Productivity distilled: Mastering the balancing act

Focus on most important habits when routines start to waiver

Losing progress on healthy activities is a symptom of a larger problem.
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Cultivating a healthy balance between our various commitments is a central part of our overall satisfaction.

It’s tough to perfectly address everything that demands our attention. It’s even more challenging to maintain our routines when faced with unpredictable circumstances that throw off the strategies we’ve created.

Rebalancing effectively is a simple tactic: be aware of when you’re feeling off, and do the one thing that will bring you back on track.

Even if you don’t have a rigorous daily routine, we all have habits and grooves that shape how we spend our time. If it’s simply sleeping, waking up, going to class, and eating three meals a day, you’ll know when you’re off by assessing the consistency of your habits.

We all notice this imbalance. Our routine begins to disintegrate and the consistency of our daily habits—eating, sleeping, exercising—begin to fray.

Losing progress on healthy activities is a symptom of a larger problem. You’re busier, feeling overwhelmed, and haven’t thought about how to maintain a steady routine that ensures these growing commitments get the attention they need. 

It can be tempting to simply hit the reset button and fix everything at once—but this is a recipe for disappointment.

As students, it’s unrealistic to completely revive our lifestyle during our busiest and most stressful times. We can’t always perform at 100 per cent in every domain of our lives.

Instead, we need to find the one thing that’s most important for us to change. 

[W]e need to find the one thing that’s most important for us to change.

This is the action or habit that will make all your challenges more manageable. This looks different for everyone; it entirely depends on what makes you feel the most centered.

For some, it might be committing to eight hours of sleep every night. For others, it could be a 30-minute run every morning, drawing before bed, meditating for ten minutes, or visualizing how you want your day to go.

Ultimately, the first step toward creating the balance we all strive for is discovering what your one thing is, committing to it, and constantly returning to it if you ever feel yourself waiver.

By focusing on one anchor in your routine, you’ll be more confident in your resilience, instead of feeling defeated by a brand-new routine with loads of expectations and structure, which can feel suffocating.

Once you’ve mastered your one thing, you can begin to continually refine your routine by adding and removing habits that make you feel the most confident while handling your schedule.

Mastering this balancing act is a delicate process. The sooner you can distill what works best in your daily schedule, the easier it will be to navigate the times when you’re feeling the pressure to do it all simultaneously.

Before the next wave of stress rolls in and you begin to feel your routine falling apart, pause and ask yourself what your one thing is—and start there.

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