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SALT LAKE CITY — Wish you could find a balance between life, work and family? You are not alone. Moms everywhere tell me they crave that balance too.
JaLesha Olson,a mother of three boys, describes the lack of balance as a feeling of guilt and being overwhelmed: “Whatever it is I have been neglecting or avoiding is always at the back of my mind. I start to feel inadequate, like I can’t do it all or get it all done.”
Often when we imagine a balanced life, we think everything will be equal and transitions from one activity to another will be smooth, as if we were a ballerina in a pink tutu performing a perfect pirouette: We spin around, balanced on the tip of our toes of a single foot. We stand tall and focused, nothing out of place — spinning perfectly.
Sometimes we approach balance as a tightrope walker, taking one small step after another, ever so careful to not tilt or twist.
The truth is, life balance isn’t like walking on a rope or rotating like a ballerina. Life balance flows in cycles of highs and lows, much more like a roller coaster. We have valleys in life where things seem more calm and schedules are organized. Then we have peaks in life where everything is crazy and we just hold on for the ride.
Surprisingly, a balanced life does not stem from an organized schedule (though an organized schedule does help). The foundation of a balanced life comes from your predetermined values and determination to live life according to those values.
If you seek for balance in your schedule alone, you will not find it.
At MOMentity, we begin the approach to time management with a good, hard look at our values. Psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck said, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
Here are a couple of easy tips for getting your balanced life in gear:
- Identify valuesThe first principle in finding balance in your life is to identify your values. This seems so simple, and even unneeded — so much so that many moms I work with would rather skip this step. However, you will never feel balance of any kind in your life if your values are askew. Ask yourself, what are the six things you value most?
- Match your activities to your valuesYour calendar activities should match your values. If you value family but never spend time with family, you’ll always feel out of balance. If you value education but don’t take time to learn new things yourself, you may feel unfulfilled or worry you waste time. When we spend time doing things not on our list of values, we are misusing our time. Do your calendar activities match your values?
When we remember our values as we plan our schedule and commit to activities, we can find a greater peace — even during the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. It is possible to find balance if we start looking in the right places.
Nicole Carpenter is the founder of www.MOMentity.com and the creator of Define Your Time eCourse. She is a communications consultant, writer and speaker. She and her husband are raising four children, 8 years and younger, including twin toddlers.*