I often feel like the juggler in the 3-ring circus of life...Chris follower, wife, sister, daughter, mother of five, CEO, friend volunteer...and the list goes on an on. It is easy to get overwhelmed by daily tasks, media and self-expectations. so how does one maintain balance?
I have found "balance" rest in the following 3 disciplines:
1. Morning Habits.
I begin each day with a time of meditation, mindfulness, prayer and Bible study. By dedicating the first half hour to God, I find myself centered on who He has created me to be. It also allows me to connect with my leadership team to dedicate our day to fulfilling our individual potential and collective organizational goals. I then focus on one task that I least want to do. I spend one hour getting the most important but least desirable task off my to-do list.
2. Expectations & Priorities. First, I am my own worst critic so establishing a more graceful approach with myself is often necessary. Learning to say “no” to good things, but not the things God has called only me to do is key to prioritize my daily tasks. Next, I create a block calendar each week to ensure to spend time not only on the urgent tasks, but also the most important tasks. I only allow myself to check email and social media at prescribed times (one in the AM, one at noon, one in the PM) in order to minimize distractions. I build in time to think strategically weekly and also retreat for one day each quarter to get a thirty-thousand foot view. I also preserve one day each week for complete rest and worship---no work allowed! Additionally, annually I commit to at least a three-day retreat with my husband and a weekend retreat with my BOD/work family to conduct strategic planning. Finally, I take two weeks in July and two weeks in December to recharge and reflect/plan.
3. Self-care & Staying Present. Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was 32 years old with four children under five years old who worked full-time and volunteered on weekends. It took the “gift” of cancer to help me realize how desperately I needed to slow down and take care of myself. Since that point, I am better at maintaining at least seven hours of sleep each night. The areas where I continue to struggle is eating healthy and daily exercise. I am intentional in my efforts to always be present—regardless if I am at home, at work, at church or elsewhere. I no longer worry about what I cannot control and I fully recognize God is God and I am not. I am responsible for my efforts each day but He is responsible for the outcome or results. This removes much of the pressure and helps me maintain proper perspective.
Maintaining balance at all times is impossible because we are imperfect humans. As the Holy Spirit continues to mold me and make me in His image, however, I find I am able to maintain a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions--true balance!
Tonya Winders is the President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network the nation's leading patient education and advocacy organization. She has five young adult children who are the inspiration for her tireless efforts to fight for patients first and foremost each day.