Balance Is Hard
Keeping things in my life in balance is really hard for me, I don’t think I’m alone in this. It’s been something that I’ve been spending some additional time addressing recently. Here are a few examples of my difficulty with balance and how I’m trying to work on them. You may find some of my attempted solutions helpful as you look for balance in your own life.
Family Life vs. Work
I fear one of these two taking over my life entirely to the detriment of the other. I worry that I won’t be focusing on one or the other as much as I should and they will both fall apart. I want to make sure that I’m spending as much time with my family as possible, while still focusing on my career which is personally fulfilling and also enables me to further provide for and spend time with my family.
Attempted Solution: My current approach to making sure this in balance is two fold:
a) Setting up clear lines between the two of them. I try to make sure that I’m fully focused on work when I’m at work, and fully focused on my family when I’m at home. I try to keep work outside of the family time. I get up early in the mornings to work while my family sleeps, I also leave the office as early as possible so that I can spend time with the family in the evenings.
b) Spend quality time with the family when I don’t have much quantity to give. Since I do spend most of the day the office, I try to make sure that the time that I spend with the family is quality time. It’s not always easy when I come home from the office tired. But I try to make sure that we do quality activities together, not just zone out in front of the TV.
Being present and enjoying the now vs. Planning for the future and not becoming complacent
I have a hard time appreciating my current circumstances because I compare them with what I ultimately want. I end up missing out on some really great moments because I’m not focused on the now. I spend too much time planning and thinking about the future rather than enjoying what I have now. I know from experience that I’m going to miss this time in my life. Looking back at certain points in my life that were objectively worse are some of my fondest memories, but I remember not fully enjoying them at the time. The flip side is to focus entirely on the now and not pay any mind to the future, which can mean getting stuck in the now and not reaching my goals and progressing beyond my current circumstances.
Attempted Solution: I setup times to review my goals and make sure I’m on track. It’s a combination of daily, weekly and monthly reviews. With scheduled times to make sure I’m ultimately on track, I’m able to fully enjoy the now, knowing that I can check myself and my direction soon. I don’t have to worry about the bigger picture every second of the day, I just make adjustments as I review them during those pre-determined times.
Habits and routines vs. Being spontaneous and being able to adjust to changing circumstances
I love finding the most efficient way to do something. I love being able to figure out a routine that works and then just turn it into a habit and forget about it. This is great for menial tasks that can be semi-automated, allowing me to focus on other things. I no longer have to worry about them getting done, I just do them because they are habits. The dark side of this is that I can’t adapt well to changing circumstances. If I get up late or don’t follow the usual routine for some reason it throws the entire flow off and that can ruin my day.
Attempted Solution: I setup habits that allow for some flexibility. I don’t sweat small changes in my routine. I make sure that I have enough margin in my day to allow for those deviations. I work hard to not let small deviations in my routines and plans throw my entire day off track. I’m working on disconnecting my routines from specific times, making them more independent so I can hop in and out of the flow when I’m able to.
I know that finding balance in my life will always be a process and I’m hoping that some of these attempted solutions will help in keeping my life in balance. What are some things that you struggle with keeping in balance? What do you do to try and make sure they remain in balance?