Each one of you reading this will have a different idea of what you want life to look like and what would be your definition of a balanced lifestyle. It all depends on what is important to you and makes you feel fulfilled. Is it lots of family time with your kids, is it having the time and energy to run a 10K or is it having a good balance of work fulfillment plus time with your friends and family? Here we will consider some of the key areas that come up for most families and then you can see how this fits in with your view of a balanced lifestyle.
Common Time Commitments
Most families around the world would be juggling their time between: work commitments; school or education for their children; household duties eg. Washing, cooking, cleaning; travel time; personal: eg. Showing, getting dressed, eating, sleep; after school activities eg. Sport, homework, hobbies; fitness activities; social time. Phew… it’s exhausting just thinking about them all.
Obviously, the more children you have, probably the more extracurricular commitments you have and the less spare time you have. How anyone has time or energy for social time with family and friends is amazing when you think about it. Yet without those fun times we often feel lacking or burned out.
Find a Balance
So how do you find a balance that keeps you happy, healthy and not too stressed out or overwhelmed by all the tasks we pile into our schedule each week?
1. Write out all the activities you do each week and which ones are most important to have in your life or make you or your family members happy. Put them in order of priority
2. Cut out any activity that isn’t making you or your family balance happy. On your list of all your commitments for the week mark down how you feel about each of them. Are your children doing too many midweek activities and then are exhausted come Friday evening? Do you feel like a taxi driver and feel you are never at home to relax? Sometimes knowing when to say no will provide the relief you need
3. Plan ahead – many mums get to Friday evenings and after a busy week are too worn out to come home late to cook dinner. So cut out cooking on Friday night and either plan to have leftovers from the night before or order takeaway to pick up on the way home. Look at your week schedule and think about where you struggle most. How can a few simple changes by planning ahead can save you time and energy?
4. How can others in your family help? Where can your children play more of an active role in household duties. Can they make their own breakfast or lunch each morning? Can they tidy up, hang out washing or start preparing dinner when they get home? Can your partner leave work early one afternoon to pick up the kids and prepare dinner? Being creative and delegating tasks can empower others in your family to step up and take some of the pressure off you
5. To tasks in bulk – cooking and shopping are 2 of the most time consuming tasks that you can do in bulk. Rather than cooking from scratch each night, try cooking larger meals to make enough for 2-3 nights. Doing one big shop for the week or even shopping online can save time and make you be more organised
6. Take time each Sunday afternoon to plan the week ahead
7. Schedule time for fun - what do you enjoy doing? Is it going out with friends, going out for lunch or dinner, going to the movies? Make sure you find time each week to do at least 1 thing you really enjoy doing. Make the time to get some enjoyment otherwise it's easy to get worn down by all the things you "have to do" in your week
What ideas can you come up with to help save you time this week and allow you to have more free time to do the things you enjoy? I’d love to hear any of your suggestions!