Did you know that TIME is your most valuable, and most non-renewable resource? You would never know it by the way people squander their time and spend it doing things that bring them little to no joy!
I recently released my 4th Podcast on iTunes in which I talk about how to restore balance to your life. So many of us feel tugged in a million directions, unfulfilled and plodding through life with a long list of incompletes. In the episode, I talk at length about four of the five ways you can begin to restore balance and feel more grounded. The fifth way is what I consider to be the most important, the most controversial (perhaps), and the most difficult. But, as with all challenges and opportunities for growth — we are in the driver’s seat and need to do the difficult work in order to bring along any lasting and meaningful changes.
To recap what was in the audio recording, mastering the art of balance in the key areas of your life takes ample practice. (My 7 key areas are discussed in the Podcast.) It is a marathon, not a sprint, and many of us will live our whole lives not really perfecting the art of living a calm, centered life. Here is recap of the Top Tips from iTunes:
#5: Prepare and Plan.
You can never underestimate the effectiveness of a solid plan. Write down your daily, weekly, monthly goals for all areas of your life. Once you have clarity around the WHAT and the HOW, you need to prepare for the external “stuff” that will inevitably derail you (colleagues, kids, fear, etc). Come up with ways you can bust through these inevitable roadblocks and challenges as a way to keep you on track.
#4: Pay Attention to Your Results.
RESULTS DO NOT LIE. What results are you currently producing? Be honest. Let’s face it, you either have a fulfilling relationship with your spouse, or you don’t. You either got the raise, or you didn’t. You will either meet your weight loss goals, or you won’t. Give up your excuses and justifications and focus on changing your behavior to get the results you desire. Over on the Podcast, I give some great info about why your actions need to be in alignment with your values — go take a listen if you haven’t already.
#3: Be Present and Mindful.
Nothing has the ability to derail your success and forcefully throw you off kilter like multi-tasking and distractions. Did you know that, on average, we subject ourselves to unnecessary distractions every THREE minutes? And then it takes us an average of ELEVEN minutes to get back on track? Think of all the time we are wasting! In the Podcast I talk about how your brain is wired to focus on one task at a time. If you want to be more balanced and effective, you need to start single-tasking. If you’re in a meeting — be in the meeting. If you’re on a date — be on the date. If you’re supporting your kids — don’t bring the office with you. Try it for a week and let me know how it goes.
#2: Delegate and Outsource.
I want to let you in on a little secret: YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL. There are no medals for busiest, no accolades for most scattered, and no Nobel Prize for most unfulfilled. Do the things you are good at, passionate about, and LOVE — and then get rid of all the rest. On the Podcast, I talk about what some of my neighbors think about this theory and how my husband and I are laughing all the way to the bank. Start thinking about what you can begin to outsource. Is it sending your taxes to an accountant? Is it stepping down from the time-consuming volunteer position? Is it hiring a landscaper? Getting rid of the mundane, the frustrating, and the time-consuming will make space in your life for rest, rejuvenation, enhanced relationships, hobbies you enjoy, and more focused work.
Now it’s time to reveal my #1 tip for creating a life of balance and calm. It is the single most-effective way to begin spending your time wisely and living a life you love.
#1: Say NO to Other People’s Agenda.
If you want to regain control and get your spot back in the Driver’s Seat of Balance, you need to start separating THE world from YOUR world and give up the things that do not IMMEDIATELY and DIRECTLY pertain to you. I am not telling you to become a self-centered ogre who doesn’t give a rat’s patoot about anyone else. But what I am telling you is that a swift and compassionate “NO” when something doesn’t align with your values will be your new best friend.
Think about it. Are you one of those people that is tethered to your inbox? Do you take great pride in the fact that you respond immediately and effectively to other people’s demands, wants, and needs? Yeah, I felt that way in the corporate world, too. I was the Superwoman of Customer Service. But, you know what? It made me less effective in my actual job because I was too attentive to the external agenda of others and it crushed my productivity and focus. Instead of being trigger happy and overly eager to please, you could create an email auto-response that says you only answer emails on Tuesdays and Fridays. Boom! You’ve now set clear expectations and by default, freed up ample time to stay focused and BALANCED.
Do you have people in your life who are trying to drag you down with their drama, problems, circus, fears, and “stuff”? How many times has Susan called you to bitch about the lackluster relationship with her husband in which she has not taken any advice or any proactive steps to make changes? How many times has Friend A called to drag you into the drama with Friend B? Are there any people in your life who make you feel continuously heavy and weighed down? How many times can you (or should you be expected) to listen to the same story or the same gripe or the same song and dance? It might seem harsh to say no to someone you love, but setting boundaries ultimately eliminates anxiety and uncertainty in your relationships and helps others stand proudly on their own two feet.
Are you, like Pavlov’s Dog, a slave to the ping of your cell phone? I remember when I worked for the digital marketing team in my last corporate job. They wanted to give me a Blackberry, but I politely refused because I knew that meant they expected me to be on call, and at their beck and call, 24/7. Then I left that gig, started my own thing, bought a new phone, and allowed myself to get sucked into the notion that every ping, beep, and buzz was an emergency. I became addicted to importance and possibility; after all, the human need to be wanted is ancestral. I’ve slowly weaned myself off of that after recognizing it wasn’t healthy for me or my relationships. I turned the social media notifications off (did I really need to get an email every time someone liked something of mine on Facebook?). I began letting my phone go to voice mail. I started letting emails pile up. I started saying NO. The initial anxiety I felt was quickly replaced with relief. I felt free again. I could focus more. I could BE PRESENT. I found balance.
Figure out where you need to set clear and concise boundaries.
Teach people how to treat you.
Say no without apologizing or justifying.
Today’s Creativity Corner:
Here’s a very visual reminder for you, and a reminder that it is okay to nurture YOU first and say no more often. Feel free to download, use as your desktop screen saver, and share on social media. I simply ask that you please exhibit integrity when you share and give me artist credit for the work.
As always, I hope you have found this information relevant and beneficial. If you haven’t already, head over to my Web site’s homepage and sign up for my newsletter.
Would you like to take a Self Esteem Through Art course on balance and saying no effectively? Let me know in the comments section of this post.
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Until next time — peace!