I have very little margin in my day. Normally, I work hard to keep my calendar clear and my days uncluttered so I have lots of flexibility. But right now, I’m in flippin’ survival mode. I’m not asking for sympathy, because it’s nothing tragic happening. We are down to the wire on the house-building thing (less than 3 months!). Our house will go on the market next week (hello, Fake/Perfect House). And I’m also raising three humans (!!!). Mostly happy stuff. But it has eaten away at my margin.
Therefore, like many of you, I find myself making daily decisions about what to do and what to don’t. And, frankly, I don’t always decide well. Just yesterday, for example, I took precious minutes from my day to answer Fourteen 80s Trivia Questions. Granted, I answered all fourteen questions correctly, making me a Certified 80s Master. However, I already KNEW I was a Certified 80s Master. I could have skipped that quiz.
Balance is a journey, you guys.
Since I’ve done a lot of trial and error in the balance department, I thought I’d share three things I’ve learned to keep on the daily agenda, even when life gets crazy.
1. Morning Prayer/Bible Study Time: Just to be clear, I’m not saying, “Lookest thou at me. I am holy. I neither forsaketh my scripture reading nor my morning supplications. Day or night, night or day. Forever and ever, amen. Glory be to me.”
To the contrary, I am 100% convinced that I’m a complete and utter mess without Jesus. I just am. I’m impatient and irritable and anxious and selfish and mean. If you have encountered me in real life and I was anything but that, it is all because of Jesus. And I’m not even kidding—not even a little bit.
Of course, I’d much rather sleep in. Sleeping in sounds lovely. Or better yet, I could be super-efficient and use the pre-kid hour to get a jump on my many chores. But I’ve learned the first hour of the day is best spent getting my head on straight, with God. That means my face in the Word, casting my cares on Him, and listening to His voice for direction and insight.
2. Meal Planning: Just last week, I tested this one. I thought, “I’ve been to Costco. I’ve got frozen meat and frozen veggies and fifteen cans of black beans, as well as giant vats of chicken and vegetable broth. And also Pirate Booty. And 50 flour tortillas. We don’t need a meal plan this week. We can wing it. We’ll just go with the flow. You know, easy-breezy. We have tons of food. It will be fine.”
Except it totally wasn’t fine. There is nothing easy-breezy about standing at the freezer at 4 pm staring down a whole (frozen) chicken and giant bag of mixed (frozen) vegetables, wondering how I am going to cook it in the next two hours, while also reviewing vocab words with my second-grader and checking math homework for my seventh grader.
On Sunday evening, it feels inconvenient and unnecessary to sit down with a pen and paper and think through every dinner for the upcoming week. On Monday morning, the last thing I want to do after carpool is swing by Kroger in the freezing cold to stock my fridge with the ingredients I’ll need to actually make those dinners.
But I’ve learned that life goes more smoothly (not to mention, healthier and less expensive) when I know ahead of time what I’m making for dinner.
3. Exercise: When I’m pressed for time, my workout is the most logical thing to skip. I tell myself, “I’ll walk quickly through the parking lot.” (Because that’s exactly like doing P90X.) Or “I’ll go longer tomorrow.” Or “I’ll do it later” Or “It’s only one day.”
I’m not saying I never take a break. I do. I have planned rest days (1 or 2 per week) which are integral to a well-balanced workout routine. When time is tight, I can usually switch my rest days around to accommodate my schedule. So, I’m not talking about planned rest. I’m talking about skipping my workout altogether because, oh-my-gersh-I’m-so-busy.
Sure, I may save myself the 30-60 minutes on the front end, but I lose the benefits of the exercise in the long run. For me, exercise is the BEST way to alleviate anxiety and depression—which, ironically, are the very things I’m trying to avoid by SKIPPING the workout and allowing myself extra time.
I have never regretted taking the time to exercise. But I have always regretted skipping it.
It has taken me years to come to terms with this list. Right up until last week, I was still negotiating the necessity of some of these.
I give up.
For the sake of everyday balance, I herby declare that I need these habits in my life,
even when especially when I’m busy.
I’m convinced, I am better equipped to handle whatever life throws at me–be it raising humans, or making the house look like these humans do not actually live here on a moment’s notice, in order to show it to potential buyers. Investing my time here always pays off.
Q4U: Do you have things you must do daily to stay balanced? Are they different than mine? I’d love your thoughts.