It’s amazing to me that people are still trying to balance their lives. It’s as if they see life as slices of a time pie that can be equally shared amongst a hungry crowd.
The truth is that life balance, thought of in this way, is unobtainable. Slicing our lives into equal portions will give some areas of our lives artificial importance, and under-value others. Can you imagine placing scrubbing dirty pots on the same level as spending time with your children?
What Balance Isn’t
Life balance isn’t a matter of keeping everything rigidly in line.
It isn’t about paying equal attention to every area of your life.
It isn’t about unnatural demands and contortions.
What Balance Is
Life balance is about flexibility.
It’s about realizing that sometimes some areas of your life will sometimes take more time and effort than others.
It’s about priorities, and knowing what is most important to you.
Getting Balance In Your Life
Getting life into balance isn’t hard…in theory. But it does require some effort.
Recently I decided I needed to re-balance things. I felt like I was spending too much time doing things that didn’t have a large enough return on investment, and that probably didn’t need to be done. I felt that not only was I doing things that didn’t matter, but doing it at the cost of my relationships with my daughter and husband.
Realizing It Might Not Always Be Possible
Sometimes life interferes. While I try not to work more than my normally scheduled hours, sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes there are other projects that come up. I have to be flexible and work these things in — and not get bent out of shape because my ideas of “balance” have been disrupted.
The first thing with re-balancing is to know it’s not all going to change overnight. Like any other habit, trying to change too much at once is a recipe for sure failure. So pick something to do less of, and substitute something to do more of.
For instance, I chose to spend every weeknight evening between dinner and bedtime with my daughter, doing crafts, or reading, or playing a game. This means I had to give up what I was doing at that time – usually checking email, surfing, cleaning or writing.
This means that the non-essential activities (email, surfing) need to be dropped, and the more important of the four (cleaning, writing) moved to another time. It also means I need to be more efficient when I am doing those activities so that I preserve other times I use to further my writing and business.
By taking small steps and working in a direction to re-balance my life, I can move to a place where my priorities are reflected in my activities.
Photo by Sandra Marek