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Finding my Balance

I’ve realized that I am chronically overscheduled, rushing between activities and not scheduling in enough personal time. I often fail to notice the simple pleasures in my daily life. As I reflect over the last eight weeks, my life feels like a blur. I feel like the walls are closing in around me from clutter. I am writing this now, in January, for a March magazine, and believe it or not, the same afternoon have a meeting to lock in a 2019 event date.

It is hard to slow down when you love the work you do. The question is, how do you build in opportunities throughout the day to relax, be still and enjoy the moment? I’m a scheduler, and I color code accordingly. Pink is personal and yellow is work. What’s nice about color coding is that at a glance, you can see if you are in or out of balance or if your week has too much going on. As you can see from the photo, I don’t have enough personal time blocked out throughout the day. I’m always trying to cram too many things into too little time.

I recently read an article in The Power of Mindfulness magazine that offered several tips on how to make your free time count. The two that resonated the most with me:

  • Schedule in happiness.
  • Allow time for idle thoughts.

Scheduling in happiness suggests listing the things that make you most happy, such as traveling, music, or good food. Then think about the people who make you the happiest and start scheduling them into your calendar.

Allowing time for idle thoughts is when you let your brain have clear space. Your brain is in neutral, it’s not sorting, sifting or solving problems. It is a time to be reflective and creative.

Riding my bike is probably when my brain is most idle. I’m alone, listening to music and enjoying nature. It typically takes about 8-10 miles before I get to that calm zen place where my mind is relaxed. The problem is I don’t do enough of it. Scheduling time for myself and learning to connect with my breath is my biggest challenge. I must slow down and adopt the less-is-more philosophy.

For me, it’s about learning to say, “No,” and pinpointing the things that are important to me so that I can give them my focus and attention as opposed to trying to please everyone. It’s about learning to make my free time count.

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