The myth about balance and how to get it back
Life just gets busier and busier, doesn’t it? You’d think that the longer we spend on Earth the more efficient we’d become with our time. It seems that with each stage of life there’s something new that comes into the mix and soaks up any time we once had spare. Only we didn’t realise we had any “spare” time to begin with. That’s because we don’t. There are 24 hours in the day and, every day, you use them up. So how can we ever achieve balance? Well, it will help if we recognise the single greatest myth about balance…
Balance is about singular focus, not multi-tasking
I am the first to admit that I cannot multi-task. Just ask my husband. If I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, I cannot engage in serious two-way conversation. My focus is on the task at hand – cooking dinner, which I find therapeutic.
As a child, did you ever walk along a balance beam? Your mind is focused on performing that one task. What do you think would happen if you got distracted by another child in the playground and you took your eye of your focal point? You’d lose balance and you’d fall off.
This happens to us in life. We can get distracted by all the things we’ve got going on in our lives and all the opportunities that are presented to us. When we don’t allow our focus to rest on one thing at a time, we can lose balance and “fall off the wagon”. Who can blame us? It’s only natural.
You wouldn’t expect a child to walk a balance beam while catching a football, twirling a hoola hoop, reciting their times tables and practicing for the spelling bee. So why are we are we so hard on ourselves? How can we possibly expect to “balance” all the things we’ve got going on in our lives?
3 tips to get balance back in your life
1. Recognise that multi-tasking is not sustainable. You might be OK for the short-term, but it’s only so long before something gives. If/when that happens, don’t beat yourself up. Remember, it’s only natural.
2. Shift from multi-focus to singular focus. When you’re at work, you’re at work – stop worrying about the kids. When you’re with the kids, give them you’re full attention – stop worrying about work.
3. Meditate daily. This will help you shift to singular focus. Don’t worry, this is not “just another thing” you have to do. All you need is five minutes. Just five minutes of guided meditations each day can teach you how to be present. When you’re present, you’re more alert, aware and your attention is focused.
Balance is not a competition. It’s not about how much we can take on at any one time. Balance is about discipline; focus; attention. If something is important to you, you will have the discipline required to allocate time for it (note: I didn’t say “make time”, because you can’t). Be present and focus your attention on the task at hand. And go easy on yourself, because, at the end of thee day, you’re just like that kid on the balance beam.