Last Sunday Stan talked about balance, and I wanted to share some of his and my ideas surrounding the subject. I’d also be interested in hearing what definitions of balance you have, and strategies you employ to achieve this constantly shifting idea.
one of the most popular types of balance we hear about is home/work balance, or if you are a student, balancing study time, social time, family time and work time. Inside each of these categories you can divide even further. How do I balance my home time? How can I make sure that my significant other, and children are getting what they need, and what about time for friends – where do they even fit into the mix. It’s easy to see how fast we can go down a rabbit hole on this – and just thinking about how to achieve it, feels as though it actually causes imbalance.
One powerful way to end the overwhelm is acceptance. Simply be ok with the idea that there are going to be times in your live where you may have to let some things slide. I don’t even like describing it that way, because it’s not something you are slipping on, it’s a conscious proactive decision you have made to say yes to other things. If you have a parent that needs some extra help, you may not be able to spend as much time with your kids. In stead do stressing it, accept it – the kids will be alright, and learn an important lesson that it isn’t always about them.
Another method is simplification. Simply reducing the number of things you have to do and throwing yourself whole heartedly into a few things can be incredibly liberating. Reducing what you own can also go a long way to achieving balance. If life is a song to be sung, remember, the silent spaces between the notes are just as important as the notes to making our song pleasing and harmonious!
Finally a third way to help bring balance is through integration. Find ways to look for actions that do double duty. My favorite example of this is Les. He always has a smile, is cheerful and has to be in his 70,s. It seems retirement wasn’t sitting well with Les – and sitting around the house wasn’t helping things. He enjoyed learning new things, and helping people. He enjoyed staying in shape and a little extra money is always nice – he wanted to spruce up the house a little. His solution? He got himself a job pushing carts at Home Depot. It got him out in the sun, and exercising. Before too long we was throwing bags of concrete around like the kids 50 years younger than him. He studied their training material, learned to mix paint, cut blinds, learned electrical, and everything he could in the garden center. He enjoyed his conversations with the customers and talking with them about their projects. I do this with my own kids. Fitness is pretty important with me. One of the things I enjoy the most is going out on a run or bike ride with my girls, and teaching them what I know about software development and design. We apply those lessons into things they may be interested in such as adding lights to an outfit they are making, or tying in a craft to a solar system mockup. Balancing toe area of your life need not be mutually exclusive, sometimes they can be integrated.
thanks for reading, let me know what you think