The pressures of life cause people to lose sight of the big picture plan for their lives in favor of the day-to-day. In order to find balance in your life and push towards the goals that matter, you must organize and balance your time. With a simple plan for the future, you can start getting closer to where you want to be.
1. Outline Your Goals
The very first step is knowing exactly what you want to accomplish. Vague goals mean you can only have vague progress. Don’t say “I want to lose weight”, make a goal of losing X number of pounds in a month or a year. You need to be realistic about your goals so that you don’t get discouraged striving to meet a benchmark that was out of reach.
2. Know Your Values
Next, you need to make an assessment of your values. What are the things that you care about? Will you make personal sacrifices to advance more quickly in your career? Is making time for charity work something that you want? The only way to find true balance in your life is if you can find a way to make time for the things that you want to do, and a values assessment helps you prioritize.
3. Begin Planning Your Time Realistically
Everything that you do is going to take some time, and you need to be realistic about the time commitment. Most people can’t spend three hours a day at the gym or take a month’s vacation to travel. Start small and assign realistic portions of time to your goals. Try carving out half an hour, three times a week at the gym or take a week long vacation abroad. Eventually you will start to see the small accomplishments add up to your goals.
4. Put Tasks, Big or Small, on Your Calendar
With an understanding of your time commitments you can lay out the way forward. Start with the big picture tasks, those that will take months or years to finish. If you want to save money, know what you wish to have saved in five years, then for smaller periods. If you want to read more, start penciling in some of the titles that you want to read. Be sure to break your calendar down all the way to a day-by-day plan and update your plans when circumstances change.
5. Be Flexible
There will be times of crisis and circumstances that are out of your control. You need to have enough flexibility in your plans to allow yourself to adapt to the new changes, without having to scrap your entire road map. The only way to achieve balance in your life is to accept that you can’t do everything and that some goals may need to be deferred until a crisis passes.
6. Do Regular Assessments
Finally, you need to come back to your goals every so often to ensure your goals are still realistic. The loss of a job might make your plan for saving $5000 by the end of the year too difficult to manage. A new relationship might mean that you want to spend a little less time career building or spending time with your friends. Only through careful reassessment can you determine if your road map is still taking you where you want to go.
Planning and organization are two tools that can help you achieve balance in your life, and help you accomplish your goals. Take some time, step back, assess the situation, and you will find the road forward a lot easier to manage.
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