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I used to think that balance only existed for other people, the ones whose days seemed to have more than the standard 24 hours and no matter what made it to their yoga class - on a Monday!
For years I was wrapped up in thinking that I must be doing something wrong. I bounced from one time management system to another in the hope of finding the elusive balance that my soul craved. After spending years looking for an external system to solve the problem I learnt that of course the answer lay within me - doesn't it always!?
So I started using a few small daily habits and over time my thinking slowly changed; I learnt to find balance even on those days when nothing goes to plan. Here's what I use, they're really simple but when you do them consistently, they work wonders...
If you've been juggling the idea of multi-tasking for as many years as I did then it might come as a surprise to learn that it isn't the best way to approach your time. Start focusing on one task at a time and you'll love the results - less overwhelm, a clearer mind and still all of the important things achieved. Like me, you'll probably be up against years of multi tasking programming and so take it easy on yourself while you're getting started - baby steps are always my preferred method to making any kind of change.
Get started: Find something on your list that must be done today, remove all distractions like your phone and focus 100% on getting it done. It sounds simple, but you will get tempted to give in to distraction - and you'll look for a way to justify it too! The key is to stay aware of your thoughts like an observer and put them back on course when they try to stray. Here's a few more tips to help you make single tasking your new habit.
Concentrating on your breath, even for a short time has the most calming effect. I love how simple this technique is and that it can be done anywhere - I practise deep breathing at my desk, while waiting in a queue and even while the kettle boils! Even 3 deep breaths is enough to ground you in the present moment and restore a little balance - breathe in slowly, filling your lungs and stomach, hold for a few seconds and release slowly.
Get started: Today, find a few natural pauses throughout your day, maybe on your commute, while you're making a drink or even during a bathroom break! Practise taking 3 deep breaths and exhaling slowly to ground yourself in that moment and restore balance to your day.
If just looking at your to do list fills you with feelings of overwhelm and dread then it's going to be hard to find balance. So, lets spend 5 minutes looking down that list - it's likely that not all those tasks are equal and by prioritising them we'll feel a much better sense of control. First, mark anything that's urgent, and I mean really urgent like they'll be serious consequences if it's not done today; make those the things that your tackle first. After that look for the important things, they're the things that you’d like to get done today but they're not absolutely essential - pick 3 of them and mark those as the next tasks on your list. Now, you've identified your urgent tasks and 3 important ones - anything left on the list can happily wait.
Get started: Grab that list - or if those tasks are all still swimming around in your head then write it all down and follow the steps above to find your most urgent and important tasks.
Do you put yourself at the bottom of the list? Maybe you don't put yourself on the list at all! It's common for us not to prioritise ourselves, but that has to stop. Nourishing ourselves on a spiritual and physical level is essential for our wellbeing - it helps us to bring our best selves to the surface which helps us to care for and inspire everyone around us.
Get started: What's the one thing that you've been meaning to do for yourself? Do you crave more time for meditation, want to eat healthier, start journaling or practise yoga? Whatever it is, make 5 minutes (we can all find 5 minutes) to make a start. Take a look at my 12 Self Care Tips for the Mind Body & Soul.
However busy your day looks, there's always a few windows of opportunity to find pause; to recharge and reconnect. The feeling of balance that those small moments give us is sacred and essential to our physical and mental wellbeing. Start looking for those moments in your day and before you know it you'll be seeing them everywhere.
How do you find balance on your busiest day?
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.