Home > life > The Balancing Act Called Life

The Balancing Act Called Life

When observing my friends, coworkers, or random strangers, and reflecting on myself, I see one common struggle: balancing your lives and time.

What lives are we talking about? Here are a few to consider:

  • work life
  • home life
  • significant other time
  • friend(s) time
  • social time
  • fitness life

The above are the most important to me (in no particular order), and what I attempt to balance  on a daily basis. I work the ‘830-530’ job and put in hours outside the office; I live at home with my Mom, who still enjoys mother/son time; I have a girlfriend who I enjoy spending time with; I have a lot of friends who I try to keep connected to as best I can; I enjoy being a socialite, attending networking events, happy hours, and going out to eat for 18 meals a day; I am also working on my fitness when possible, and am training for Grandma’s Marathon in June.

How the heck can I balance that?

I don’t. I fail each and every day.

I have not been able to find the balance that allows me to get the required eight hours of sleep, work a complete day, fit a workout in, see my girlfriend, see friends, go out and about on the town, and enjoy quality mom/son time. I find it impossible.

If things were balanced equally, I would get just under three and a half hours of each life listed above. Oh, throw in some sleep as well; three and a half hours is enough, right?

One must consider the resources available to do everything they want. Time. Money. Personnel. Desire. First, “no one has the time” (bull). Second, rarely does someone have all the money needed to be the socialite, the crowd pleaser for their friends, family, and significant over. Third, you may not have the network of people that others possess. Fourth, is what you want actually what you want?

Note how I did not list an order of importance above. That brings to light one of the weaknesses I have; I do not prioritize well. Ones list like mine above must be prioritized. When looking at my list, I know two things: what order they should be in, and what order I actually implement in my life; they are significantly different.

If you are going to make a list, you must prioritize what you want to be doing. Then, you must promise yourself to make time for each ‘bucket’. The claim of ‘I am so busy’ or ‘I don’t have the time…’ are excuses. If you want anything bad enough in life, you make it happen somehow. Do this by making time for what is important. Finally, just do it and make it happen.

What tips or roadblocks do you encounter when trying to balance your life? Please share; I am open to any suggestions that will help myself and others out there.

~J

Twitter: @JasonDouglas

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  1. April 5, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    I have two ways I look at this. Oh, first of all – great post.

    First, I do focus a lot on planning. I review my schedule every Sunday night to determine when I can fit everything it. Does it seem odd to have to “block out time” for a significant other? Yeah, sure it does – but with busy schedules, it is a must. I block out every day and what I don’t get too, I just plan don’t get too.

    Secondly, I look at my hierarchy of needs. This week, what am I in need of most? Perhaps it is alone time, or gym time. Or maybe it is a project that I am working on. Or maybe I need to be with friends. So, I think about the needs and their importance: emotional, monetary, self-sustaining, etc.

    I am sure my comment seems really scientific, but it is an approach that works for me!

    Bob Stanke

  2. Katy
    April 5, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    GREAT post Jason! I actually put sleep as my NUMBER 1 priority because without sleep, I find it hard to do everything else and then it’s hard for me to enjoy doing everything else. After that, the rest kind of follows. During the week, the first priority is being functionable for work and then after that it’s exercise and social time every other day or I combine the two..like biking with a friend. The weekend is time for getting something done around the house; seeing my parents; and at least ONE night to go out with friends and of course, relax. It’s hard to balance all of the things you mentioned but it can be done. Happy balancing to you, sir!

  3. April 5, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Get a dog. No, seriously. I used to always feel the same way about how to spend my time and Sheldon has been the number one life-organizer. Here’s why:

    1. Sheldon is a puppy. He cannot sit in his kennel for more than 10 hours at a time. That means, although I’d like to work longer, I cannot. I have to leave the office no later than 5 to make sure he gets let out. This keeps my workaholism in check. If it were up to me I’d never leave the office. (PS This just means I go home, does not necessarily mean I won’t get on the laptop and finish things up later.)

    2. Sheldon needs walks. He’s extremely active and pretty much demands a walk every other day, if not everyday. Exercise is not a choice for me, I have to take him. Even better, my dog-loving friends will come for walks and runs with us. Two birds with one stone.

    3. I’m pretty sure my immediate family likes Sheldon more than they like me. Me: “Yeah mom, I think I’m coming home this weekend.” Mom: “Did you hear that everyone, SHELDON’S COMING!” Enough said.

    4. I dare you to look at a sleeping puppy and try to not snuggle up with it. Sheldon is the best sleeping pill ever. Plus, he’s basically a slipper when he sleeps on feet.

    I realize this is the most “that girl” comment ever, but I’m happy to report that my life has been much more balanced since I adopted Sheldon.

  4. Glenn
    April 6, 2010 at 7:06 AM

    Great post, Jason. It’s a veritable buffet of food for thought. I recently read a post by someone that said balance is impossible. What a tragedy for someone to think that. As your post implies, balance results from insisting on it. Heidi is right on. Her puppy is a tangible reason for her to insist on balance. In reading your post, I find myself taking stock of the priorities in my life. Maybe they need adjustment. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. John
    April 16, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    That was a really interesting post. We all struggle with balancing our hectic lives and typically end up burnt out if we place too much attention on one aspect of our lives for too long. Even if that aspect is our significant other. I saw that you’re interested in sports; I would love to offer you a free Fathead wall pin up in exchange for a blog post. Email me back if you’re interested.

    Cheers,
    John

  6. April 20, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Interesting post Jason. I think the term balance is often misunderstood. It would be great if someone had a formula to solve for it but truth is, there is never one “right way to do it.” Balance changes everyday with every situation and we learn how to adapt to that in a way that works for us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. May 19, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    Jason, having attempted this for 8 years, with 5 kids, wife, business, etc, etc, etc, I’ve come to the following conclusion and I think Kakieswrite is also on to it, “balance” is Bull. It’s a category of “consultancy” to believe it can be done. It can’t. Read Seth Godin’s The Dip, which basically destroys the notion of balance because what this world rewards are “experts”, people who are really, really good at one thing. Why? Because our consumer society has created the standard as being you can have quality at a low price.

    Godin also says that many people don’t have the willpower to work through the Dip in any given thing. Best example is a workout routine, sure you can do it for 5 weeks, 5 months, but how many do it for 5 years.

    the same is true for our “balanced” life we believe that we can set up a time management structure to deliver optimum output for everything we do. We can’t. Balance instead is really priorities, what are my priorities in life that I will spend the most time perfecting. This also is highlighted in Stephen Covey’s (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) writing about the Urgent vs the Important.

    I’ve found balance will drive you crazy and priorities will reward you.

    • May 19, 2010 at 8:56 AM

      Interesting take, Albert. Balance v. priorities; now you have given me something else to think about ๐Ÿ™‚

      You are correct: balancing, or attempting to balance life will drive you crazy ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading.

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