If there is one commodity which exists in absolute scarcity for every single human being ever born in this world, it is time. Life, that most cherished fruit, is nothing but an aggregate of time. What makes it worse is that whether you wish to spend it or not, time goes by. It doesn’t matter what you were doing, and whether it was worthy of the time lost or not. It also doesn’t matter how rich or famous you are. With such a scarcity, it makes sense to find what you want to do with your life. Do not leavethat for too late....
So Much to do; So Little Time
A life too busy is like being a small child lost in a big fair!
For a busy person, there is so much to do, so many goals to achieve, and so many challenges to meet that merely deciding what you ought to do or not can becomes a matter of stress!
Decide What You do not Need
Ironically, bringing a semblance of balance and harmony in this busy schedule of one's routine requires additional effort to streamline the goals and activities and prioritize one's needs with the time available at hand. Counter-intuitive as it may appear, the success in dealing with this challenge of aplenty requires developing an ability to decide what you do not need to do, as much as what you should be doing. Often the word NO is a far more potent instrument than anything else available, provided it is used with due diligence, sensitivity and tactfulness.
Unlearn Habits that Keep You Busy Beyond Your Needs
The stress of busy life arises mostly from habits that have outlived their utility. During the early part of our career, we learn not to let opportunities go by. During that period we are always looking for a break, and grab every opportunity, small or big, that crosses us. Gradually, we become better off, but we still need to grow more ...and more, and then it becomes a habit. We can still not let an opportunity go by, irrespective of the cost that we need to pay for grabbing it, and irrespective of the fact that this cost is paid in terms of the basic unit and essence of life - time!
Life consists of years, which in turn are made of hours and minutes. Time is the essence of life - the only commodity that we cannot buy in the market, and yet, often it is the one commodity that we are ready to spend without thinking twice. We spend life to satisfy our habits. We pay with our life to satisfy our need for further growth. Often, we are busy not because it is good for us, but because we know no other way.
An imbalanced, busy life is largely a product of a confused mind. In a day, we will be spending exactly twenty four hours, irrespective of whatever we do or don't. It is HOW we spend those twenty four hours that makes all the difference. If we are not able to balance it, then it leads to stress and frustration, which can negate all success, and also become a health hazard, further impacting the quality as well as quantity of life.
Decide Your Priorities
The first step in balancing a busy life consists of deciding one's priorities. Everyone wants money, but all of us value certain things more than money. It could be family, the company of dear ones and friends, visiting places and people, or just taking a break from the monotony of daily routine. Whatever it is, we need to ensure that it does not remain an unfulfilled dream just because we are busy. This stepalone can help enormously by taking away a lot of stress, and add years to our life while adding life to our years.
Avoid Being Trapped
Second step in balancing life is to avoid the 'traps of stereotyped roles'. As part of our social upbringing we are taught to be nice right from our childhood, and while no one needs to be impolite, it is important to be able to get out of the social traps and emotional black-mailing as a family member as well as a businessman. As a family member, there is no point in carrying Utopian ideals for oneself. As a mother or as a son, there are limits to what one needs to do. One should learn not to live with guilt when not being able to do any further, and being able to say no when faced with exploitative expectations. Human beings are far more accommodative than you can ever imagine, and once you make your stands clear, most of those who care for you would understand and adjust.
In the working sphere too, it is better to draw limits. Often we take up more than we should in an attempt to develop goodwill that may come handy during an adversity. This may be the best strategy at the beginning of one's career, but the cost of carrying on the habit may be far bigger than any of us can afford. Keeping the expectations down, and fulfilling all of them without failure may be a more cost effective strategy.
Find How Much Time You Have
Another step is to have a long term perspective while scheduling one's time table. If you make an year long time table for yourself, you may be surprised to see how little of your time you have been left with for your own self. That realization itself would help you to balance your life in a manner that you end up enjoying and not just investing for future returns without an end. Remember, returns on time invested come in the form of everything other than time itself.
A Daily Routine with Time to Spare
Lastly, managing a healthy daily routine is one of the most important ways of bringing balance back to a life that seems to have become unmanageable. However, a daily routine should lead to de-stressing and not add further stress by its tight inflexible schedules. A simple uncomplicated and flexible life-style is what you need to have if you want to LIVE. Keep a substantial part of the day with your own self to begin with. A feeling of having time at your disposal can itself prevent most of the stress related with busy life and time-lines.
There are small and simple ways to decrease pressure on one's time. Separating work from home and leisure is one of the simplest ways to balance priorities. Balancing your domestic time between family and self is another simple way of uncluttering your life.
Every person has her own priorities, and the circumstances of every life are unique. Each one of us will need to find our own solutions. Even then, the basic principles of managing life will remain applicable.