February’s focus is on providing you with different perspectives about life balance, with the idea that you’ll consider your own and perhaps find some new thinking to add to yours.
I am delighted to introduce to you my colleague and friend, Linda Samuels. We share a love of writing, photography and creativity. We’re both organizers who also coach. We’re in NAPO and ICD together. We have some fascinating conversations about change, habits, chaos, life changes, life balance and more – all issues affecting how organized we feel. And Linda interviewed me for her blog, the topic being fresh starts. I’d especially point you to her Pinterest boards for dramatic and colorful inspiration; she does beautiful work there.
Thoughts on life balance.
Linda, what does the phrase “life balance” say or mean to you?
Life balance is like a seesaw. It has its ups, downs and the occasional perfect midpoint. What makes us feel balanced? Is it having time to incorporate our passions along with the responsibilities we’ve accepted? Is it having harmony between family and work? Is it being present and appreciating the moments? Is it when all aspects of our lives seem to flow with one another? When we achieve that sense of balance, it seems to exist for just a period. A shift occurs and that balance disappears. We then seek out ways to find a new balanced state.
So then how do you know when it’s working?
We feel balanced, happy and energized when on a regular basis we engage in what’s most important to us. We are doing and being in a way that supports the best of who we are. “Important” might mean spending time with our children, exercising, getting enough sleep, or pursuing meaningful work. Are we doing those things? Or, are we only thinking and stressing about doing them. When balance is working, our needs and values are prioritized and evident in our choices and actions.
And when it’s not working?
When balance is off, it’s as if we are dragging a huge weight everywhere we go. Our tasks and interactions seem difficult. We might feel on edge, burdened, unhappy, or overly stressed. We find ourselves living in the land of should. Thoughts become cloudy and we can’t see what we want or need. We become so focused on everyone else’s priorities that we consistently place ourselves last. I’m not suggesting that we become selfish. Part of your balance may include nurturing. However, if we consistently ignore what’s essential to us, feeling balanced will be elusive.
What do you do to keep yourself on track for life balance?
At a young age, I was taught to think about and negotiate the life balance piece. Much of my learning came from the many conversations I had over the years and continue to have with my Mom. To feel more balanced, I do several things. I pay attention to the doing and the not doing. I think about what I want to focus my time and energy on for the next days, months, and year. These have included things like nurturing my relationships with family and friends, learning something new, trying things that scare me, volunteering, using my creativity, and writing more.
To evaluate how I’m doing, I check in daily or weekly. I also pay attention to my stress and energy levels, what I choose to say “yes” or “no” to, and if something is pulling me in another direction.
Sometimes when things get completely off track because of an unexpected life event like death, illness, nest emptying or filling, I desire more downtime than usual to rejuvenate. Instead of moving towards goals and accomplishing more projects or tasks, I need to just stop and not do. When I’m ready, I begin to invite in and pursue the people, places and things that are meaningful to me and essential to a fully lived, balanced life.
A big thank you, for your time, energy and perspectives, Linda.
Here’s more about Linda …
Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a compassionate, enthusiastic professional organizer and coach, founder of Oh, So Organized! (1993), author of The Other Side of Organized and blogger on organizing and life balance. She has been featured in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, Bottom Line Personal, Westchester Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and Enterpreneur.com. Connect with Linda on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blog, or website. Sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter with bonus tips at ohsoorganized.com.
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