All of us can relate to the title of this blog post. It's hard sometimes to keep a balance in our professional and personal lives, because we caught up in the "busy-ness" of daily needs, actions, and activities. After 46 years, you would think that I would be really, really good at keeping balance in my busy life. While I'm not perfect and still have room to grow, this has been my best year so far! I wanted to share what I've been doing in case it is helpful to some of you. (And so that you can share ideas with me!)
One major thing that is helping me this year has been my "focus words." I selected 3 words to guide me during 2014. Interestingly (or not so), one of my words for 2014 is BALANCE. I find that I don't have to give up a lot to have balance. I DO have to say no to some things, though, but looking back over the year it has not been anything that I've missed.
If you haven't done this for yourself,
find make some quiet time to reflect on 3 main areas of focus for the second half of 2014. Write them down and put them somewhere where you can see them every day. (I have mine framed and hanging in my office next to my computer.)
Another useful tool is Stephen Covey's matrix. It's a great reminder for daily interruptions and to-do lists. While I have my larger "themes" to drive my actions for the year, I still needed help on prioritizing and filtering. (Something we really need to be teaching our students, since they are - and will always be - bombarded by information.)
Do you use a matrix like this when considering your daily activities?
Notice where email is on the matrix. Do you agree with where it is located on the chart?
Another way I've found balance in a busy life is that I've also decided that my personal values would guide my decisions. In other words, I want my decisions to align with my values and what's important to me. God: greater personal relationship, quality time with family, quality time with friends, and self: healthy, happy lifestyle.
For example, I LOVE to read. I don't get to read very many "beach books" during the school year, so I fill up on them during the summer and breaks from school. During the school year, I accept that I can't read then, knowing that I will intentionally make time for it during breaks.
Books I've read this summer!
By reflecting back to my values, I know that it will lead to a happier and more productive life because I will, for a large part, be doing things that are important to me spiritually, intellectually, physically, and emotionally.
I would love to hear how you keep your life in balance in the comments below!