Now that it’s April, it’s time for a recheck: Have you given up on perfect-life resolutions, returning to “normal”? Is this the normal you envisioned in January? “Life balance” conjures up images of Superwoman or Superman easily balancing family, work, home, friends, faith and money.
Balancing is not easy, but it is possible. Life balance does not happen just because you imagine a better life. It takes serious awareness of who and what you want to prioritize. You don’t have to readdress every facet of life, just those things that consume too much of your time and/or money.
We all have 168 hours each week. If we subtract 56 hours for sleep, there are 112 hours remaining. There are a lot of places to spend that kind of time: getting ready for each day, commuting to and accomplishing needed work, meal preparation and enjoyment, quality family time, household cleaning and management, spending time with the Lord in prayer or devotions, spending time with friends and family, entertainment and much-needed “do-nothing” time.
If you work a company-required 40-hour week, or that is what’s needed to keep the budget in line, then there’s not much compromise unless you are able to work from home part of the week. You could swap commuting time for something else. Or, is there a rideshare program to take part in, allowing you to read a book or catch up on personal email? Perhaps you could research healthy recipes that would fit into a new family eating plan.
What do you want to spend more time doing? What was the first thing that came to mind? Perhaps you would like to spend more quality time with the kids; something more fulfilling than dinner, homework, bath and bed. This can be tricky, because homework can consume a lot of time. I have heard of special Friday night family dates. They might be inexpensive stay-at-home events that revolve around homemade pizzas and games. This activity is a great reason to put away cellphones and turn off TVs.
No matter what you choose, look carefully at your daily calendars to find those spots not effectively used. Get creative; think outside the box.
Keep making progress!
By Lynne Saunders, contributing writer and director of Papa’s Pantry.