Check out my new podcast on Finding Balance below! Or, if you're more of a reader, read the blog post. :)
I’m so excited you’re here today because we’re chatting about something super important to me....and that thing is BALANCE.
In prior seasons, I had no idea how important balance really was. I thought because “I was juggling well,” it meant I was balancing well. But balancing and juggling are different.
Juggling is chaotic and stressful. You may be keeping the balls in the air, but you have to do a lot of external movement to get them up and off the ground. Balance is peaceful. The external movement is much less, and thus eliminates the chaos from your life.
Anyone else want less chaos in their life?? For sure!
If you’ve listened to my past podcasts, you know where that lifestyle led me. It led me to being a workaholic who was anxious and drowning in feelings and emotions that controlled me. NO THANKS.
Currently, I help run the operations of my company, Trades of Hope. I am home a couple days a week working WHILE taking care of my babe. I run my Instagram, photography, blog, and podcast for fun. I did much of the above mentioned while finishing school a few years ago. At this moment in my life, I am so fulfilled, mostly because I've learned the art of balance.
When I was dealing with some hard stuff, God kept bringing the word SHALOM to my mind. A word commonly used by the Jewish people, it is a thread that runs through the Bible in so many ways. And it is the core of how God operates...a peace that brings completion and wholeness.
That became my word for my life (I know it’s probably cliché, but it helps me). Because I want to be whole. When you’re whole, you don’t lean to extremes. You don’t rest TOO much that you lose your purpose and drive. And you don’t work too much where you lose your sense of community and balance. Whole. Nothing missing. Balancing each facet of life in a way that is not too much and not too little. Now, we’re never going to be perfect. But If I realize that God wants this SHALOM for me, I can walk in balance.
So in thinking about this topic, I identified 5 areas that really helped me shed the old mindset of juggling and adopt this mindset of BALANCE.
The first one was:
1. PRIORITIZE VALUES
I talk about this a lot, but values drive us as individuals. And we all have different ones. I could come here and tell you “do this or do that…” but if that THING does not bring you joy, it won’t work.
Before being balanced, you need to know what your values are. What are the FIVE things you have time for in your week? Unfortunately, it’s not everything. But you can do everything YOU value, because we make time for what we value.
We’re only on this earth for a short time, so I’m not going to waste it by doing something that sucks my soul dry. I’m going to spend my life doing things that make me come alive!
Just to give you an example – here are my priorities and the things I make time for each week:
Community & Friends
Work & Aspirational Goals
Spiritual Life & Downtime
Ryan & Amelia
You can’t do it all. But you have enough in your week to do the right things. Make them the things you love.
2. MAKE A PLAN. HAVE DISCIPLINE TO STICK TO IT.
I’ll be honest with you. In love, some of ya’ll just need more discipline in your life and some of your problems will be answered.
Making a plan for the week is ESSENTIAL to making sure I get the right amount of time with the 5 priorities in my life.
Some people will say to me ‘well I’m just spontaneous” or “I don’t like to be overly planned.” But when you're intentional in your day, you actually have TIME to be spontaneous.
Dream setting has its place, work has its place, rest has its place, and spontaneity has its placed.
So once a week, a sit down with my project management app and I plan my week. I use the app basecamp. I block out each day, and plan what I WANT to do at each time. It doesn’t always happen exactly that way, but it gets pretty close and I get to accomplish what I want, spend time with my baby and loved ones, and end the day on a restful note.
When you plan, you can compartmentalize. When you compartmentalize, you can work when you need to work. And then you can spend time with your family without stressing about other things.
Planning gives you the ability to compartmentalize.... which in turn gives you the freedom to live present again.
Making decisions for short term happiness leads to long term regret. Set your values and plan your days according to your values. The beginning will be painful and require a lot of discipline. But in the long term, you will realize that it gets easier and easier to balance, stay committed, and live the life you dreamed.
3. ELIMINATE TIME WASTERS
To make a plan and stick to it, you have to eliminate the things you’re doing that cause what I call ‘spill-over’ into other areas life.
Social media scrolling – anyone? Ever started scrolling through your insta feed and look up and see that an hour has gone by. Yeah, me too. It’s not a good feeling. That is a spillover activity.
Put a time limit on it. I block out a 20 minutes at the end and beginning of the day to scroll, post, and engage in my friend’s posts. Another thing that is a time waster is allowing others to dictate your day. Waiting for people to comment on your photos on social media, waiting for emails to come in, waiting for someone to come talk to you at the water cooler, chatting it up in the office with whoever can talk.
None of these are bad things, and we need relational time in our life, but too much leads to you meeting everyone else’s need, wants, or tasks, and not moving any of your tasks forward. You’ll end the day feeling like none of your goals progressed.
Don't work out of the pressure of whatever is right in front of you.
Work out of pressure = low capacity. If you work on everyone else’s time table, you will always be a low capacity person.
Stop freaking out about disappointing everyone & have grace for yourself
In order to eliminate time wasters, we need boundaries. To have boundaries, we have to disappoint some people. And then we have to have GRACE for ourselves.
I used to feel SO guilty when I would say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” Or “Not this week” or “Can we schedule a meeting at 1pm instead of chatting now?”
But now that I see how it’s revolutionized my life, how much more intentional I am, how much I can get done WHILE still having time for people….I don’t feel guilty anymore.
You see, being intentional has actually given me MORE time with my family and friends.
But you have to be okay disappointing some of them up front. Explain kindly that you’re trying to be more disciplined with your time and that you’d like to have some time on X date (and then actually, intentionally set aside time for that person.)
And most of all – have grace for yourself! You can’t do it all. Honestly you cant. The people that seem like they can are making sacrifices not to do certain things. The difference between you and them is that they are probably sacrificing the things they don’t value to do the things they DO value.
And you may be saying YES to the things you don’t value and sacrificing what you DO value.
5. CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE
I'm going to be honest for a second here. It's a pet peeve when people tell me that they are just ‘so stressed and so busy.’
Look, some people really are, especially in certain seasons. Seasons of illness, childbirth, overwhelm, etc. And that’s okay. But if you’re touting your busyness as a badge of honor because you’ll feel LESS than others if you don’t say you’re busy, that’s silly.
I find that busyness makes us feel good. But it’s empty. So stop using busyness as an excuse. People make time for the things they value. If you value watching endless amounts of Netflix on the couch, then do it. But if you don’t value it, don’t do it. And for goodness gracious, stop telling everyone you’re so busy doing things that don’t even make you happy!
What you speak, you become. If you speak juggling, stress, and chaos over your life, your life will feel like that. If you speak wholeness, peace, and intentionality over your life, that is the fruit you will produce.
Remember friends, we don’t have to juggle. Juggling is chaos. We can balance. Balance is not an extreme in either direction, rather it is a way to have a little bit of everything we love, allowing us to feel whole and complete.
Hey, friend! I'm Chelsie!
Stay a while and get comfy. <3