My name is Tom O’Leary and this is the Time Academy podcast. Today we are talking about finding balance.
Life is in many ways a quest for balance. A balance between doing and being, working and playing, talking and listening, giving and taking…. A balance between the various parts of our lives and even between our physical, emotional and spiritual needs – between our needs and the needs of others. Balance doesn’t necessarily mean equality but there is a sense of being in alignment – of a certain harmony.
It is also something most of us intuitively understand and in fact in some cultures balance is considered another human sense. Indeed, one of the most common conversations I have in my work is around “My life isn’t balanced”. Not everyone will use these words but there is a sense that one or two parts of life are crowding out the others or of not attending to certain parts of ourselves.
- So, let me ask you, are you in balance today?
- If you’re not, what might be keeping you off balance?
- What might need to be shifted to bring you into balance?
- If you feel in balance, what might knock you over?
These are big questions so once again if you feel the need to pause the podcast please hit that button.
Balance is all around us – we simply need to tune into it. Take the case of Mark. When we started working together, Mark was doing 60+ hour work weeks as a high-level manager and had gone back in college to upskill. He wasn’t getting to the gym and his partner was complaining she wasn’t seeing him much. He had missed all sorts of family events and was grumbling that his kids were demanding. It was affecting relationships and was ultimately impacting the quality of his work. He loved everything he was doing but felt so out of alignment with certain parts of his life and with the people around him.
So some of our conversations were naturally around how he might lighten his load in certain areas to free up time and energy but in truth these weren’t the conversations that Mark was asking to have. Those deeper, more powerful conversations were around what was pulling him off-balance. What might balance look like for him and what need to shift to bring that about?
The key point is simply becoming aware of where your life feels balanced and where it doesn’t. Balance is a priority for me personally so I have actually developed my own system around keeping balance in my life. It is the first thing I open in the morning and last thing I shut down at night. If you’re looking for inspiration there is a link in the notes.
Whatever system you use it probably needs to reflect the reality that our lives are split into a whole series of identities and roles and that they each require care and attention. For me, it therefore feels natural to place everything I do into a series of buckets that reflect those various identities and roles. I even have a short aspiration for each one. These can then be guided by nearer-term priorities, which ultimately get broken down into more granular tasks. This gives me a clear view every day, week and month how I’m doing across my life. If I feel I’m not attending to some part of my life I will make it a priority to get more balance.
In closing, let me leave you with this question to take with you as you go through your day:
Where might I benefit from more balance in my life?
Thanks for listening to the Time Academy podcast. I hope this has offered you a slightly different perspective. If you find it helpful please share! I’d also love to get your feedback and hear your stories so please feel free to email me.