We all have a thousand things flying at us, and they make getting everything done a daily challenge. There are work and personal commitments to honor, and if you're like me at all, you have personal desires that you need to respect to help you stay a healthy, balanced person. So when life breathes chaos, how do you keep your head above water without sacrificing your health, relationships, and quality of work?
I know I struggle with prioritizing. In November of 2010, I had all the blessings of the world flowing into my life that made it a zoo. I was publishing my book, planning a launch event, moving to a new place, traveling for Thanksgiving and having some book signings; and it was ALL on top of my regular workday. It was a huge challenge, and I don't know that I was entirely successful at it, though I did manage to keep my cool, which has been a challenge for me during past stressful times.
A person doesn't experience things like that without learning a thing or two. This go around, I learned that I didn't give enough credence to sleep. When life is busy and stressful I carry it into sleep time and wake up for hours in the middle of the night. It's so hard to wake up exhausted and feel helpless over the situation, while trying to meet the demands of the day. Each night I'd approach my bed hoping this night would be different, and sometimes it was. Of course I got sick too and lost my voice for about a week.
The lesson I'll carry forward the next time I'm struggling with sleep, is to take something. After taking a cocktail of medications after my surgery in 2001, I take great pleasure in not taking much of anything other than vitamins. I got over it now because it's just not worth being a zombie.
When I reflect on last November, I suggest taking busy times one day at a time. Try to think of things other than when the madness will end. For your health and work life balance, take care you your mind and body first. If you're insanely busy, it's likely that exercise falls completely off your radar, so at least eat and sleep well. Then take care of your family demands because your family loves you and is your support system through the stress. If you can, spend at least a regular mealtime with your family or friends if you are away from your family. If you can't eat together, then talk in person or on the phone. It will be an amazing 30-minute investment. Then turn to your work and give it everything you have left inside of you plus some.
There's a book called Juggling Elephants that addresses this very subject. I like the book, and I also like Mary Kay Ash's pocket proverb that helped her prioritize. She said, "God first. Family second. Career third." How do you prioritize your day?