What balance means to me, and why I know you can find it

Balance gets a bad rap among people who I believe are fundamentally misunderstanding it entirely.

The perception of living a balanced life means juggling all the balls all the time and never dropping anything and being perfect and amazing and doing it all. That entire notion is completely unattainable. Balance, to me, is a feeling. It's the feeling that we're getting what we need in most areas of our life. That we feel good about the distribution of things that are important to us and that one thing doesn't take up more than we want it to. That over a period of time (week to week or month to month) we feel good about where our time is going and that one thing is not unjustly eclipsing the others.

Over the course of a month, we may have a few days where we need to work long hours and that eats into our family time. We may have a handful of social obligations that makes it harder for us to prioritize our nutrition or fitness or sleep. But that the baseline, the average, is at a place we feel comfortable with.

Balance is intangible. It's not about numbers or making sure everything gets equal space in your life

So here's how to find your own balance:

  1. Start by figuring out what's most important to you.

  2. Understand your starting place by doing a time audit. On a sheet of paper, make two columns. Label one column "important" and the other "less important". Write out how much time per week you are doing things that are important and what they are, then do the same for the "less important" column.

  3. Decide where you want to see changes.

  4. Identify what you have control over. You may not be able to quit your job, but can you reduce the amount you work nights and weekends? Can you turn off at the end of the workday to be present with your family? Can you say no to obligations you don't actually want to do in order to free up more time for a hobby? What can you do in order to bring more of a sense of balance into your life?

  5. Start to make changes. Go at a pace that works for you.

  6. Set boundaries and ask for support. This is the hardest one, but setting boundaries to say no to things that go against your priorities frees you up to spend more time doing the important things and bringing you a sense of balance.

  7. Ignore everyone who tells you balance isn't a thing you can have. You are challenging the status quo of being overworked and waiting until the weekend or you retire to enjoy your life.

Expect pushback, but remember you don't need to explain, justify, or change based on someone else's reaction. That's on them. Get out there and get your balance boooooo!

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