There are too many articles on work-life balance that profess unrealistic ideas. I will kill this once and for all. There are 24 hours in a day. If you spend eight sleeping, and eight workings, that means you only have eight left for everything else. Right away that proves that you can't have balance. Kill that idea in your head. I use habits to make sure I keep all the parts of my life together.

You can put more on your plate than you think, but you have to know how to prioritize. You have to recognize that priorities will ebb and flow based on the circumstances of life. There will be times when healing and rest are the most important things. There will be other times where your family needs you. You have to be able to adjust and go with the demands of life and that requires a more organized personality. 

Decide what areas in your life matter and figure out how much time they all need in order to thrive.

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Know-How Much Time Each Area Needs ⏰

Once you accept that not all areas are equal, you begin to put your time where it counts most. For example, your job may demand 8 hours a day, but to get right spiritually you may need less. You may need 10 minutes of meditation and 25 minutes in your Bible.

That does not mean that one area is more important than the other. What it means is that you understand what it takes to succeed in that area. More is not always better.

As a sprinter, I learned that one fast run in practice is all you needed. Sometimes doing two is enough to push you overboard and cause injury or over training.

Decide what areas in your life matter and figure out how much time they all need in order to thrive. For example, I don't need to spend 10 hours a day with my kids for them to thrive. That does not mean that they never need more, but they need alone time as well to figure out life and grow.

  • Decide what matters most
  • Prioritize your time

What Is The Point of a Habit? ?

Before I can explain how to use habits, you need to know why they exist. Habits allow your brain to use less energy. Your mind is very energy expensive. It's always looking for ways to use less energy.

When you do something over and over, your brain starts to turn that action into a habit. You count on these habits for about 40% of all your daily activities. They allow you to take action without having to think of every single step.

If you think you don't have any habits, you are mistaken. The following actions depend on habits.

  • Which hand you write with

  • How you brush your teeth

  • When you brush your teeth

  • Your routine in the shower

  • How you tie your shoes and which foot you tie first

  • When you check your phone

  • How you prepare food to eat

The list above could go on for days. The habits you rely on allow your brain not to have to focus as much like you do when you are learning something. Think about how much focus it requires when you do these things for the first time:

  • Ride a bike

  • Drive a car

  • Swing a golf club

  • Write the alphabet

  • Keeps the day moving
  • Makes us who we are
  • Habits require less mental effort once they are established

Think Less Do More ?

Habits take your mind off of thinking about what to do. For example, you can wear the same thing every day, eat the same thing for breakfast, and leave your house at the same time. By making these habits, you don't have to think or spend time trying to figure out what to do.

Instead, you can devote that to being with your kids, or working on your side hustle. There are only 24 hours in your day so the more you can make automatic, the more time you save to do the things you want to do. An organized personality is about being as proactive as possible. 

  • Habits save time
  • More effort towards more important tasks

How I Discovered That Habits Free You To Do More ?

When I was in college at Iowa State, I had a tonne on my plate. I was in a relationship, running D1 track, had to do school work, tried keeping Jesus in my life, and I was running two businesses.

At first, my life was sporadic because I would wake up at any time, and go to bed when I wanted to. I would think about how to prepare for practice, what to eat, and everything else. It was crazy.

The reason I was able to make the Olympic team as a Junior in college is that I started to rely on positive habits.

  • Wake Up 5 Am

  • Eat Oatmeal and two hard-boiled eggs

  • Get to the weight room for 6 AM

  • Shower after weights and nap on the high jump mats

  • Go to class from 8 - 11

  • Eat pre-prepared lunch

  • Do homework until track practice

  • Track practice

  • Foam roll and stretch

  • Get treatment on my hamstrings

  • Ice bath

  • Sauna

  • Head to the Business Building

  • Work on my businesses

  • Eat Dinner

  • Head home

  • Watch TV and Stretch

  • Get ready for Bed

I designed my life in a way so that there was no room for non-sense. I knew what I had to do and where I needed to be, and I did not need to think about it. After doing this for a while, it became who I was. I became known on campus as the athlete that carried a bag of food with him everywhere.

  • Make the most of your 24 hours
  • Fit in everything that matters

Discovering Your Habits ?

You have to figure out what areas of your life you must have variability. For example, I like my dinner to be different, but I can handle breakfast being the same way daily. I had minimal options for what to wear.

The goal is to figure out how to think as little as possible from the time you wake up to when you go to sleep. You can't eat a doughnut for breakfast if you already decided you are having coffee and some eggs. Use Habit Stack to track your habits and build your routine, so you get everything done.

  • Find the things that need constant change
  • Find the things That can remain constant

Make Unfathomable Sacrifices ?

The word sacrifice is thrown around way too much. Sacrifice hurts. There is no getting around this. You are going to have to give something up that is going to make you uncomfortable.

I could let go of my Bible study in the morning or stop working with the church youth group to have more time. I'm not willing to sacrifice those things. The places I am ready to sacrifice is working out and sleeping.

Now, understand that for the average person, I still workout more than most people. As an Olympic athlete though my standard is high and I am not meeting that. I sleep less than I would like to, and it HURTS bad. I wake up sometimes, and all I want is a bit more time in those cozy sheets.

The sacrifice is worth it for what I am gaining in the long run though. I m not saying you have to give up what I give up. I am saying that you will give up something so be ready for your new organized personality.

  • What are your non negotiable? 
  •  Sacrifice the things that are non negotiable

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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