How to Maintain a Healthy Balanced Lifestyle (and Still Have Time to Look at Cat Videos.)

I’m the kind of person who notoriously burns the candle at both ends. I tend to take on an extremely large amount of work/projects, and then either only do the 75% of the things I can handle, or work myself into a sickness. Yes, I have given myself the flu before. And let me tell you, it was not pretty. Although I did have a lot of time to catch up on Downton Abbey…

One of my goals is to figure out how I can healthily balance all of my tasks, taking on as much as I can, while still finding time for a glass of wine, and a cat on my lap. I has devised, the pie chart of my magical perfect life balance and rainbows. See figure a:

figure a: the pie chart of my magical perfect life balance and rainbows.

This pie chart is specific to my life. I tried to break it down by what I perceive to be all of my obligations, and how much of my life I believe should be allocated to them.

Let’s break it down. 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. That makes 168 hours in 1 week. Minus 55 hours a week for sleep, that leaves 113 hours. Minus shower time, commuting time, waiting in lines time, eating time… we’ll say I spend 10-12 hours a week doing that. That gives me approximately 100 hours to allocate on my perfect life balance.

Faith – 12 hours: You will notice the Faith piece has a big circle around all the other pieces. This is because I think it’s important to use faith as the foundation for everything else. Faith for me includes prayer, Bible reading, and trying to use each day to give glory to God (and seeing God’s glory in all His creation).

Family – 34 hours: Mark, mom, dad, Natalie – family. That means picnics, game nights, chit chats, and general bonding time with my inner circle. I think this should be the biggest piece of the pie. I love spending time with my loved ones.

Work – 16 hours: I work 40 hours a week… but I think a part time job would better suit my ideal balanced lifestyle. I think work is really important: it gets your mind off of everything else, and onto a focused task. It allows you to feel accomplished and contribute to a team. I love my job, really!! But it can take up too much of your life, and free time.

Social – 8 hours: This means chatting with a friend on the phone, posting to their Facebook page, catching the latest horror flick, or going out for post-work martinis. Social time is super important, and I tend to go stir crazy without it.

Projects – 8 hours: Internet projects, the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club, running my Etsy store, shipping packages, prospecting sponsors, and writing for my blog. I believe a good amount of time is 8 hours a week on outside-of-work projects. I consider projects another form of work. I like to think about it this way: 3 quarters of the work pie is work, 1 quarter of the work pie is projects.

Reading – 7 hours: I want to read more. I plan to devote 1 hour a day to reading. I have a pile of Nicholas Sparks book that are lacking tears on their pages. Q_Q Plus I need to finish Harry Potter, book 6. Yer a weezard, Harry!

Exercise – 7 hours: A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and spirit. I plan to devote 1 hour a day to exercising. This means walking along the River, taking Couscous to Kirby Park, getting on my elliptical, putting on one of those girly cucumber face masks, or taking a hot Epsom salt bath.

Pet Love – 5 hours: This is a time to bond physically and emotionally with my pets. Cuddling the cats, checking them for buggies, taking Couscous for a walk, grooming time, or generally caring for their health.

Nonsense – 3 hours: Cat videos! I knew I would find time for you somewhere. This is just whatever silly, crazy thing I feel like doing. I could put on a clown nose, and run down the street screaming show tunes if I wanted. But I probably won’t. So don’t get your hopes up.

This list is super personalized for me, but I encourage you all to make your own list! It really shows you what parts of your life you have been neglecting, and what parts you know in your heart you want to focus on more.

Tips to help maintain this perfect life balance.

  • Keep lists. Digital, physical, whatever works! I use Wunderlist app on my phone (which syncs up to Mark), and I also have a big supply of pads of paper and notebooks. I make lists about my lists. I really love these Buttoned Up Lists and any of these notepads from Knock Knock Stuff
  • Know when to turn it off. Been at your computer for 3 hours? Make sure to stretch often. And make sure to power off, and maybe go read a bit, or go for a walk.
  • Combine tasks to knock out 2 birds with 1 stone (poor birdies). I like to catch up on Netflix or my local news while I’m on the elliptical.
  • Ask your friends and family what they think. Do they notice you are heavily involved in 1 task, but ignoring others? Make sure you aren’t neglecting anything.
  • Don’t be afraid to deviate from the plan. Don’t hate yourself for not adhering to a strict weekly goal list. Stress will ruin this entire plan. Just take it easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy. If you think positive, your will be able to keep to your lists easily.

Featured image from

I would LOVE to see what your chart would look like. Please leave it in a comment below.

4 thoughts on “How to Maintain a Healthy Balanced Lifestyle (and Still Have Time to Look at Cat Videos.)”

  1. Leslie, I love your pie chart! I think it’s very telling that your biggest slice was Family. 🙂

    This was a nice exercise for me to plot out what I’d like my own life balance to be. Here is what mine (ideally) would look like:
    Out of 100 hours

    Work- 40 hours
    It sucks that work is the biggest one, but I just started a new job in my field and am at a turning point in my career. I’m so excited and happy to be doing what I love!

    Family- 28 hours
    Family is a huge priority for both me and my boyfriend, and we spend a lot of time with both families. I’m also including my kitty Ezra here–she’s family too!

    Social – 8 hours

    Exercise – 7 hours
    This would include my running 3x a week, my yoga class, and any extra weight and resistance training. Plus after-care, such as stretching and hot hot showers. And whining about how sore I am.

    Projects – 7 hours
    Blogging (which I should do more often), taking classes on Skillshare, working on my html skills, etc

    Cooking – 5 hours
    I suck at cooking. In an ideal world, I’d spend 5 hours making meals and planning meals for my the bf

    Free time/Nonsense/Reading – 5 hours

  2. Love your awesome and cute chart! I’ve been struggling with this so much since I had a baby it’s crazy! I used to just work, go to shows, and go shopping lol now my life has been thrown into chaos! I’m slowly figuring out that I have to make time for myself, even if it is just a shower 😉

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