Do you crave a more balanced life? Do you think life would be more enjoyable if your schedule matched up with your priorities? Does it feel like as soon as your schedule is working for you that something in your life changes?

Life is full of constant changes and adjustments.   Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is something many of us desire to obtain.  We have a vast amount of different roles to fulfill within our everyday lives.  We have our roles at work, our roles as parents, children, friends, and spouses.  In the midst of fulfilling all these demands we must also find time to take care of ourselves.  If we are not taking proper care of ourselves we cannot effectively care for others for an extended amount of time.  It is not surprising, with the demands in today’s society, that the percentage of stress-related illnesses are constantly on the rise.

You might be thinking that finding balance sounds great, but how can you possibly find time to work on finding balance? It is essential to take responsibility and find time to evaluate your schedule to see where possible changes can be made.  It is necessary to attain awareness of what you spend the majority of your time doing.  A helpful question to ask yourself is, when you come to the end of your life what will be important to you?  What will you value the most?

Steps to Start Re-structuring Your Life:

1) Create percentages that show a visual of how much time you spend on each area of your life.  Give yourself a percentage for work, family, friends, spouse or partner, physical and spiritual aspects.  In addition, include percentages for relaxation or other enjoyable activities.

2)  Think about your priorities. Write down which sections of your life are most valuable to you and see if it matches up with the percentages you came up with.  You may be surprised at how unbalanced your percentages are.  If you feel like your week is overplanned,  this is a great visual to see where you are spending your time.  It is a good indicator that it is necessary to re-evaluate your responsiblities and commitments if you are starting to resent a specific activity or certain areas of your life.  For instance,  if you are feeling overwhelmed by trying to attend every social event you are invited to, it may be helpful to schedule in some more down time for yourself.

3)  Spend a few days to create a daily log of how you spend your time. Rate the satisfaction you get from the activities throughout your log.  Review the log and brainstorm ways to utilize time management. Try to think outside of your current situation to see all possible options. Don’t limit yourself! Here are some examples: learn to leave work at work, delegate choirs, learn to say no to draining commitments, put a time limit on projects, find areas to schedule in fun and relaxation, and re-evaluate financial demands.

4)  Write down things you enjoy and would like to spend more time doing. If you are unable to think of things you currently enjoy, think of things you have enjoyed in your past.  In addition, come up with activities you would like to try.  If you could spend your time doing anything what would you do? Try to think about activities without putting limits on your options.

5) Of course there are specific circumstances that may prevent you from changing your schedule at this time. This does not mean you can’t start planning for change in the future.  This in itself can offer hope during a stressful stage of life.  Planning and setting these goals will contribute to the probability you will eventually move towards these goals.

It is important to remember that there are always options and choices to improve your life no matter how stuck you may feel.  If you are having difficulties seeing the possible options or plans you can talk to someone outside of your situation or contact a counselor.  Take responsibility and take steps to creating a life that you enjoy.  You only have one life so what are you waiting for?

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