Like me, I’m sure most of you are wearing many hats in this game of life. We are constantly on the go, with so many responsibilities to juggle that you may feel like something is always lacking. Well I can tell you first hand that it is definitely hard to balance everything and feel like your not failing. There’s no one formula to finding the right balance in life but here are a few tips that have worked for me in achieving stability between work, play and family.
1)Automate Your Bills and Use Planning Apps
One way in which I have really got things balanced is with automating my bills and using certain planning apps to help alleviate stress and save time. For so long I was haunted by my mothers paranoia about people hacking into my accounts which prevented me from doing a lot on the internet. But the truth is, people can get access to these things regardless. That being said, now all my bills are automated, so I don’t have to remember when something is due (this has saved me so many late fees). You can even talk to your credit card companies to change the due dates of your cycles so that they align with your pay cycle. (I use the app Everydollar in conjuction to stay on budget). This doesn’t just work with bills. You can also automate home cleanings, dental or medical appointments, and even shopping. If you have Amazon you can simply press a button to order necessities like soap, detergent, cleaning products or toothpaste whenever you’re running low. This can save you so much time, not to mention gas for things that you use everyday; leaving your valuable time for more important errands or just to take care of yourself.
There are also some other apps I’ve been wanting to try that help keep you on task. Timeneye ( for smart time management) and Focus Booster (helps you stay on task) , Slice (helps track all of your online shopping) and Cozi Family Organizer (which helps manage family appointments and create more family time). Let me know if you’ve tried any of these or any others you would recommend.
2) Get Your Groceries Delivered:
Honey when I tell you this is a God-send, I don’t know why I didn’t try this earlier. I always liked the idea of going to the market to choose my own food, but after going to 3 different markets for my respective choices, dragging the kids along with me or having to go after work and still cook a wholesome meal; it just wasn’t cutting it. Some don’t realize how much time it takes to actually plan, shop and prepare food. This is such an important aspect of our lives, and with the hustle and bustle of everyday life it has taken a back seat. A lot of us resort to eating out or using Uber Eats which are not the most cost efficient or healthy options. This affects your balance because you are not eating or preparing balanced meals for yourself or your family. When you don’t eat well, your body is off balance , which can affect how productive you are at work and/or home.
I have recently started using Walmart grocery and Amazon Fresh. With Walmart you shop and pay for your items online then choose a pick up time where someone comes right out to your car and puts the groceries into your trunk. You can also save a favorites list if you purchase similar items each shopping trip. With Amazon (I have Prime) so as long as I spend $30 in groceries, which is a drop in the bucket there; I have delivery to my door in 2 hours for free. My family used to do all of this shopping on Sundays after church, definitely not making it a day of rest. It was actually very draining. Now we can swing in the Walmart parking lot after service for store to car service. Then we head right home to relax or do things around the house, while waiting on my delivery from Wholefoods (amazonfresh). Now there are so many apps and services you can use like Hellofresh, Instacart( which delivers from several grocery stores); these are just my faves. Drop a comment below if you have suggestions of others.
3.) It’s Okay to Put one of Your Many Hats Up on the Shelf:
In todays world, it seems we have a lot more responsibilities than we did before. This list can include working full-time, working part time, school, schoolwork, being a mom, being a dad, being both mom and dad, sister, brother, caretaker, entrepreneur, after school activities, ministry events, bible study, networking events, working out, pta meetings, spending time with family and friends, etc. etc. etc. This list looks different for everyone and can really get extensive. For my family and I our list was getting way too long.
Just a few months ago, Sterling and I both worked full time. He is a full time minister; preaching on occasion and co-teaching bible study (also being present for youth events as one of the youth leaders) We also have a silk-screening business (Tee Academy) designing custom and retail designs, which takes up a lot of time, as Sterling does all of the designs and printing himself. i act as creative director overseeing advertising and design. I sang on a group in our church and was also planning events on the side. Now these were all positive things we were doing, but our lifestyle was always teetering like a see-saw. One part was always soaring to the top and being successful while another was carrying too much weight and plummeting to the bottom. This really took a toll on our family, even our marriage. Now I don’t believe life is ever fully balanced but we wanted to strive to get as close to the midpoint as possible. This meant taking one of those hats off and learning to say no.
Its okay to not be good at a lot of things simultaneously. It is also okay to choose yourself first. A lot of times we feel obligated because of our relationships with people, and feel like we can’t say no. Remember, you can’t be a help to other people or be efficient when you don’t allow yourself time to recharge mentally and physically. Just like we do a season switch for our wardrobes, it’s okay to do the same with life responsibilities. Find the thing that you can put away for a season; it doesn’t mean you have to stop forever or you can’t pick it back up later.
For me this was a heavy but rightful decision. I decided to leave my full time job to focus on being a mom. For those who’ve ever worked in retail, it can be demanding at times with unpredictable and long hours. I was not able to go to church regularly, could not commit to certain days for rehearsals, and I felt like I missed a lot over the years spending time with my family for events and holidays. I also felt like a bad mom at times not seeing my kids as much as I desired. Now this is not to say that working in retail is bad, I enjoyed many aspects of it; working in the field for 20 years. Im just saying for me personally, God allowed me a chance to get my life in order. I have been able to spend quality time with my family, work on some projects for myself, be more involved with Jaydon’s school activities and actually prove to Lexington that I was her mom and not grandmom (lol). I was also able to help more with the family business and now Sterling is not being spread so thin. We also put some systems in place to relinquish some responsibility within the business. Now we can delegate some tasks to others creating more time for other things. Now financial responsibilities and different circumstances may not grant you that choice, but think about that thing you may be able to put on the shelf to allow you time to refocus and refuel.
4) Plan Ahead and Write Things Down
Now this may seem cliche or like a no brainer, but there are still people roaming around town with no clue of what they have to do; I was one of them. For so many years, I was guilty of doing things at the last minute. Whether it was shopping for an event or planning tonight’s dinner. I would start the new year off “right” purchasing a cute fashionable planner thinking I was ready to slay my days, and never use it. Well this year I purchased a planner and actually forced myself to use it. Now I’m old school so I like to write things down; but if this doesn’t work for you, your phone definitely has plenty of features to keep you organized. Try to write every commitment/appointment in that you know you have to do; in pencil. This makes it easy to make any changes. I write everything down ,even my meals for the week. This allows me to not scramble to decide on a meal and makes it easy to use my grocery apps to be prepared for the week. Relying on your mind these days to remember everything is just not smart in setting yourself up for success.
5)Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
This is important because many of us are too prideful to admit when something’s wrong. If you feel like your spiraling out of control, do yourself a favor and seek help. Now this can mean professional or unprofessional help. You may know someone who has a similar lifestyle to yours; ask them what things they do to stay balanced. There are also professionals out there to seek counsel from. This can be counselors, financial planners, home organizers, etc. A person doesn’t grow on their own and although many see it as a sign of weakness; asking for help is a sign of strength.. I recently got a financial planner who introduced me to many ways to make my life even more balanced. Seeking help doesn’t mean your failing, it’s just about finding ways to improve.
6)Put God First
Now this seems odd at the end of the post but I wanted this to be the most important thing you remember, if any. I was out of order for so many years and once I put these things into perspective, my life has been so much more balanced and productive. The top three priorities as set up in Genesis 1:26-28 are……..
1)GOD 2)FAMILY 3) WORK
Your first priority is your relationship with God. When you talk to him he will give you instruction on how to live your life, thus creating balance because you will know what he wants you to do. He doesn’t put more on you than you can bear, so a lot of our stress and imbalance comes from our own decisions operating outside of his will.
Your second priority is family. This falls next in line and is important. Be careful not to put work or other things above your family. Remember, you don’t have to be married or have kids to be a part of a family. Sterling and I dealt with this firsthand choosing work over family responsibilities and each other. Once we realized the toll it took, we got back in the face of God and rearranged our priorities to create more balance.
Lastly is work. A lot of times we put this first, creating imbalance in our lives. Work for jobs and church work is required by God, but should be in the right priority.
“He who deals with a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes one rich” -Proverbs 10:4
If you align yourself with this order in your life, I promise you will feel and actively be more balanced! And this is one of my favorite scriptures which I feel puts this all in perspective..
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.”- Luke 12:31
Now none of these tips are foolproof and I am no expert. These are just strategies I have implemented that have been working; and are still a work in progress. I hope this helps you in creating a more balanced, healthy and whole life for you and your family!