You spend every day on a hamster wheel. Running and running. And getting nowhere. It’s tiring and it’s frustrating. You do the best you can with that you have, but it never seems to be enough. But before you throw in your towel, read this.
There’s Just Not Enough Time In The Day
When you work on your to-do list, you expect it to get shorter. But it grows longer. And at the end of the end of the day, when you look back at your list and see you didn’t finish what you wanted to...
Enter the guilt.
That guilt carries over to your family life. It makes you crabby and unpleasant to be around. And worst of all, it makes you unhappy with yourself.
This is the cause of your life's imbalance.
But the problem isn’t that you didn’t finish what you had planned, it’s that you think your “failure” to finish is a reflection of who you are.
Perception of Perfection
Your perception of perfection flaws your vision of yourself and your accomplishments. You did a lot today. But, you don’t remember that. You only see that you still have items unchecked on your to-do.
You see the completed list as perfection and it’s reflection.
So when you don’t finish. Your mind becomes cloudy with yucky feelings that make you wish you had done more. "Maybe I shouldn't have checked my email at 7am this morning." "Maybe I should've written that post I needed to write, instead of doing the laundry.'
But, you're not perfect.
Give Up Your Idea Of Perfection
Since perfection's your goal and perfection's impossible, you’re setting yourself up for failure. (Another self-sabotaging practice that needs to be thrown out - but that’s another post.)
When you stop looking at the list as a measurement of who you are, you free yourself from the guilt of not getting it all done. And once you’re free from those cuffs, your mind opens and your self-perception alters.
Your family is happier.
That happiness IS life-balance.
And it’s not impossible. You can do it. Today.
How To Make The Imbalance Work
The life of a freelancer can be chaotic. How you handle the chaos is the key to balance. We have sooo many projects on our list that it’s overwhelming. And trying to manage when to get it all done and have a life is what’s making the insanity worse.
As of today, STOP making an impossible to-do list your measuring stick. Your to-do list is not who you are. It’s what you need to do. And that’s it.
How I found balance:
1. A non-negotiable set of routines (routines and not part of a to-do list) - things that have to be done every day, regardless of how late it is when I do them (i.e. taking out everybody’s clothes for the next day, ironing, etc because honestly, it doesn’t take 5 minutes to do them)
2. Scheduling 1 - 2 projects per day - Overbooking yourself is invitation to feeling bad. Know your work habits and your environment (i.e. the demands of the family that you love) and be a smart scheduler. Schedule what HAS to be done now.
3. Knowing my peak performance periods - There are certain times of the day and the week that you work best. Think back to the times when you get the most done and make sure you hit your hardest projects then. I work best in the morning, so I’ve cut off all other responsibilities until my writing time is done. Also, getting up before the house gets up means I get an extra 1.5 - 2 hours of work in BEFORE anyone stirs and the chaos begins. (If you’re a night owl, then stay up later working - not veging in front of the screens, but getting your projects done.)
4. Taking care of my body (You knew this was coming, right?) - If you’re eating junk food, those guilty feelings that accompany not finishing your list are amplified to make you feel even worse. In our house, we try to avoid processed foods as much as possible and we hit the gym almost every day. Eat as cleanly as you and get at least 15 minutes of exercise, yes, EVERY DAY.
5. Dropped the idea that I will be able to do it all - Life happens. I know that now. And that will never change, but when I accepted the ups and downs, I gained the balance that I never thought I'd have. You can, too. Do the BEST that you can do and don't judge yourself (because, guess what...no one else is) and you'll relax and find the spot where your life is balanced.
Which of these points resonated with you? What helps you achieve balance?
If you enjoyed this post (or even if you didn’t!), I’d really love to hear from you. And if I could ask a favor, would you please share this on your social networks? You ROCK! Thanks! And you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (sometimes :D ).