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Balance has been such a popular subject in the last five years that it’s almost become passé. But that hasn’t stopped many of us from continuing to pursue it.
The world has gotten smaller as it’s gone more global, and the pressure to do more, faster, with fewer resources hasn’t abated. Most people are juggling the demands of two-income households while trying to keep current with all the chores, tasks, details and information necessary to make informed and wise decisions, not to mention time for family, hobbies, volunteer activities, exercise, socializing, self-improvement ... the list seems endless! And, overwhelming.
We seek balance because we’re stressed. We gravitate toward balance when our activities are not closely enough aligned with our values, or are too taxing to be healthy over the long haul.
But trying to find perfect balance is a pipe dream and wasted effort.
There seems to be more pressure to be successful – in the cultural sense – than ever before. While doing the job of two or three people at work, we’re expected to be exemplary parents, AND also have a life in which we actively enjoy our avocations and hobbies, take superb care of our bodies, spirits and minds. If you think balance needs to be a daily practice, think again. While it’s a wonderful goal, it’s not realistic for most folks. Balance becomes another to-do on an ever expanding and guilt-inducing list.
What if the balance we’re looking for in our lives was more like the balance that nutritionists suggest as a diet? For instance, we don’t need to eat all the proper numbers of servings from the five food groups each and every day, but if we get a good balance over a month, that’s still quite healthy.
Translating that to the bigger picture, that might mean that there are times when we need to work more than usual and other times when we can take more time off; times when we focus more intently on our hobbies and passions, and other times when they go a bit neglected because there are other current important priorities. There may be times when we take really good care of ourselves, and other times when that slips a bit; times where we devote a lot of attention to our family, and other times when there is less energy and daily time to focus on them. And that’s OK – it is as it needs to be.
The aim of balance is to live a well-rounded life, and to renew and refresh your productive and creative energies on a regular basis so you can contribute to the best of your potential. Here are some useful tips to help you achieve a realistic balance:
Look for balance between your values and your financial constraints vs. a satisfying lifestyle, so that you’re living a life that doesn’t wear you out too quickly; one that satisfies and engages your potential over months and years rather than daily or weekly. It’s a much more forgiving intention, more reasonable and sustainable, allowing you to be productive and effective while not overloading you with expectations that just add unnecessary pressure.
If the pursuit of balance is putting you off balance, remember that while it’s a worthy pursuit in moderation, its purpose is to reduce your stress and overwhelm, not add to it. Have fun with it, enjoy it and let it be as “do nothing” as you’d like it, and need it, to be.
About the author:
Kerul Kassel is the author of the newly released “Productive Procrastination” as well as the award-winning “Stop Procrastinating Now.” As the founder of New Leaf Systems – a consulting firm dedicated to creating higher performance outcomes and business profitability – her experience includes investment and real estate management as well as 20 years of leadership in for-profit and non-profit organizations. For more information or for a free “procrastivity” report, visit www.Procrastivity.com.