplish various tasks. That’s a lot of time, but only if you use it wisely. I often hear people say that they don’t have enough time in a given week to get things done, and although that might be true for some, most of us just need to use our time more wisely. One of the biggest recommendations I have for people struggling with time management is to put down their phone and to turn off their TV. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you focus!
4. Treat yourself
Caring for everyone and everything but yourself can be mentally and physically exhausting. Part of balancing everything on your plate is to keep yourself a priority. I believe wholeheartedly that if you love yourself and take care of yourself that all those around you will benefit. Whether you’re enjoying a cup of coffee by yourself before work, getting a manicure early Saturday morning, or buying yourself a new book, make yourself a priority!
5. Be selfish with your time
Over the years I’ve had to learn to be selfish with my time. I used to pack my weekends with activities and get-togethers, chased after friends who didn’t put in the same amount of energy into our friendship, and sacrificed my me time in order to get one more thing done around the house. I was left feeling worn out, lonely, and unhealthy. It’s takes time to find the balance, but I always encourage people to be selfish with their time. If you had a long work week, it’s ok to use the weekend to hang out around the house, to shop at Target for no reason, and to go for a long run by yourself. If you’ve been trying to get on a friend’s calendar for a month and they aren’t making you a priority, maybe you need to invest yourself in a different friendship. If you created a plan to workout every morning before work, don’t allow anything or anyone to take that time from you. It’s ok to be selfish with your time! You’ll be a happier person in the end!
No matter what you have on your plate, my hope is that you’ll find a balance that works for you! Simple changes and tweaks can make all the difference. Make yourself a priority, organize your thoughts and your schedule, be smart with your time, and take care of yourself! You deserve to be happy, healthy, and to enjoy the ride!