Yup, it's another "finding balance" post. Because, like I've mentioned before, finding balance is a daily thing. And I'm trying something new that seems to be working well that I wanted to share.
Most of us have some kind of routine: wake up, feed the kids, eat breakfast, go to work, clean the house, make dinner, go to bed...any number of things come and go in our days, and we usually live in a kind of pattern that may or may not help us get those things done. And when all is said and done, it doesn't often leave a lot of time for extras. We try to squeeze in writing time and blogging and dishes and family activities, and after a while, it's exhausting juggling all those balls. When we do get a bit of extra time, we sometimes don't even know what to do with it, and waste that precious time.
I was feeling all that just last week, so I decided to try something I've tried before, but to change it up a bit. I was going to go beyond a jumbled routine, and make a schedule. And I was going to KEEP that schedule. Here are a few tips if you think this is something that might help you.
1. Base your schedule on your current routine.
If you really want to make that schedule a part of your life, you don't want to throw everything out of wack. Do you usually wake up at 6:30 am to exercise? Excellent. Pull up that Excel sheet and plop down exercise at 6:30. My schedule basically follows my current routine, but now, it has an order. Where I used to just do the dishes whenever I had a spare moment, I now actually have a scheduled time for housework. By consolidating and scheduling my "spare moments," I now actually have time to do the things I crammed into those moments.
2. Leave yourself reminders.
The hardest part of a new schedule is remembering what the schedule IS. For me, I took a screenshot of the Excel sheet where my schedule was, edited it as a picture, and set it as my desktop background. That way, I can refer to it whenever I need to. I also set alarms on my phone to remind me what I'm supposed to be doing. That way, if I'm cheating and wasting time on the internet, my phone will ding to remind me it's time to go play with my son or make dinner. Is it sort of pathetic that I get caught up in the internet that easily?
3. Be flexible.
Don't feel guilty when you don't keep the schedule perfectly! It shouldn't be a dictator of your life. Sometimes, things will come up, or it'll take longer to eat lunch, or my son wants to go to the park instead of watching a movie while I work. Sounds good! Be flexible with the schedule. When life does what life does and things get a little crazy for a day, that's okay. You can try again tomorrow.
It's really amazing how much such a simple thing has helped me find the time I need for everything. In just a few days, my house is cleaner, my son is having more fun, my work is getting done, I'm spending more time with my hubby, and I have more time for writing. My internet time is productive rather than a waste of time. Even with the expected schedule interruptions, I feel happier and more capable.
So, my friends, how do you schedule your time? What is your routine, and how do you find time to do the things you both need and want to do? What tips can you share that help you balance your life?