For the past several years I have chosen one little word to help guide my year, the goals I set, and the choices I make for all my priorities. 

Focus. Happy. Create. Do.

These are the words I have chosen in past years. Each year my word has helped me choose which activities to spend my time on that would align with both my priorities and my goals. 

Choosing a word has not always come easily to me. But somehow each year it seems like I am drawn to a word that keeps finding a way to stand out to me in lots of little ways.

Last year, my word was “do”. It helped me in all aspects of my life. I got more done than I had in years past. I stayed more on top of tasks I often dreaded. And it helped to remind me all year long that the only way to get things done is to do. You don’t get there by planning, dreaming and writing things down. You have to put in the work.

This year I have been going back and forth on the words balance and simplify. The best way to achieve balance is to simplify. Simplify my home, my life, my work, everything. Decluttering my physical space and my mental space allows for me to focus on my priorities – my family and the relationships I cherish. 

“Keep or put something in a steady position so that it does not fall.” I want to not fall. I want to know that I am on top of most areas of my life so that when life happens and unexpected things arise, I don’t crumble. I know I need to have routines and systems in place that allow the most mundane aspects of my life to run on autopilot so I can enjoy being present with the people I love and in doing the things that fuel my soul.

“A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.” I want my time to be spent on things that are important to me. It is so easy to get bogged down by the everyday details of life. How often am I truly present in the moment? How often do I give my kids my undivided attention not distracted by my phone or even my own thoughts of what I need to do next? How often do I rush through my work so I can get done, rather than enjoy the fact that I am able to work in a field that allows me to be creative on a daily basis?

As a work at home mom, balance can be a very elusive thing. In reality, I don’t think there is such a thing as balance. I want to be a successful business woman, but not at the expense of time with my family. Working from home makes it very difficult to turn off and unplug. I use social media for both business and pleasure. So many aspects of my work and home life intersect and overlap.

However, I am realizing that I need to find more separation between the two. When I am at work, I want to be present. Getting the most done I can with the hours I have. My plan for this year is to set concrete working hours while the kids are at school. I want to work 20 hours a week, which means five hours a day the four days a week both my kids are in school. (I am still trying to figure out how I will achieve finding balance over the summer.)

My hope in this is that when the kids are home from school and on the weekends, I can focus on my family. There have been many nights where I am working feverishly to get a project done right when the kids get home from school. Those evenings often turn out to be total chaos. It is hard to give the kids and my husband the attention they deserve when I am still doing work projects in the evening. 

I will make more time for myself. This is the year that I will be focusing on my health and my well-being. I don’t have any major health problems, thank goodness, but I just don’t feel my best. I am tired and sluggish. I don’t exercise as much as I should (or sometimes even at all if I am being completely honest). I don’t eat well a lot of the time. I snack and grab quick things that are often unhealthy. I often stay up late and don’t get enough sleep. I am not my best self.

I am not so naive to think that there won’t be days where I will have a big deadline and my kids have to fend for themselves for an evening. Or that one of my kids will get sick and need my full attention and thus the work I had planned will have to wait. But my hope is that by simplifying and creating some routines, these types of events won’t make me completely melt down.

Do you have one little word for 2017?

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5 Comments on One Little Word 2017: Balance

  1. Laura,
    Great word!! I too have chosen a word every year to focus on. I just posted what I word I chose for this new year over on my regular blog…Hope. If you get a minute, stop by to read why..
    Happy New Year!!

  2. I feel like you were describing exact what’s happening in my life right now. Only much more eloquently than I could! Trying to plan to simplify or to delegate to make it easier to find a semblance of balance. I opened an art studio this year after staying home with my kids for 10 years and finding a new balance is difficult. Thank you for your thoughts and the suggestion of choosing a word for the year. I’m definitely going to do this!

    • Rachel,
      Finding balance is so hard. And I don’t think there really is such a thing as balance. But for me, it means focusing on my priorities rather than what I feel like I “should” be doing. The whole point of me working from home is to be able to be there for my family and it can be easy to lose sight of that in the daily grind of what needs to be done! I hope you have a wonderful year.

  3. Hi Laura, I never thought to choose a word for the year and think its a great idea. I started working from home since I was made unemployed in Feb 16, I love that I am able to do this but found it challenging , I had been thinking for a while now that there needs to be more structure as I was all over the place and working late into nights when I should not have. So I bought myself a big diary one day to a page and have written everything down to do just the simple things like reminding myself to go for my daily morning walk otherwise I would just be sitting down all day working. I found I had no Balance, now I feel more in control of my life so that I do get that bit of time out for myself without feeling guilty.
    I enjoy reading your posts and thank you for sharing.
    Happy New Year!!
    Monika x

    • Monika,
      I am so glad you found something that worked for you. I still create goals – both long-term and short-term but choosing my word for the year definitely helps me to focus on my priorities. Have a great new year!

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