Millions of people each day are trying to keep up with the pace of life and trying desperately to squeeze in pleasurable “down” time – whether that means quality time with family and friends or simple alone time.
It’s difficult enough trying to manage our time with working long hours, running various errands, and carpooling the kids all over, but now we have to factor in time for unlimited texting, countless emails and endless voicemails. It appears no matter where we turn, something is competing for our time and leaving our personal time on the back burner.
Our new technology that has promised to make our lives easier now seems to take more of our time in the most unexpected ways, which can create not only learning
curve challenges but built-in distractions.
For example, have you ever noticed how you can go to great lengths to map out your day the night before, and then upon rising the following morning, with all good intentions mind you, you open up your phone or computer, and then bam, you read a text or email and your whole day can get derailed.
When did we begin to allow our inbox to dictate the course of our day and technology to govern our schedule? I am not advocating that we toss our laptops, BlackBerry’s and phones aside, they certainly are tools that can enhance our lives when used constructively. However, there is this aspect of “addict” ability instead of predictability that seems to seep in every now and then, creating an illusion on what the tool’s real purpose is.
I mean, the idea is that they are supposed to help us, isn’t it?
So how do we overcome these obstacles and prevent them from becoming intrusions in our lives?
I think in order to work towards a balanced life, we first must figure out where we are spending our time, and by doing so, we will be able to see clearly where we have been defining our priorities. Once we begin to look at where our time goes, we will get a new perspective on making the necessary changes for a more balanced life.
Make a list of all the activities you do during the course of a day and then write next to each one the amount of time you spend on each task.
From the amount of hours you calculated from your time list, prioritize them according to the most time you spend on each, putting the most hours spent first.
Now ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I happy with the way I am spending my time?
- Are my priorities in alignment with the way I want to spend my time?
- Does my life look balanced?
Most people find they spend anywhere from 50-70 percent of their time on their work and the remaining time is spent on family activities and chores.
I am curious about something – did you include the time you spend checking your emails, texting and talking on the phone or did you factor that time in with everything else?
Now that you know where you are spending most of your time, you are ready to take the action to change the course of your busy life.
For example, if you are looking for more peace and quiet, honor that request by giving yourself permission to have “me time.”
Whether you choose to ignore your emails for a bit, shut your phone off for a while, take a walk, or simply read, creating this new priority for yourself will help to ensure your peace of mind.
When with family and friends, try to be present without distractions. If you are not ready to leave your phone aside, then try silencing it, or re-programming it for a
“special” ring for urgent matters only. This will help wean the “addict” ability factor.
Finding strategies and solutions to compliment our lifestyle, not complicate it, is what we are seeking. We are not after perfection here, but we are seeking a fine balance. Sometimes subtle changes can be the most powerful.