Last week was an incredibly exhausting week. Between the unsavoury meetings, the endless tasks, and the other things I didn’t want to do, I learned a lot about handling difficult challenges that I needed to complete, regardless of my desire, or lack thereof, to do so. First and foremost, my appreciation for the things I did want to do grew immensely. Dinners out with the family, writing, blogging, shave of the day photos; these all suffered last week as a result of my insane schedule. When I finally got a little time to myself, I really treasured all of those activities so much more.
There’s a quote running around the internet attributed to Mark Twain that suggests “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” Of course, like anything else on the internet the validity and the source are in question. However, those factors don’t detract from the value found in the statement. What I found important is the idea that you’re going to face difficulties in life, and some things are just going to be unpleasant to deal with. Putting them off won’t prevent them, just delay them. All the delay will do is build anxiety. So in delaying, you now have to deal with the anxiety as well as the original, inevitable challenge. Just complete it already and be done with it. By getting the bulk of my work done last Monday and Wednesday, I was really able to enjoy what I chose to do for the rest of the week without anything hanging over my head.
It’s important, though, to keep your frogs in balance. Just like eating anything else, too much in not healthy. Sometimes finding balance is hard, especially when responsibilities come flying at you from all directions. I found the most important thing was to stay organized. I’ve written about how I stay organized before, but I can’t stress enough the roles Getting Things Done and Evernote have played in my life. If I don’t have a way to organize my jobs, they’re never going to get done.
Life will invariably run out of balance too, and when it does, it’s crucial to regain your center when you have the opportunity. I keep myself even-keeled with an attack on two fronts. Daily meditation has become an integral part of my life. I can immediately tell the difference in my mental state on the days I meditate and the days I don’t. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this either. Ten minutes a day is a great amount of time, although I prefer twenty if it’s available. Headspace is the perfect way to get started and keep track of your progress. Exercise is my other tool. I’m a big fan of kettlebells, thanks to StrongFirst and the Simple and Sinister program, for the simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and results associated with them. If that’s not for you, find something that is. I recently bought a pair of Brooks “Ghost 7s” and started running too. The positive feelings that come just from exercise itself combined with the pride of taking care of yourself will keep you centered mentally all day long. Finally, have some fun. I took some time last Thursday to play a little soccer and Tee-ball with the kids. It was the best thing I did all week. If you don’t feel like getting out, play a board game or read a book. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you do something for your personal enjoyment. I think, sometimes, we get caught up in our lives so much that we forget to take care of ourselves.
Make sure you’re facing your responsibilities, and I suggest facing them first. No only will you avoid adding anxiety, but you will also become more productive. Additionally, the other things you do for yourself will have that much more impact on your well-being and life balance.