"My craft room table has been piled with stuff for weeks. I never seem to have the time to put anything away. The entire house is always pretty disorganized, actually. I feel like I need to figure out how to have work - family - "me time" balance, but it doesn't seem possible to achieve. Any thoughts?"
From my own experience, I think that work, family, me-time balance may seem hard to achieve for several reasons, such as:
- Unrealistically high expectations
- Trying to do too much/feeling pulled in many directions
- Lack of clarity on what this balance could look like for you
- Putting everyone else’s needs before your own
- Not knowing what’s most important to you
- Spending time on things that are not meaningful (such as a job you don’ enjoy) which leads to frustration and exhaustion
I think work/life balance looks different for each person. What feels balanced to me may not seem balanced to you. So first of all, I think it’s important to let go of any concept of what it ‘should’ look like and identify what would feel good and balanced to YOU.
The disorganization you’re experiencing in your home is a reflection of your own inner lack of clarity. I know because, as I shared in the HS Professionals group, I struggled for years with a messy desk. Whenever I would clear it, soon afterwards the piles would begin to form again. Now my desk has been ‘pile-free’ for 5 months – the longest amount of time ever. What changed?
Well, it wasn’t that I suddenly developed new organizational skills. What I know is that it is the result of my continual inner work, and me becoming clearer and clearer on what’s most important to me, what I want to put my energy into and what I don’t. My desk before was the result of lack of clarity around my work, it is now a reflection of my renewed clarity around my work.
So, to break it down into some manageable steps – I think when you focus on these things, the clutter and disorganization starts to disappear, and you begin to feel a greater sense of work/life balance:
- Know what is most important to you – what energizes you, what drains you, what do you enjoy spending time doing the most? What are you putting your energy into that you don’t enjoy? Getting clear on this makes it easier to say no to the things that will drain your energy.
- Release and make room – start releasing things that don’t feel good to you to make room for things to do feel good to you.
- Make your well-being your priority – this is a big one, but it starts with recognizing what expectations you have for yourself, being kinder to yourself, scheduling time for things that you enjoy and not letting anything get in the way of that.
- Learn to say no and set boundaries – I know this is sometimes easier said than done, but you can never have any sense of balance in your life when you are pulled into other people’s agendas.
- Release toxic people – if you can’t release them, then at least spend less time around them and don’t give them any energy to feed their negativity.
- Set your own definition – the idea of life balance is different for everyone. Basically, I think it means that you’re spending time doing the things that are most important to you, you feel good and you don’t feel you ‘should’ be doing something else or that you’re letting people down. Once you eliminate what doesn’t feel good, and focus on what does feel good, you start to feel a greater sense of balance, because you’re putting your energy into things that you want to.
As you can see, this is an ongoing process, not something you’ll achieve overnight, but as you focus on these things you’ll notice things start to improve. You can use your environment to help you if you tackle any disorganization with these things in mind. If it feels overwhelming, then you can make it more manageable by doing things like:
- Take 2 containers – one for things to throw away, the other for things to donate and every day add just one thing to a container. Commit to just one thing each day and it will soon make a difference.
- Start with one small area (like a drawer or a cabinet, or your desk) and clear that. Once that’s accomplished you can move onto another small area another day, again, you’ll soon start to see progress.
- Recognize that it’s not just about organizing things. As you are clearing things in your environment, you are clearing on an inner level as well and vice versa. If you don’t do the inner work, then no matter how well you organize, things will become disorganized again eventually.
I could talk a lot more about this, and I’ve tried to keep it as short as I can while still giving you information you can use.
Action Step: Identify what’s most important to you (for example, family, your job, your health and well-being). Now think about how you spend your time and energy each day right now. How much of your energy is going into the things that are most important to you? What needs to change?
Let this affirmation support you on your journey:
Every day, as I release the people and things that do not contribute to my highest good and well-being, my life becomes more balanced and joyful.