Originally published on 15 January 2007 as “Key To a Balanced Life: Scheduling and Planning?”
In the article “Treat Your Life Like You’re Still At School”, Allen Galbraith puts forward a methodology to balance life. He says that one should schedule life like one is still at school, making time for the various subjects, creating a schedule and syllabus and including physical education.
I initially had bookmarked the article because it intrigued me. It was so simple and pat. I like things neat and tidy, and easy to implement.Yet this sort of thing would never work in my life; there are too many outside demands. Maybe if I didn’t have the outside responsibilities of work and family, and could do exactly as I pleased while being handed enough money to live, this sort of thing might apply.
It reminds me very much of a phone conversation I had with a friend of mine a few years back. My child had been born a few months previously, and I was balancing work with an unreasonably demanding client and a full schedule at home with the lack of sleep that accompanies an infant. I was trying to work, manage the household, cook, eat properly and manage the “requested” overtime on a sleep deficit that caused me to nod off during meals. My friend was trying to persuade me to join her exercise club. I told her bluntly that I didn’t have time. She replied, “We all have the same number of hours in the day.”
It still irks me that someone would say that, because, yes, we all have the same number of hours in the day, but we don’t all have the same number of demands on our time.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to getting things done, balancing life, or inner peace. I would even go so far as to say that the search for one-size-fits-all solutions is what drives the incessant demand for self-help publications and gurus.
Simplicity isn’t simple, folks. If all it took were to read a book, we would all be the top of our careers, have PhDs, be at the perfect body weight, with perfect families, children, homes and gardens.
No, balance isn’t simple. We have to figure out what will work for each of us, taking what works and discarding the rest. And for me, balancing my life really has nothing to do with scheduling and planning.