So I’m getting a little preachy about life balance. But as I explain in “My story,” I feel very lucky to have a life in balance.
But first, why isn’t the word “work” in the headline? Many people work. Most people have to work. But why are we trying to balance our lives with work? We should be focused on balancing our lives with the things that make us happy. Like family. Isn’t family more important than work? Why wouldn’t we include “family” in Work Family Life balance? So I’m suggesting we change the phrase to simply “Life Balance” because each day is really about living to our fullest, right?
Here’s what life balance feels like to me. Case in point: last week, I needed to run to the mall and asked my husband if he wanted to join me and spend Friday afternoon drinking a couple of margaritas outside at the Mexican restaurant. He said he was too busy and needed to clean out the garage. But I
nagged convinced him otherwise and it was a great afternoon. The garage could wait. Living life could not.
Life balance isn’t something you achieve. It’s having the will and the desire to make things happen. I went to a life coach many years ago when my kids were young and I was juggling life as a professional, a mom, a wife, a cook, a maid. I was looking for someone to help me get it all in balance. She drew a series of concentric circles on a piece of paper of attributes that were important to me, with a large circle of myself in the middle (I take offense that it was a “large” circle). She explained that I was supposed to figure out which circles on the outside mattered the most and move them closer to myself. Then she charged me $800. Now, not only was my life unbalanced, but my checkbook was as well.
Several years ago, I read a book called “Slowing Down to the Speed of Life” by Richard Carlson and it was all about unconscious thought and living in the present. It’s about letting go of everything in your head and just being in the now. I know it sounds a lot easier than it is, but as I get older, I have really been trying to slow my life down. To be present.
So I set a few goals for myself:
1. Have better Me-balance
Having life balance is great, but as I turned 50, I was starting to feel like there’s more to it. I’m one of those people who has to constantly be busy — I get more done when I’m stressed and under deadlines. But what that creates is a to do list that hangs over my head and prevents me from doing things that I really want to do — things for ME. For two years, I’ve had this goal to get in phenomenal shape as I turned 50. For a while, I was going to the gym every morning to start my day. But then a big project came along, the deadlines were crunched, and I had that nagging in my head that I needed get work done before I went to the gym — in other words, work came first. Then the afternoon rolled around and I was too tired to go to the gym. And once I get out of a routine, it’s hard to get back into it. So I’m focusing on putting those things that are important to me first.
2. Focus on my Perfessional growth
Yeah, I know it’s spelled wrong. But this is what I call personal and professional growth. So in this same category as taking time for myself, I also have to put finding time to write my blog. I love to write and it’s another one of my passions, but it never seems to be a priority as there’s always client work to take care of, housework to be done or pets that need to go to the vet.
3. Visit my creative space
I’ve learned that I think best when I’m away from my computer and away from my home. I dictate a lot of my blog posts into my iPhone when I’m in the car or walking the dog — when my thoughts are clear. Then, I edit them on the computer. THAT’s unconscious thought which is when I tend to be most creative, just as the book explained. Some days, I’ll take my notebook and go sit at an outdoor café or coffee shop, again, when my thoughts are clear and I’m not distracted by a computer screen or a laundry basket, and just write freely.
Don’t you see? It’s the little things that help you create Life Balance.