Consider this idea- the only time objects are balanced is when they are not moving. So why do we expect ourselves to have balance when our lives are in constant motion? Balance also implies equal weight in each area which simply cannot happen if you are being present because you can’t be everywhere all at once.
People ask me, “how do you balance it all?” The answer is simple- I don’t. So, what do I do?
The answer is that I am intentional with how I spend my time. I am committed to intentional imbalance. There are days, or weeks, or even months of my life where I have to be more committed in one area of my life than another. Right now, I spend most of my time with my 11-month old son and it’s a luxury that I can make that choice. Sure, I really want to spend more time training or working because I love what I do, but I know that quality time with my son is the most important thing to me right now. He is changing so fast and I don’t want to miss it! When race season ramps back up, I’ll intentionally be choosing to spend more time sharpening my fitness. And even within all of my different work projects, I have to “balance” what I spend my time on. Some days are more focused on podcasts, Mondays are for my newsletter that you’re reading today, other days are for content planning, and others are focused more primarily on training and mobility. Batching your time is helpful!
Intentional imbalance sounds good, but how do you actually do it? The first step to clarity is knowing what your priority is. I find that the busier I get, the more clear I get on my priority because I don’t have time to waste. I look at deadlines and what will make me feel more fulfilled that day or week. Careful time management and having a routine are also crucial for intentionally spending your time. I do this with a spreadsheet where I map out how I want to spend my week so I know where to spend my time. Flexibility is also part of time management – that may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes tasks take longer than you think they will. Sometimes something comes up that has to take the place of something else planned that day.
It takes a little bit of self-awareness to realize how you feel in the moment and create a pause when you get distracted. Distraction and lack of focus can derail your time management and chosen intentions for how you want to spend your time. Being aware of when you are distracted and off-task will help you get time back. You can train your attention with a mindfulness-based practice.
So don’t worry if you aren’t balanced – you are doing awesome!