Balance. It Was Not on the List! By:  Joanne Reuss-Kirtley

Balance. It Was Not on the List! By: Joanne Reuss-Kirtley

Life can be overwhelming and exhausting. There, I said it. I’m sure anyone reading this has thought the same at least once or twice. If you are like me, you might even think it hourly. The list of things to do and focus on in my brain is so long I need lists to remember the lists:  categorized, bulleted, sub-categorized, color coded, and in order of importance – thorough lists. Those lists will make it better, right? Those lists will make me feel safe and secure, won’t they? Those super lists will make all of this exhaustion go away and make my universe super productive. I just know it.

Ahahahahaha.  Wrong.

Every night before I go to bed I look at my lists. Every day I wake up and look at my lists.

  • I add to the lists.
  • Re-arrange the lists.
  • I make lists for others and then another list to keep track of the lists I delegated.
  • Chore lists with corresponding days and rotations.
  • Shared calendar lists.
  • Lists for the present.
  • Lists for the future.
  • Lists for each family member broken down by health, finance, fun and relaxation.
  • Lists for employees.
  • Lists for both businesses.
  • Lists of what color “ewws” were in my children’s diapers.

You’d think my world was the picture of efficiency. Yet in the past week we’ve missed 3 doctor appointments, 2 jobs, run out of diapers and my house looks like 7 tornadoes hit it.

On my fridge is this beautiful grocery list. I designed it to be aesthetically pleasing to encourage my family members to use it. It’s there for anyone in the family to write down what we need. When anyone uses the last of anything in the kitchen, all they have to do is walk right over to the fridge grab the attached velcro’d pencil (in case they need to erase) and write the item on the list. Those items are then transferred to my master grocery list on my iPad. I take the iPad list shopping with me once a week and gleefully cross off each item.

Yesterday morning I woke up and we were out of coffee. I panicked; full-fledged perspiring panic. I ran straight to the list on the fridge to see how I could make such an error. Coffee was not on the list on the fridge. Therefore coffee did not make it to the list on the iPad. Thus coffee did not get purchased at the store. This was an epic fail in my list system. I must re-calibrate.

Immediately, I called everyone into the kitchen for a review on how to use the “fridge list system.”  “Whew”! Crisis averted. I felt better. I can now move on to my day.  “Where did I put the fire engine red to-do list?”  “Wait, it’s 2pm and I haven’t made any of my 9-11am phone calls or sent any of the emails I was supposed to send. I haven’t eaten breakfast. Wow, nor have I eaten lunch. Where are my children? How is this possible?” Consulting the lists. Combing the lists.   – It’s all ON THE LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Time to kick it into high gear.  “Stop being a slacker, Joanne. I need a cup of coffee. Oh wait. It wasn’t on the list.”

DING DING DING DING!!!!!  “Stop, Joanne. Just stop.”

In the narrative above I have all of these important things on the lists. I also have something I “need” that never made it to any of the lists. I don’t understand. How did I fail at so much when I had such amazing lists?  I wasted an entire day being unproductive. I felt defeated and overwhelmed and exhausted. Aren’t the lists designed to make me more efficient and productive? Life is exhausting. There, I said it again.

In my efforts to achieve productivity, keep up, do the right thing, better myself, be giving, loving, supportive, a good employee, a good spouse, a good parent, good pet owner, good driver, good cook, good example, good friend, good aunt, good steward, good citizen, healthy, intelligent, educated, funny, creative, inspiring, well-rounded, joyful spirited, I’ve become unbalanced and miserable.  ***I*** did this.  Me.  Great, no coffee, no productivity AND an “aha” moment.  This is spectacular.

I’m way out of balance. DING DING DING DING!!!!! “Stop, Joanne. Just stop.”

Drawing from the knowledge I received in The Journey Training I am able to identify the lack of balance. How do I get back into balance? Back to basics: I have the tools. I have the knowledge. I need to put it to use.

It’s probably obvious that my default personality loves details – lots of details and information. For the next week though, I will focus on one item from each of the “other” personalities.

I will:

  1. Take Action –  Making lists does not produce forward momentum.
  2. Have fun –  This rejuvenates my spirit and gets me out of my head.
  3. Be thankful – It’s perspective.  An attitude of gratitude can work wonders.

Back to basics. I’m a free and fierce woman. I’m hopeful I will be able to write another piece on the progress I’ve made.  Wish me luck!



Balance By: Alison Loyd

Balance By: Alison Loyd

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6

People are always striving to balance work life and personal life. Through an exercise in my “Simply Lose It” coaching group, I stumbled into balance!

The exercise: a spreadsheet with the days of the week running across the top and daily activities running down the side. The activities included SLEEP, GROOMING, NECESSITIES (like eating and cleaning), WORK, and FUN AND LEISURE. For each day and activity, I put the amount of my day I put into each activity in increments of 15 minutes. The idea is to see where your time goes and then, at the end of the day, identify whether you spend more or less than 24 hours. It’s a personal reflection exercise from there.

My times for the WEEK:

SLEEP: 46.5 hours
GROOMING: 5.75 hours
WORK (Mon-Fri): 50.5 hours
FUN AND LEISURE: 49.25 hours
NECESSITIES: 15.5 hours

What jumped out most to me was how close my times were between SLEEP, WORK, and FUN AND LEISURE! They are within 3 hours and 45 minutes of each other. I call that balance!

How did I do this? We can debate the ability to multi-task all day long, so I’ll identify some key points of equality.

Commute: I moved to an apartment closer to work. I work with fabulous people who drive me to and from work. I’m having quality time with friends WHILE commuting to work!

Spirituality and Fellowship: Much of my spiritual time was spent in worship services with friends!

Meal prep: I am at my healthiest when my meals are planned, prepped, and ready to go. Not only do I make healthier choices, but it also frees up time later in the week for other activities.

A veteran teacher I work with is great about organizing social activities. She says, “Work will ALWAYS be there.” As a teacher, there is always something I can be doing for work. But if I focus too much time there that’s burn out, not balance.

Where are you spending most of your time? Work on the exercise mentioned above to help you find out.

What can you do to find balance in your life? Maybe it’s walking with friends, setting some alarms on your phone, or making reminders for yourself.

In The Journey Training, participants are given tools to help prioritize the important things in life and manage commitments and time. Do some multi-tasking and enroll in the next Threshold class. You’ll give time to you, your work, and your relationships!