Life is filled with time-consuming, exhausting commitments. Between your numerous responsibilities, sometimes it can feel like life is pulling you in a million different directions. And you just can’t keep up.
- You exercise.
- You spend time with friends.
- You have work commitments.
- Your kids need help with their homework.
- You have errands to run.
- You have a house to maintain.
The list can seem to go on forever. Often, you wish you could find a little more balance.
But here’s the thing about work/life balance: it doesn’t exist. Work/life balance falsely assumes that you are able to equally distribute your time, energy, and focus in both your personal and professional life. You’ll never have that perfect balance. So, stop striving for it. Instead, work toward what you can attain: a rhythm that works for you and your lifestyle.
No two people share the exact same responsibilities in life, so you shouldn’t try to follow anyone else’s example. You have to experiment to find the pace that works best for you.
To find that perfect pace, look at the example that nature sets. During the 365 days of each year, there are only 2 days of perfect balance. On the spring and fall equinox, day and night are both exactly 12 hours. Every other day of the year, day and night are never in perfect balance. The two are constantly fluctuating in length, and one is always longer than other.
Think about finding your pace also in terms of nature. More specifically, look at the four seasons.
During winter, roots dig deep into the earth to find nutrients that they use to replenish and prepare for springtime. You should have time set aside in your days, weeks, and months to gather “nutrients” to spur your personal and professional growth.
For most people, having time alone is a great way to recharge. You should regularly set aside time that is just for you, spent doing whatever feeds you the nutrients you need to grow. If you’re a morning person, wake up early to meditate or read. Take time to do things that you enjoy. Time spent on yourself is time well spent.
Throughout the day, pause for breaks to maximize productivity. There should be time in your schedule that isn’t filled with errands or commitments. Without those empty spaces, your brain will be overworked, and you’ll be less likely to have new ideas and insights that will fuel your work.
Spring is the time for new ideas and insights. It means new beginnings and growth. Remember to declutter. What might be hinder your growth? If you’re holding on to remnants of the past that you don’t need, let go. Declutter your office of old paperwork and project folders. Throw away the old and prepare for the new.
The decluttering should also extend to your mental space. Ask yourself: do the projects you’re working on align with those goals and values? If not, it’s time for a change! Embrace it and move forward with your life. Spring is the time to figure out what you truly want. Make new commitments, start new projects, and take advantage of new opportunities.
Summer is your chance to nurture what you started in the spring. Whether it’s in your personal or your professional life, growing takes cultivation. What do you need to ensure a successful harvest later on?
This is the time for action. No more planning or waiting to pursue those dreams and goals. Just do it! If you’re serious about accomplishing your goals, you can expect a lot of hard work will take place during this season. As this work begins to pay off, you may start to see small blooms. But you’ll only get to see the full blooms later if you keep at it. It will be challenging, but in the end, it will be worth it. Don’t give up now. Focus on what lies ahead and keep moving forward.
When you arrive in fall, you get to reap the rewards of what you’ve faithfully sewn. Put all your energy into that one last push to accomplish your end of the year goals.
Then you get to celebrate! Be thankful for the people in your life who have been there for you along the way. Take pride in your personal and professional achievements. It’s okay to pat yourself on the back during this season. You deserve it!
You may also find that you’re unhappy with your accomplishments if you didn’t meet your goals. Either way, take time to reflect on how your year has gone. What did you do well? What could you have done differently? Think about what changes you want to make next year, and what successful habits you want to keep.
Putting It All Together
Stop investing in the lie of life balance. Focus your energy on what is possible: finding the pace that fits with your lifestyle. There are different seasons for different phases and aspects of life.
Without winter, you won’t be refreshed or fueled. You’ll wither away before you get the chance to really see what you can achieve.
If you move past spring, you’ll be stuck in the past. You won’t get to experience the change that is necessary to move you forward in your career or your relationships.
Without leaving room for summer, your dreams and goals won’t be healthy. You won’t give them the time or attention they need to bloom in full force.
Finally, no fall would mean no harvest, which would mean no rewards. You must finish what you started, celebrate your accomplishments, and evaluate your progress.
So, take an honest look at your schedule. Where should each season go?
Carson Tate is a renowned coach, teacher, and creator of the Productivity Style Assessment® with expertise in providing simple solutions that transform individuals’ personal and professional lives. Learn more about her philosophy and strategies for productivity by visiting http://www.workingsimply.com/