Would you agree that one of the most unsettling feelings in life is feeling unbalanced? I strive to find balance in my life but with so many buckets it can be difficult to balance everything without some buckets tipping over and some buckets being left seemingly empty. Everyone’s “buckets” look different but, in general, I think we all juggle some or most of these: family, friends, significant others, ourselves, career, side-hustles, eating well, exercising, traveling, hobbies, faith, and so on.
I’ve realized that it is truly impossible to balance all my buckets at once, so I’ve come up with a few strategies to make sure no one bucket goes too long without attention. Depending on my circumstances or the day, week, month, or time of year, some buckets naturally get more attention, which is okay! I absolutely try to avoid being “busy” as an excuse for a bucket to get ignored though so, in today’s post, I’m sharing how to find balance when you’re busy. I hope this post resonates with y’all!
The Struggle to Find Balance with a Busy Schedule
The trouble with finding balance is that it is such a swinging pendulum. That is, one day, one week, or one month, I may feel like I’m killing it with my relationships with others but not giving myself what I personally need or I will go through phases where I feel completely on top of it with work but will then realize that I haven’t done well at reaching out to or keeping up with my family and friends (and you know how important I think it is to make time for friends!).
As I mentioned above, some of my buckets will be super full and others will be empty or near empty. While it feels great to have full buckets, it feels very defeating to have empty buckets. Therefore, I will end the day, week, or month feeling stressed, down on myself, or UNbalanced. It is pretty darn rare that all my buckets are full without one/a few tipping over or being empty. So, how do I combat this?
How to Find Balance When you’re Busy
My saving grace with finding balance is to think about balance on a spectrum and to allow for different chunks of time (i.e. parts of my day, days, weeks, seasons) to serve different buckets… and to be okay with that! Multitasking is great, but, in my experience, it can actually make finding balance more difficult. So, I’ve stopped attempting to keep each bucket equally filled at all times because the inevitable happens and they become very unequal, unorganized, and unthoughtful.
I’ve learned to find balance by knowing and accepting that my buckets won’t all be the same amount of full all the time but, by doing this, I’m ensuring that no buckets get completely ignored or put on the back burner for too long. This is what makes me feel most on top of my life and on top of finding balance with my busy schedule. Since I don’t believe we can ever really achieve 100% balance while juggling so many responsibilities, my #1 piece of advice is to determine what makes you feel balanced and to decide how you can let go of unnecessary things in life.
Tips to Find Balance with a Busy Schedule
Be Realistic with your Time to Avoid Over-Scheduling
Wow, if I had to rank these tips in order of difficulty for me, this would be the single hardest for me to achieve. Anyone who knows me knows that time management is something I have to work on all the time. I honestly can’t explain it sometimes… my internal clock just doesn’t quite understand how long it takes me to do something! I’m a chronic over scheduler, which causes me to look at my to-do lists at the end of each day and truly wonder why I thought I could get as much done in a day as I thought I could.
As you might be thinking, this majorly causes my buckets to be full and empty, instead of teetering somewhere more in the middle. If you’re like me, then I highly suggest practicing saying no to things to avoid over-scheduling (I do this SO much more now than I did a year ago and it’s been a game changer for me!) and practice tweaking your daily to-do lists to find the sweet spots for what is accomplishable in a day. Both of these things will help increase your awareness of time and help you avoid over-scheduling!
Create Daily/Weekly To-Do Lists to Plan Ahead
I’m in love with Google Calendar as my overarching planning tool but I keep my buckets balanced on a daily and weekly basis by creating individual to-do lists to help me plan ahead. Planning ahead is key because it stops me from having ignored buckets! I buy cute little notebooks and use my Google Calendar to physically write down daily to-do lists the night before my day starts. There is something so satisfactory about crossing items off a to-do list. I put everything I do in a day that takes time on these lists. If I’m working out and then showering after, I add “shower” to my list because the whole process of showering and doing my hair afterward takes 45 minutes – an hour. It would be silly for me not to factor that time commitment in.
A new to-do list strategy I’m trying is to also write down one weekly to-do list to go along with my daily lists. These weekly to-do lists include bigger picture/ongoing projects and tasks that I want to accomplish in a week’s time, opposed to a day’s time. I will distribute these items in throughout the week so they end up segmented on my daily to-do lists. This way, I can chip away at them throughout the week in small increments and cross these projects off sometime by mid week or the end of week. This has been instrumental in keeping balance because I found that my daily to-do lists would sway toward one thing like work or self-care multiple days in a row without me even noticing… aka full and empty buckets!
Let Go of Guilt
Yes to this! This isn’t a simple tip and one that will probably be an ongoing thing for me for forever. If your buckets get out of wack and you feel super unbalanced, let go of the guilt you might feel for letting that happen. Start from that moment to rebalance everything. Life goes on, I promise! 🙂
Evidently, you will have to make sacrifices to create balance. This is completely natural! Pick the things in your life that you can live without. For example, if you’re working on your health, then an easy decision to make is to sacrifice the girls night out to drinks with your friends in favor of going to the weekend group girls workout class or hike instead. Making sacrifices with your time will help open up your schedule to balance and will bring you closer to achieving what you want each day/week/month.
Do Something for YOU Each Day
I honestly cannot emphasize enough how important it is to do something for yourself each day! It will perhaps make the single biggest difference in how you feel at the end of the day. Doing something for yourself can look like so many different things so you can make it worthwhile and rewarding without it feeling self-indulgent. An easy obvious one is to exercise. I find that exercise is the easiest thing to skip in the name of being “busy.” Make a sacrifice (see previous tip) on sleep or something else to get it done.
My other ideas for doing something for yourself each day include going for a walk (fresh air is HUGE!), making a new recipe for dinner, calling a friend (this will make you feel happy and connected to your friend and show your friend you care!), reading a book (it’s so much more stimulating than sitting on social media!), or researching for a trip.
Here it is, the inevitable tip to delegate! Our culture puts so much praise on women who get it all done (the old “I don’t know how she does it!” adage). Honestly, I cringe when I read the ever popular quote “you have as many hours in a day as Beyonce.” Yes, Beyonce is amazing and clearly works incredibly hard but we really have no idea what her regular days look like.
I think the quote kind of devalues all the more “average” or “regular” hard work that women who aren’t Beyonce do on a day-to-day basis and it puts an unnatural pressure on us to… be Beyonce? I really don’t get it! Instead of putting your value and self-worth in your ability to “do it all” or be Beyonce, recognize that there is value and power in delegating. Delegating will allow you to do fewer things better instead of more things halfway.
There are also so many things that you can delegate like yard work (get a gardener), cleaning the house (have a monthly house cleaner come), grocery shopping (use a delivery system), travel plans (use an advisor like my sister!) etc. These things do cost money but if you put the time you’d be spending on these things into your job/business (especially if you’re self-employed) then I bet you’ll see the money back. P.S. Beyonce for sure delates!
Do End-of-Week Self-Checks on your Balancing Act
In order to really find balance, you have to do a good bit of self-checking. I like to do an end-of-week self-check (my weekly to-do lists come in handy here!) to assess how the week went, what I can do differently next week. And if my buckets are tipping/empty or ebbing and flowing in a middle range. I like this to happen on Fridays but sometimes this job ends up happening on Mondays. I feel more prepared for the coming week when I do this on Fridays but I’ve also learned to let go of the guilt (!!!) and just keep on moving if I don’t get to it until a Monday at the start of a new week.
All about my Outfit
Okay, the fun part! I wore this outfit the other week to one of my best friend’s engagement parties in Santa Monica (it might look familiar from my Instagram Story) and I snapped a few pictures in it on the way. This dress is going to be on heavy rotation this summer as it is so flowy and comfortable. I always reach for flowy silhouettes when it’s hot outside. I think the color blocked floral pattern of the dress is adorable too! It is by a wonderful feminine brand called Petersyn but I think the print looks like it could be from a high-end designer like Brock Collection. I hope you like it! xx
Get my look:
Photography by Edwin Eversole