Ditch the Balancing Act!

Is work-life balance possible? If so, how does one go about achieving it?

For many years we have been hearing about the importance of work-life balance. Perhaps like many of you, for years I have tried to strike the balance and have not been able to do it.

Trying to manage your time in order to attend to all the different areas of life has been a lifelong battle for most of us. Many of us work too much and as result neglect the other areas of our lives, such as family, health, church, and/or friends. On the other hand, some of us give too much focus to our family, church or physical well-being and give the bare minimum at work.

How can we ease the guilt and frustration of trying but being unable to find that elusive work-life balance formula?

Maybe the answer lies not in trying to balance the time, but rather on deciding on where you want to spend your time.

How about shifting the focus from one to the other? In order to do so, you must first determine what is important to you. In other words, what do you most value? The reality is, we give our time and energy to what is most important to us – even when that thing is not good for us, like an addiction. We know addiction to anything is bad, and yet when we are addicted, we make the time to indulge in it.

Begin by deciding what is important to you. Take some time to evaluate your current circumstances and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the non-negotiables in my life?
    These are the first things for which you block out time in your calendar. In my case, that list includes my quiet time to start the day, my physical exercise, and my time with family.
  2. What are the things, although they are important, that I can be flexible with in how and when I attend to them?
    For example, you might want to wash your car, read a book, mow your lawn, or watch a movie. While you would like to get these things done, if necessary these can wait to ensure that you accomplish one of your non-negotiables.
  3. Do I plan my day or does my day happen to me?
    Some people take the time to plan their week in advance. They account for every hour of each day. Others just go about each day doing what comes next with no plan of how and where they want to spend their time. Which is more descriptive of you?

When you can identify the things that are important to you and allot the time needed to accomplish them, you will almost certainly discover you feel less stressed, happier and more at peace. Stress is usually due to the frustration you feel because you are aware that the most important things are not getting the time they need.

In identifying what is most important, you take the initiative to make the time for what is of greatest importance to you, rather than being distracted by other things and hoping that you will have time to do what really matters someday.

Let me offer a word of caution. Life is not perfect, so don’t try to be a perfectionist when it comes to deciding where you want to spend your time. While this approach will help you to set boundaries around your time, you also need to be flexible and willing to make necessary adjustments when the situation demands it.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at errol@errolcarrim.com to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.