Rethinking Life Balance

By Catherine Lang-Cline

You can find countless books and articles about how to achieve life balance. It seems like there are a number of ways people believe that this can be achieved but perhaps we need to rethink the concept. What if it wasn’t just a balance, what if it was just life as we choose it.

Being a person with a career; as well as, having a family does present some challenges in that I want to have time for everything. Ultimately it comes down to choice. Let’s think of life balance more as a juggling act. Everything that you treasure and find important is represented as one of those balls that you are trying to juggle. Some of those balls a fragile and some are a little more durable and can afford to be dropped. Regardless of their makeup, the balls that make up your life need to keep moving. That is unless you choose to put it down.

What I am trying to illustrate here is that all of it, all of it, is your life and you must choose the importance of each. Only you can choose how you will be spending your time. There is no magic formula to put more time into your day. So what gets priority?

You may be rocking that career ball 7 days a week knowing that the balls containing family, friends, wellness, or whatever will always be in slow circulation. That is until you or a family member gets ill. Maybe an accident occurs changing the entire performance you are trying to pull off. Now the game has changed and a different ball has just taken priority. What happened to the career ball? It might have to get put to the side for a while but just like everything else, it can’t get put aside for too long without the chance of losing it entirely. That goes for everything. Some days, your career is going to have to come first and get all of the attention. If that continues for too long, what suffers? Are you neglecting family, friends, or your health? All of these things need to rise up to the same level of importance knowing that some days that balance may be off.

Based on my own experience, I really try to keep the job between the hours of 9-5. Is that realistic? No. Some days I have an early meeting and other days I have an evening event. Those days the balance is off and I know that I have to make up time elsewhere. Which can mean, no work on the weekend as it is now reserved for family and a good run. How do you keep it straight and balanced? Schedule it. Every appointment you have for work you can counter with an appointment for working out or attending a family member’s event or painting or gardening. Maybe it is just a night out. Maybe you break for dinner with friends or family only to get back to work immediately after. Book it, move it around but don’t delete it. Give it the same priority as a work task. In the long run, you will not wish that you spent more time working, but rather spent more time with family or spent more time on yourself. 

In order to achieve any type of life balance, every aspect of your life needs the same weight. Or knowingly give it less? Which would have less importance; your health, your family, your job? It’s your choice. If these are all truly equal, treat them as all truly equal. Don’t work through the workout, don’t miss dinner with friends and family. Yes, on occasion, life may deal that card to you with a project that must be completed. Make that time up during the family vacation.