I’ve had several people ask me how to find a balance in their life between work and everything else. It seems that the demands of work are strenuous and exhausting. And what’s left of you at the end of the day is a tired shell of a person who’s not able to fully participate in other things because work has, as we say in London, ‘done you in’.
But It Can’t Be Helped
If you’re working outside the home, how can that be helped? You’ve got to work your hours and that’s that! End of story! Right?
Or perhaps you work from home. In which case, your work will suffer drastically if you don’t put in the 60 hours a week needed to keep it going. You’ve got to do everything yourself and you can’t delegate jobs to your unsuspecting three year old can you?
Or perhaps you’re trying to get a business off the ground but you feel like you’re constantly putting out fires with the children or you’ve got so many other obligations that you don’t have the time to invest in your work.
There’s absolutely no way you can give the same amount of your time and energy to all the different elements of your life. Not gonna happen!
Life Balance 101
But here’s the thing. Balance in your life is not about spending the same amount of time in the different areas of your life, but the RIGHT amount of time in those areas.
Balance requires you to take a step back and look at your priorities, then look at your week and allocate your time accordingly. It requires you to dig deep and ask “What are the most important things in my life?”. The things that will really matter in 5 years, 20 years, or eternity!
Try not to have too many priorities. Having twenty priorities is not reasonable because they actually won’t be equally important to you, although they might all be things you want to do. Like a spotlight, you can only shine on one object at a time. Having a few objects that you focus on will be better on the stage that is your life than if you constantly dart around! If your list feels long, try to rank your priorities giving each a different number. The top 3-5 things on that list are now your primary things.
Those primary things of yours are the first activities that should go into your week. Add the others (the secondary things) around them. Try not to cram your week full of activities. Your every waking moment shouldn’t have you going from one activity to the next. You need breathing space. Space where you can be still and reflect. Space where you are not committed to anything in particular. I call this ‘buffer space’. It’s so important. Don’t underestimate the value of this time! You can see how I schedule my time here.
Designing a week where you have a good work-life balance requires you to pause, take stock, and rearrange your priorities. It’s a process we should do regularly because our priorities change at different times of our life. If you’ve been feeling like you don’t have a good work-life balance, it may be that your top priorities are getting bumped to the bottom or left out completely.
Are there things in your life that you need to get back into the spotlight?