Do ever feel that life is like a train? Speeding into the station while you wait patiently on the platform. But instead of slowing, the train accelerates and passes you by. You’re left desperately waving your ticket while the caboose disappears in the distance.
Maybe this is a little overly dramatic, but I’ve felt this way. Lots of times.
So many things I wanted to do that never got done. No time, right? Like remodeling our master bathroom. I recently realized I have been talking about redoing our bathroom for at least a year. And guess what? Nothing has been done.
That’s twelve months of inaction on a project that is important to me. Hell, I wasn’t even waving my ticket at the home remodel train. I didn’t even show up to the station.
My complete failure TO DO in this area convinced me something needed to change. Whether it was this home project, or losing a few pounds, or connecting with friends I haven’t seen in forever, I needed to purposefully make an effort to get control of my life.
Buy my ticket, stand near the track, and slow down that damn train with my 25-year-old bathroom sink if need be.
So I grabbed scrap paper and mapped out a simple plan. A plan to get important things done, a little at a time. A plan to focus attention on the areas of my life that need it right now.
To create a bit of balance in my life.
Now I’m excited to be more purposeful in my decisions. It makes me happy knowing I am making progress.
So I want to share my simple plan with you.
5 Step Plan to Create a More Balanced Life
What is a balanced life anyway?
When I say “balance” I simply mean focusing on the areas of life important to you at this moment in time.
Feeling balanced is unique to YOU.
It’s your life. You get to define what “balance” means to you. It just takes a little reflection and listening to your heart. Oh, and a plan to get there.
A balanced life will change in different seasons of your life.
What feels right or balanced to you today may not be the same in five or ten years. When you have young children your priorities are quite different from when your kids are in college or leaving home. The cool thing is YOU decide what feels right for you.
A balanced life doesn’t mean equal effort in all areas.
Balance doesn’t mean that you spend the same amount of hours each week tending to, caring for, and nurturing your family as you do cleaning your house. The amount of time spent doesn’t create balance. Feeling like you are spending THE RIGHT amount of time in each area is what does.
A balanced life won’t happen overnight.
It’s a process, like anything else. But taking the first step to a balanced life, by creating a plan, will help relieve some stress immediately.
Finding a balance that is right for you will make you feel calm, grounded and purposeful.
You are the boss of you. You get to decide what feels right. You get to decide how much time to devote to hobbies or building a side business, or hanging out with friends. You will know you are on the right track when you feel peaceful and calm and purposeful. And also excited.
Now let’s walk through five simple steps to help you gain a more balanced life.
Step 1: Identify the main areas of your life.
For many people there are six main categories:
- Personal growth & spirituality
- Health & fitness
- Friends & family
- Home & environment
- Finances & career
- Fun, hobbies & misc
Grab some scrap paper and write down these six categories. Or write categories that make sense to YOU. Or, download free printable planning sheets and skip the scrap paper. Just click the link below.
Step 2: Do a quick “check up.”
This step is where you answer the question “how am I really doing?” in each area.
(You can see how I answered this question for my health & fitness category in this blog post.)
Just put some thoughts on paper. You don’t have to use complete sentences.
Here are some simple questions to get you started:
- How am I really doing in this area?
- How do I want this part of my life to look?
- Why doesn’t it look this way?
- What gets you excited about making changes?
Step 3: Brainstorm very small action steps to take in each area.
Brainstorming is fun. Use your scrap paper or the printable planning sheets.
List very small steps you can take right now, or this month, or in the near future to make this part of your life better or more meaningful or more fun.
You are not committing to doing any or all of these things. Just get them out of your head and onto the paper.
The simpler the action the better. If a goal is scary big, it can be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, the first step for my home remodel project was creating a Pinterest board to gather ideas.
Step 4: Add a few of the action steps to your calendar.
Look at the six areas of life and choose one or two steps to try this month. Remember, your steps should be tiny. If they are overwhelming, break them down further.
Add the tasks to your calendar. It doesn’t matter if you use a printable planner, an online calendar, or your phone. Just get those tasks scheduled.
You may want to focus on just a few areas to start. For me personally, my health & wellness section, friends & family, and my personal development areas are the most in need of attention now. So I have more “to do’s” in these categories than I do in the others. This will change over time.
Step 5: Schedule a weekly review to track your progress.
Review progress on your goals.
The weekly review keeps you moving forward.
It’s really super simple:
- Remember those action steps you added to your calendar? Did you do them? If not, can they be rescheduled or crossed off your list?
- Look at your brainstorm list. What are the next logical steps?
- Add a few simple steps to your calendar for the upcoming week.
Let’s use my home remodel project as an example.
- Week 1 I started a pinterest board and wrote a description of what my ideal bathroom will look like.
- Week 2 I asked friends and family for designer/contractor referrals.
- Next I will schedule three appointments to obtain quotes.
Just keep adding small steps to avoid overwhelm, yet steadily progress toward your goal.
Does your plan make you feel more calm and balanced?
If not, don’t be afraid to mix things up. Maybe you were too ambitious and put too many items on your to do list. Or maybe you need to concentrate on one piece of your life and let some other things go.
The goal is not checking to do’s off your list. The goal is to give you a sense of inner peace that you are not neglecting anything important.
If you think you’ll forget to do a weekly review, put it on the calendar.
I have WEEKLY PLANNING written on my calendar every Sunday. You might choose to set a phone alarm. “I forgot” is not a valid excuse. “I forgot” is why I am still brushing my teeth over a 25-year-old-sink every morning.
So there you have it, five simple steps to creating a more balanced life. Simple actions to help you feel less frazzled and more focused.
Don’t forget to download your printable planning sheets. Just click the link below to have them sent right to your inbox.
Wishing you a more balanced life!PS: I use this printable planner to track my life balance goals as well as my appointments, daily and weekly to do’s and much more.