When you look back on your life when you have retired, on the closing stretch or with your last breaths, will you ask what you have done with your time?
What will be the measure of this life?
Your net worth? The vehicles you drove? The number of good meals and drinks you enjoyed? Your total number of facebook friends? Your twitter followers? Every movie you watched? The TV series you followed? The value of your watches and rings? The clothes you wore? Whatever else you may have collected? All the material things you wanted and needed, finally bought and eventually threw away?
Chances are you will no longer find value in any of these. Your thoughts will turn to that which had deeper and more enduring meaning to you.
Ironically, throughout the greater part of our lives, our thought, energy and time are consumed with many of the items on the dubious list above. We do this at the cost of what we value most.
We recognize this late in the day, when we have worked long hours or spent too much time online, and the kids are asleep . . . or grown up. We see it at times of crisis, when our lives are out of balance and we have neglected our health, our beliefs or our relationships.
How do we make time for what really counts in our lives? Is it possible to live a balanced life?
Here are three keys to balancing your life.
1. Take time to reflect. If we don’t make time to consider our priorities, we drift away from them. The demands of work, our current preoccupations or the crisis of the moment distract us from committing time to the other important areas of our life. Reflecting allows you to check your compass and bearings and redirect your direction.
2. Balance your week. Look at how you allocate time for the important areas of your life. Throughout the week, I think about the most important areas of my life, including my family, work, friends, emotional wellbeing and physical health.
What challenges do you have in each area? How can you best use your time?
There are times in our life when free time is scarce. We may have to work overtime, study for exams or juggle childcare with housekeeping. At any time in our lives, we have to recognize where we have the freedom of choice. Are you choosing to spend time where it is most needed and valued?
We tend to put off ‘til the weekend important things we ultimately fail to do. This might include clearing the clutter, taking out the trash, balancing the budget or spending more time with the people you love.
3. Balance each day. When we’re busy, we may not take the time to exercise, get enough sleep or eat proper meals, but these are crucial to your wellbeing. By scheduling them into your day, you won’t neglect them. These are the habits of health.
Maintaining a healthy balance in life doesn’t come naturally. It is a dynamic process that requires the daily intention to give priority to what matters most. By staying on course, you’ll find greater satisfaction with your journey through life.
At the end of the day, we’ll judge ourselves by how we spent our time.