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Isn’t that what we are all after?
We want to be able to live our busy fulfilling lives without falling off the rocker. We ache for time to slow down and breathe yet somehow accomplish all that is set before us to do.
Do you agree?
Now – I in no way profess to be an expert at finding balance in my life, nor do I have some magical answer for you. But I do want to share the 10 things I do to find balance in my busy (blessed) life, full of kids and a husband, a work-from-home job, and being a homemaker.
If you’ll forgive the self-indulgence, I figured a post like this was as good of a time as any to share our family pics taken by my dear talented friend Sandy (her site HERE). A post without pictures seems too boring for me 😉
Any way – I get asked all the time how I “do it all”. My reaction is always the same with a scoff and a definite “I don’t!”
Actually, since we are getting so up-close-and-personal today – the truth is I struggle with a great deal of anxiety most days. My home is never as clean as these pictures look (trust me). I often wonder why I am not enjoying motherhood as much as I thought I would when it is all I have ever dreamed of doing. I frequently feel like I’m falling behind in everything, and not good enough for anyone.
Alright. So I sound like the last person you want advice from on “finding balance”. Ha! I realize I’m probably not the best person to offer opinions on the matter, but I’m going to attempt it anyway. The thing is – I’ve discovered some things or practices I must do in order to feel I’m in a good place daily. If I let some of these things slip – my life slips.
So here are 10 things I do to help me feel on top of things. And if you’ll stick around long enough, I would love to hear any tricks or tips you have on the subject in the comments below.
(Order is of no significance. They are all important to me).
1. Organize each day by time blocking.
I’ve implemented this one strategy in the last 3 months and it has been my sanity savor. I just made a simple printable (which you are welcome to view and print if it is helpful for you) that sections off my day in the times things typically happen. It is crucial that the night before I look at the day ahead of me and fill this sheet out. Before this time blocking method, I just had a never ending “to-do” list. I would wake and look at all the things before me and instantly be stressed. By time blocking, I am more aware of how much time I have to do things, when they can reasonably happen, and I can allow my day and my list to be more realistic instead of setting myself up for failure. This also helps me significantly in prioritizing my time.
(View or print my time blocking sheet, HERE).
2. Work Out!
I tell myself I don’t need to. I convince myself that I’m too tired or other things are more important. But the truth of the matter is, that I feel so much better if I exercise daily. I can be feeling so anxious inside, and a few minutes on the treadmill or jogging down the road something happens inside and those feelings are released. I also enjoy (well not really enjoy because it is totally miserable) doing Jillian Michaels 90 day body revolution. I feel like if I can endure her 30 minutes of torture, I can do anything. Being consistent in my exercise routine is really key, so I be sure to add it to my time block sheet.
3. Clean a room a day.
Being able to clean my entire house all in one shot (like I prefer) only happens if husband and kids are gone for days. And that only happens once a year at my house. However, I kind of loose it (just ask my husband) when my home is a mess. Now, kids make mess – I know. But I’m talking when it all just piles up and up and all I can see is hours and hours I don’t have of clean-up time building before my very eyes. To combat these feelings and avoid a panic attack, I choose a room a day to clean. I can do one room, and I add that to my time block. I spend 15-30 minutes max picking up and scrubbing if necessary. When I am consistently doing this each day, things don’t get that bad. Kids help pick up at night and I feel like I can breathe. If you need more suggestions in this area, I wrote a post about how I lock my kids toys up and I still rely on this method and love it. Read that post, HERE.
4. Schedule devoted time to kids.
I like to multi-task. My kids hate when I multi-task. They really love when they have my 100% attention. So I make sure that there are certain hours in a day (if possible) that I will do nothing but help my children. This goes on the time block and is usually right after school until dinner time. I try so very hard to ignore the phone and not sneak in something else because they aren’t looking. My kids are my world, but sometimes it is so hard to not let the world take all my attentions. When I am successful at this, these become my favorite hours of the day.
5. Schedule devoted time to my blog/business.
This one is a tough-y. I’ll answer a few emails here. Check on instagram there. Try to hide in my bathroom with the computer so my kids don’t think I’m working when I shouldn’t be – that kind of stuff. I am becoming very very passionate about my blog and when that passion is burning it is super hard to simmer it down and keep it in check. While I enjoy this whole blogging adventure so very much, I have to remind myself it is not the most important thing for me at this time. My family is. My calling as a wife and mother is. So I time block nap times and bed times as blog times. If it works out with my husband, I also have a few hours on Saturday as well. I have to try very hard to not let it take priority and I imagine there will be a time for more of it when my littles are not so little.
6. Weekends are for the love of my life.
Blogging is off limits after 3:00 on Friday – and it’s family time until Monday. My most favorite weekends are the ones I get to go on a date with my husband, Kevin. I don’t stay up late blogging, and we enjoy movies together, plan activities with our kids, work on house projects and just spend as much time as we can together before Monday comes. Sundays we do nothing but go to church and rest and relax together. It is heavenly. After weekends like that I am ready to tackle to world on Monday.
7. Order my groceries online and have them delivered to my house.
Seriously. Have you tried that?! I’ve always struggled with getting to the store between nap times, pick-up and drop-off times, and work times – it always seemed like such an inconvenience and I’ve despised grocery shopping for as long as I can remember. I found out the closest grocery store to our home (15 minutes away) uses an online system called “Rosie” and you can fill out an order and either pick it up all ready for you for a couple of bucks or I could have it hand delivered for about $10.00. I started by just picking it up at the store myself, but when I saw the savings of money I was experiencing on our grocery bills, I justified the 10 bucks for delivery. Now I don’t have to wonder when I’ll have time to get there, or battle 4 kids at the grocery store. My favorite people in the world bring my groceries right to my table. Literally. It is the best thing since sliced bread and if you can find a store that does it around you, I highly recommend it. I was saving big time because I could see my total as I added items and adjust accordingly. I also avoided all my impulse buys which I am really bad at. It is a complete win-win!
8. Time for myself.
Does anyone else find it so hard to allow time for yourself and not feel guilty about it? I hope it isn’t just me! Whenever I take those chances to go to lunch with girlfriends (sans kids), or even enjoy a convention or trip for a couple of days, I come back so refreshed and with so much more ability to see life as it is. I’ve come to realize how important these moments are and try to fit them in as much as I can without neglecting my family. I am happier and more fulfilled – and it reflects directly on how I treat my family and those around me.
9. Worship and Reflect
If I needed to number this list of mine, this one should probably go on top. I am a firm believer that if you put God first, everything else will fall into place. I won’t profess to be perfect at this. I try to read scripture daily but find it slips through the cracks occasionally. But what I do know and have witnessed time and time again in my life – when I pray often, read and ponder the word of God, and serve others – balance is attainable. Life is put into perspective. I feel peace. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormon), and living by the teachings and practices of this church, which I believe to be true, is the single greatest factor in my life for finding real peace and balance in a tumultuous world. I believe that in those moments when I feel like I am not enough, our Savior Jesus Christ, makes up for what I am lacking. I am so very grateful for his mercy and grace.
10. Let Things Go
I am really working on this one. I’ll share with you my good husbands pep talk.
“You don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to be everything. You are not perfect, and that is okay. Let it go.” Or something like that 😉
We really have to consider if perfect balance is even possible in this life. So I wore sweat pants all day – let it go. We had cereal for dinner – let it go. I didn’t post as much as I should have this week – let it go. I just ate half of our Halloween candy – let it go, and buy some more later. (My sincerest apologies if you have a certain overplayed Elsa song stuck in your head now).
Thanks for reading!
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