How Could I live a More Balanced Life?
Finding the balance between all most important aspects that create life may sound like a really hard challenge. And in its own right.
A number of years ago, Bryan Dyson, then the President and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, delivered a commencement speech at Georgia Tech. He said: “[…] Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them work, family, health, friends and spirit. And you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
But balancing is not easy. It’s not only a skill but also an art to keep all these five balls up in the air for a very long time. A snapshot of your current LIFE BALANCES can help you see the bigger picture.
But what can you do right now to prevent any of the balls from getting hurt?
Be the guardian of your time and energy
We may agree that the lack of balance in life is the unwitting distribution of your time and energy to work, health, family, friends, and personal interests whatsoever. Time is always leaking somewhere, but it’s not only about micromanaging your time. You also have to micromanage your energy.
Imagine this: You’ve set a life goal to start your own business (and you do have slight progress in that regard). But right now, you still have your old job where you still need to stay on top of your game, as well as you have a family to take care of.
You’ve set a schedule to work on your new business, perhaps in the evenings or over the weekend, but when the time comes you don’t have much energy and you are nowhere near being productive. Which, of course, makes you unhappy about it.
The lesson, in this case, is simple. Manage your energy first, your time second. Otherwise, you may never see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Learn to say “No”
Reena Kataria, a mother, entrepreneur, and active member and changemaker within Challenge:Future, once shared with us a magnificent tip, “My motto in life is I am not sure what I am going to do next, but I am very well aware of what I am not going to do.”
In other words: learning when to say “No” may benefit your time and energy, and even protect your life balance. Here’s what Reena wrote further:
“Psychologically we all love to be liked, be appreciated, be in the center of talk and that’s why sometimes we go beyond our limits to fulfill the tasks which are not serving any growth to us, and at the end, lead us into a frustrating situation. We are very much focused on our goal, whether it’s in personal life or professional life, and we all know the basic rules and tips on how to do it perfectly. In reality, what happens is that we get deviated by occupying ourselves with not important tasks. We are not willing to do these tasks, however, still, we do them as we want to come in good books of someone. Sometimes the tasks which are very much important get delayed and can cost a lot later on.”
And how do you say No?
Reena quotes an Indian saying on this one – “Satyam bruyat, priyam bruyat, which means, even if you are saying the truth say it sweetly so when you are saying ‘NO’ to someone, do it with a smile, use clear words firmly so that other person won’t be offended.”
Balance is continuous maintenance and effort
A life without balance in any of its essential aspects–health, finance, family and friends, work, play–is a life with hindrance to happiness. Vice versa, if you are not happy with your life right now, or if you are certain there’s a room for making improvements, could also be a question of balance.
However, we cannot always be in balance and have everything in every and each moment of our life. Life balance should be best understood as a continuous balancing process (as a verb) as well as an outcome: there may be more balance today than tomorrow. But the day has only 24 hours and you cannot do miracles.
Dr. Andreja Kodrin, founder of Quintaum, shared her life experience as a mother, wife, manager, multiple-time founder, and leader: “There have been and there still are periods in my life which demand selection of priority aspects of my life. This is not equal to answering what has been the most important or what means the most to me personally, as I would always answer children and family in that regard. But there are also days when the work simply demands 100% of you. Not only on working days but also during weekends and sometimes also during family vacations. In such moments I have felt completely terrible, but looking back from a time distance, I sincerely feel, that I didn’t fail as a parent and have given my children what it matters the most–my love.”
“I’ve never fully agreed to the saying that goes ‘what it matters is quality time with kids, not quantity.’ As a parent you build deep connections and trust when you are actually there, when they need you, when you prepare a meal for them, when you create memories and unforgettable moments, when you co-share secrets of the day in those special moments before sleep. Unfortunately, this is not possible every day, sometimes even not every week or month, but after that, you distribute time to “compensate” for the times you have been missing. Needless to say, never ever forget also about your Health!”
Which lead us to the following conclusion: we should be aware of our “unbalances” in order to act, improve and balance again.
You define balance for yourself
Both women and men will face up to different ideas or expectations on what should their Life Balance “look like.” Very often these ideas are conjured pictures of Life Balance imposed by society. However, what really matters here is to define balance personally, for yourself. Self-assessing, or thinking about ourselves in a way that it embodies an important cognitive process, can help in this regard.
Through self-assessing, we can define what Life Balance could personally mean for us, while also accepting the fact that we will often need to negotiate with ourselves about what we can take from life right now and what will have to wait. Similarly to how we do negotiations in business or in marriage…we cannot have it all.
Deep cognitive thinking can further deter thoughts of what others want our life to be. As traditional thinking might suggest, it is expected from women to be the main caregiver and balancer at home. But what happens if she is the one who nabs the higher-paying job within the household? Enter men, who are traditionally not ascribed to the roles of caretakers and balancers within the family.
Fortunately, our society has different dynamics today, with a greater balance of gender roles, hence a greater rate of women who are mothers but do not neglect their major interest in professional development, and a greater rate of men who are fathers but who do not neglect their major interest in being more caregiving and family-orientated. Today, everyone has the right to decide what Life Balance will mean for them.
Last but not least, the Life Balance in our 5 Pulses differentiates from the widely discussed Work-Life Balance, which is also included in our advanced versions of the 5Pulses report. Our methodology goes beyond the Work Only approach and relies on a more holistic view of Personal life as well.