On Monday I wrote about using the wheel of life tool to have a good look at where we currently put our energy and efforts and seek out balance in life. I selected some of my eight categories based on my core values and my family’s mission statement and then reflected on what other areas in my life have been operating on auto pilot for too long and needed to be approached with intentional planning this year. This led me to add finances and my health to my list. When I put in my chosen categories and honestly assessed where I am currently at it really was not a surprise to me. In the last five months blogging has taken up a major portion of my time along with my personal development (through a business course, setting up my business, learning all about blogging and business, writing, reading, self reflection).
My effort levels were so high that other areas of my life suffered. This was clear on the wheel of my life as my lowest scoring categories, receiving a two, were health & wellness, and fun & adventure. I have become a stressed out, unhealthy, stick in the mud. I am not being hard on myself, but honest. I have been to the gym twice in the last 6 weeks when I know it is critical for my mental health (is it a surprise the stress is getting to me – I need that outlet to burn it off). I have also chosen on numerous occasions to send the kids off to have fun with my husband or others to free up my time for the work I am doing.
Thankfully I have not missed any milestones or major adventures, but in 2012 we are planning to reconnect as a whole family and I do not want my children to instinctively look for me in my home office. Already in the last week or two as I have pulled back some from the technology I have been pleased to hear them calling to me in my office and I have been elsewhere – reading a book, hanging out in their sibling’s room or getting household jobs done. I realise now I can still be getting things done, but being at my desk sends the message “not now I am busy” while putting away their laundry or cooking a meal or sitting on the sofa says “I am sharing your space, we can chat and I am open to what you want to do today”.
Not too far behind with scores of three were family, home, connections / friends, and finances. As I said, I have spent far too much time on the computer (including smart phone and ipad) and too little time with my husband and children. In our mission statement we included the line “we will make time together every day to connect, talk, laugh, play and dream.” Pre-business that used to be my whole world and now it has been relegated to whatever time and energy I have left over. When I have spoken of self care I have said not to give yourself the leftovers and in this case I tipped the scales too far to focusing on me and giving them the leftovers. After more than 8 years as a stay at home parent I am not going to beat myself up for this – I equate it to a person who has been on a diet going off the diet via a binge. You have not indulged in so long that you go to the extreme. I had always taken care of myself, but honestly had not used my brain in this way in so long. It felt great to be thinking and writing and connecting. I might have gone on a blogging binge … and now have a metaphorical stomach ache.
More than anything for those categories I know I need to let go, focus on some fun and quality time with my family and some good-for-me friends (more on that later). I know that part of feeling open and relaxed comes with keeping on top of all the things I used to maintain for my own simplified home. Now that school has started for 2012 I am back on top of meal planning, we are decorating (started with the 8 year old’s bedroom), sorting out home jobs, continuing decluttering more and more.
I am looking forward to the next few weeks of the simplify your life challenge as next up are setting goals and priorities, creating a vision board (including some variations) and talking about happiness (with a special guest poster and giveaway). For me, clarifying my values and creating a mission statement helped me refocus and the wheel of life gave me a concrete evaluation of where I am right now. I am excited to set a few concrete goals for where I want to go next!
Finding balance is not about tackling all areas of your life with equal gusto all the time. I see it as travelling on a journey where you drive along happily, but notice every once in a while you have veered off course and need to recalculate and get back on track in order to arrive safely at your destination.
Where do you want to go in 2012 and what is your starting point?
Find your simple,