“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”
I’m not saying that Albert Einstein wasn’t smart but maybe he got it wrong with his thoughts on balance. I’ve been thinking about his quote above and wondering if we really need to keep moving to achieve balance in life or if our constant activity is causing the imbalance in the first place.
Modern life is so hectic and rushed that sometimes we barely have a moment to stop and think. Most of the time we’re simply hurrying from one task to another troubleshooting apparent urgencies like deadlines to be met, kids to be fed or lawns to be mowed. There’s no time to step back and watch the frantic activity we’ve created for ourselves or wonder why we’re really doing it.
So why are we doing it? Sometimes there really is an urgency that has to be met. But often work is done out of habit or a sense of obligation. Occasionally boredom, ego or simply a lack of imagination are behind it.
Take 10 minutes to reassess your work-life balance now for a lifetime of rewards
The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.
Euripides (484 BC – 406 BC)
There’s no doubting the need for balance in life. Countless articles, websites and books about the work-life balance are testament to the major problem finding a balance creates for most of us. It’s both sad and comforting to learn from Euripides that humans have been struggling with the need for balance for 2,500 years.
But reducing this problem to a search for work-life balance over-simplifies it because there are more than just two things we need to balance out for happiness and success.
Sadly we all know what work is but life’s complicated and work-life balance isn’t a seesaw which can go in one of two directions, I’ve come up with eight separate areas we need to balance, so it’s not just work and life.
The ultimate goal for all of us is happiness but that simple goal often proves elusive because one thing or another is lacking in our life, wether it’s relationships, career or play.
If you’re feeling disatisfied, stressed out, depressed, over-worked, unloved or worn out then there could be one of several things missing in your life. When you have a look through the list below you’ll probably know which areas are being neglected and which areas are bogging you down.
Working out what’s lacking in your life is the key to restoring the balance and getting back your mojo.
8 Elements of Work-Life Balance
Just as a business will run more smoothly when all the departments agree and focused on the same goals, your sense of well-being and performance in all aspects of your life will increase when you strive to balance these eight areas.
1. Friendships – For me this is hard to balance. There have been times in my life when friends have been everything and other times when friendship is neglected because of work or geographical coflict and you end up feeling lonely.
2. Relationships – Includes family and may include some or all of the following – life partner, parents, siblings, kids and extended family.
3. Chores – Includes finances,cooking, cleaning, shopping, gardening and the like.
4. Work – Includes professional development and networking.
5. Physical – Includes exercise, diet, nutrition and sleep.
6. Emotional – You may call if your spiritual side and it’s not easy to pigeon hole. Some people go to traditional place of worship, others meditate, or do yoga. I go surfing or for a walk on the beach.
7. Self – Nurturing your inner child with fun and play. Includes holidays, hobbies, peace and quiet, adventure, creativity, reading.
8. Community – Being part of something greater than you and helping others creates a sense of belonging, usefullness and being selfless actually makes you feel happier too.
How to Retune Your Work-Life Balance
1. Shift your priorities.
Decide what’s lacking in your life, which areas need to be focused on to create more balance and make time for them.
It is nice to believe your employer, business, family or friends would fall apart without you. It’s flattering to consider yourself an indispensible part of the economy and people’s lives. But sadly it’s not true. It’s a chimera, a mirage which has seduced you into wandering off into the desert and probably left you feeling very thirsty too.
Work out what your priorities lie and then make sure they really do come first.
2. Seek winning combinations.
Wherever possible try to find activities that satisfy two or more areas of your needs at the same time. Try to create a balance by working from home or doing a job which you love and which is inline with your values.
For example, going for a walk on the beach satisfies both my emotional and physical needs. If I walk with my husband it takes care of our relationship too. Working from home allows me to be there when my kids come home from school and hang out with them fulltime during the school vacation. Choosing web design and writing for my career satisfies my creative urges, indulges my desire to help other people and brings home the bacon.
3. Balance yourself first.
Be careful not to subjugate your needs to those of other people.
A lot of us are people-pleasers who want to make other people happy. You can only be responsible for your own happiness and you owe it to the people you care about, the family and friends who also care about you to look out for yourself.
4. Be present.
Keep work where it belongs and family in their place.
Allow yourself the time to fully participate in each activity without worrying about what you have to do next or hurrying to move on to the next thing.
Being passionate about something is good but you also need to create a balance and be able to engage fully in other activities.
How balanced is your life?
“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.”
Balance is about not being one-dimensional but allowing you to get in touch with the multi-faceted parts of your personality and unite them in a way that makes you feel happy.
Remember life is more important than work. Life isn’t something you fit in once your jobs have been done. Life is your reason for being, not a perk that comes from working.
Yes, life is about creating balance and today is the time to start balancing your various needs. If you’re not convinced you need to sort out your balance right now try turning Einstein’s quote around like this:
Time’s always moving on so we need to find balance or life will pass us by.
Try putting these eight areas of your life into order of most to least important for you. Is the time you allocate to each one in proportion to that?
Which areas are threatening to throw the others out of balance? And which are being neglected?
Spend a moment thinking about it and leave a comment so we can see if any patterns emerge. Or share your tips for achieving balance.
Thanks for Reading
A warm welcome to all my new subscribers and welcome back to the old faithfuls – it’s great to connect with you. Thanks to Ella’s Dad for use of the photo.
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