How do I balance all the things I’m doing together?
This singular question is perhaps one of the most I’ve been asked recently. I’m not at all surprised because we live in a time when much motion is often mistaken for progress; where busyness is equated to effectiveness. So many times, we have people juggling so many responsibilities. We have made a myth out of doing many things at once and now, many people can’t seem to balance it all.
So, let’s be honest – balance is not about finding a way to do many things together. Instead, true balance is knowing when to prioritise and giving each aspect of your life the time it deserves.
The Myth of Multitasking
Proponents of multitasking claim you can do so much at once if only you will tap into some inherent human capacity for more. Perhaps that may be true. However, research shows it’s a recipe for disaster.
Our brains are not designed to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Instead, they switch back and forth between them, losing focus and efficiency in the process.
Instead of multitasking, true balance calls for prioritisation.
Balance Begins with Prioritisation
Balance begins with understanding your priorities. It’s about realising that certain aspects of life deserve more attention at certain times. When there’s a school deadline, your studies should take the front seat (all things being equal). When your family needs you, they become the priority.
It won’t matter what position you hold. If you cannot prioritise, you will have failed before ever starting. But how do you prioritise your tasks? Here are some steps you can take:
Start by figuring out what truly matters to you. Family, career, health, hobbies – list them out. These are your core values, the principles that guide your decisions and behaviour. They are the things that you stand for and believe in.
Next, take a close look at your current obligations. Are you over-committed? Can you delegate or let go of some responsibilities? You can’t do everything, so you should focus on what is urgent and meaningful.
Then, create a priority list and rank them based on their current importance. This will help you align your actions with your intentions. You can use the SMART criteria to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. They will help you turn your vision into action.
Finally, allocate time wisely for each task. Understand that the time you give to each area will vary depending on the situation. Flexibility is key. You can use a calendar or a planner to schedule your time and avoid interruptions and distractions.
The Power of Saying No
Saying no is perhaps the hardest part of finding balance. We fear missing out or disappointing others, but saying no protects your time and energy for your priorities.
Saying no is not selfish or rude; it’s respectful and honest. Recently, someone said No to me after volunteering to be part of my team. I was sad to see her go but happy that she understood the season and what needed to be focused on. (She even inspired this post).
Saying No shows that you value yourself and your goals. It also shows that you value others and their time.
Here are some tips on how to say no effectively:
- Assess requests carefully before agreeing to them. Evaluate if they align with your priorities and goals. If not, politely decline.
- Communicate your boundaries clearly and assertively. Let others know your priorities and expectations. Don’t make excuses or apologise for saying no.
- Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to commitments. Choose fewer but more meaningful activities that align with your values and goals. Dive deep for more satisfying results.
Balance by prioritising
Truly, balance yields great results, but only when you do it right. Remember, it’s not about doing everything at once; it’s about knowing when and where to prioritise. Embrace the power of balance, and enjoy the fulfilment and satisfaction that comes with being at the right place at the right time.