Not sure what is a priority? You think you know then something slips through to the keeper. I left home without brushing my hair. Wow how did that happen? Why am I concerned about some little comment made in the office rather that my health and well being? (And the state of my hair) Sometimes its easier to focus on something small when something really big is looming.
There’s a difference! Here’s a life-balance exercise for you: draw a large square and divide it into four sections.
The upper left-hand corner is labelled “Important and Urgent”. The upper right is “Important but Not Urgent”. The lower left is “Urgent but Not Important” and the lower right is “Not Important and Not Urgent”.
Now, write down what you do every day, and then decide which of your daily activities fall into which box. “Important and urgent” should always include time for yourself (self-care, self-love), family time, as well as work and whatever is very meaningful and on deadline. What you put in the other squares depends on your values. What’s meaningful and important to you, may not be meaningful or important to anyone else. Be true to your values! And be sure to put yourself first.
This exercise helps you prioritise and organise, and it helps you decide whether something fits into your life at all. Feel free to get rid of anything in your life that’s “not important and not urgent.”
Possibly the most difficult thing is understanding the difference between “important” and “urgent.” The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but can you continue on your way with a squeaky wheel, knowing that if you stop to grease it, you won’t have time to tend to the engine? As long as that wheel isn’t coming off, let it squeak until you’ve done what you have to do.
- Get out of the familiar rut. It’s a real eye-opener to realise that the things you do that are comfortable and familiar, are probably not getting you the best results. If that action were effective as opposed to efficient (meaning it’s become a habit) then you would be getting better results than you are. Habits are efficient, but are they effective? Unless you’re getting the results you want, they are not effective. Challenge yourself every day to do something that makes you uncomfortable. This will desensitise you to being uncomfortable and doing new things that get the results you want.
- Cat naps of just 10 minutes can energise you tremendously and so can walks. A brisk 15-minute walk around the neighbourhood will pull you away from your problems, get your blood circulating and make you feel good.
- Take care of yourself! Like flight attendants say, “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”
It’s OKAY to relax and do your own thing. In fact, it’s essential! Take some time every day to take care of yourself, walk, chill out, be in nature, play, meditate, sit on a park bench, pet the dog… whatever makes you happy and relaxed.
Life is a juggling act. Except that a lot of what you’re juggling is precious and the audience can be demanding. The superhero tries to do it all, but here’s the difference: a healthy superhero knows when to say “enough” and an unhealthy superhero doesn’t. I was an unhealthy superhero for many years! Pulled in too many directions, exhausted, frazzled and on the verge of a breakdown, I thought this was normal and it is amazing just how many others think the same!