6 Tips for Staying Balanced (While Crushing Your Goals)
Download any of the templates from today's post in the Resources section of my blog.
Ladies! I’m baaack – and I can’t believe it’s already December! If you’re like most people, you’re probably trying to figure out where 2017 went. Then there are those who aren't just trying to figure out where the year went, but what they have to show for it. If that’s you, the girl who started the year with big ideas and a bucket list of “to-dos” that’s still half full, don’t be dismayed. Get excited!
Just because the year is ending doesn’t mean everything you wanted to accomplish has to end with it. If you’re reading this post, God has given you another day to move forward with the things He’s put in your heart. Maybe you just need some help figuring out how to put it all together -- while working AND serving in ministry, AND being a wife, AND being a mom, AND whatever else you’ve got going on.
If you’re challenged with finding balance, I’ll share with you some tips and tools that I personally use and that you can start implementing today. Yes, today. Lamentations 3:23 says His mercies are new every morning. That means we’re not waiting until 2018. We’ve got goals to crush. Let’s do this!
1. Make a to-do list. Seems pretty simple, right? It is. But it’s probably the simplicity of the idea that keeps you from actually doing it. Instead, you make mental notes, telling yourself: “I’ll remember that.” The next thing you know, you’ve forgotten that and then some. Write it down, and preferably not on the back of that piece of mail you haven’t opened yet. I keep my list in a notebook so I know where it is at any given time.
What do I write down? Everything that comes to mind. No, seriously. Everything – from the little piddly stuff to major tasks. It can make for a pretty exhaustive list, but prioritizing everything – my next tip – helps put it all in perspective.
Tip: Don’t wait to write your to-do list Monday morning when you get to the office and your day’s already in full gear. Write your list on Sunday when it’s quiet and your mind is clear.
2. Prioritize. Now that you’ve written your to-do list, it’s time to prioritize it starting with the most important things first. I break my to-do list down into three categories: High – this is the really important stuff that absolutely has to get done (i.e. projects for work or meal planning for the upcoming week); Medium – these items, while not urgent, are still important, usually because they impact something else on your list or are tied to something happening in the near future (i.e. schedule a doctor’s visit or mail all those Christmas cards/gifts); and Low – the little things that, while not critical, leave you with a sense of accomplishment when you get them done (i.e. ironing clothes for the week or re-organizing the pantry).
Once your tasks have been prioritized, work on incorporating them into your schedule. Which brings me to my next tip...
Tip: Prioritize your tasks – high, medium and low – for a clear picture of what you need to accomplish.
3. Create a schedule. I remember the first few months of 2017 feeling like complete chaos. With everything I knew I had to do and wanted to do, there was no rhyme or reason to how I was going to get it done. Then my husband sent me an article about how to be a successful stay at home mom. Quite honestly, I don’t remember much from the article – except the first tip: set a schedule. Oh my word! Talk about a lifesaver. The minute I created a schedule, my life literally went from chaos to calm. I knew what I had to do and when I was going to do it.
Ladies, create a schedule. If you work outside the home, create a schedule that accounts for any available time before and after work. If you’re a SAHM, create a schedule for your kids and work your to-do list into that. Keep in mind that having a schedule doesn’t mean your day will always go as planned, but even if you get interrupted, you can pick up where you left off.
Tip for SAHM’s: Schedule 1-2 hours of quiet time for your kids so that you work on your to-do list uninterrupted.
4. Plan/prep ahead. Planning ahead helps keep chaos to a minimum. When planning ahead, look for the simpler tasks that are the most time-consuming but yield the biggest benefit in the long run – like meal planning/prep, which has become one of my favorite things to do. It makes feeding a family of five less stressful and frees me up to manage other priorities when I’d otherwise be cooking. I typically:
Plan meals around what’s on sale. Flipp lets you view sale flyers from local grocery stores right from your computer or cell phone.
Lay out the week’s menu on a whiteboard for a handy visual (and so my kids stop asking me what’s for dinner).
Write my grocery list, doing a detailed price comparison when I have time, and tada! The hardest part is done. All that’s left is to prep my meals, which I usually reserve for Saturday or Sunday.
Tip: When planning ahead, look for simpler tasks that are the most time-consuming, but yield the biggest benefit in the end.
5. Find an accountability partner. There’s no use in making plans to get things done if you don’t follow through. An accountability partner can help keep you on track. The time you spend together doesn’t have to be long. I meet with my accountability partner for about 15 minutes every week. That’s enough time for us to each set three goals for the week, talk about our challenges and accomplishments from the previous week, and wrap it all up with a word of prayer. The number of things I’ve been able to accomplish this year without losing my head in the process have been because of my accountability partner. (Thanks girl!)
Tip: When selecting an accountability partner, make sure it’s someone you can trust to hold up their end of the deal.
6. Learn to say “No!” The easiest way to lose sight of your goals/dreams and make yourself delirious is to take on more when you already have too much going on. Don’t cave under the pressure of feeling like you have to do everything and be all things to all people. Learn to say “no!” It’s okay to say “no.” Anyone who tries to make you feel like it’s not probably doesn’t have your best interest at heart.
If you’re in a position to delegate tasks, don’t hesitate to do so – especially if it means being able to do what God has called you to do and with excellence.
Tip: Don't be afraid to set boundaries, and don't offer excuses when you do.
I hope that after reading this post, you’ll take the weekend to regroup, look over some of the tools I've left you, and commit to living your life to the fullest – full of balance, full of excitement and full of anticipation for all the great things you will accomplish.