When it comes to achieving life balance, most people tend to get it wrong. It’s not your fault – it’s the way you’ve been taught to think about it that leads to feelings of frustration when the balance you seek remains elusive. In this post, I will share with you the most common mistake people make when trying to achieve balance in life, and what you can do instead.
The Mistake: Thinking balance is a static thing
Thinking of balance as a static thing is easy to understand when you consider the dictionary defines balance as an “equal distribution of weight” (dictionary.com). The mistake people make when trying to find some balance in their lives is to think that achieving it is a one-time thing, and once you’ve got it, it should look the same and stay the same day after day after day.
In truth, however, no one’s life looks the same every single day. Things happen at home, at work, in your relationships, and even outside of them that will affect how you manage your day. If you go into it thinking everything should look just like it did yesterday then you are asking to be let down and left wondering where your balance disappeared to.
What You Can Do Instead
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the key to achieving life balance lies in the ability to stay flexible.
Instead of trying to force your life into neat little evenly-proportioned boxes, allow yourself to go with the flow and adapt to events as they happen. Keep an open mind and use your problem-solving skills to adapt to whatever challenges you may be facing.
Three Ways To Be More Flexible When Looking for Balance
If you’re wondering how to flexibility leads to balance, here are a few ideas to get you thinking about what you do when life throws you a curve-ball.
1. Leave room for change
A completely balanced, filled-in schedule leaves no room for those things that come up unexpectedly. If you open hours where nothing is scheduled, you have options to move things around if you need to. If everything flows according to how you’ve planned it, then you’ll also have effectively built it an hour or two of self-care time for yourself – something we can all use more of!
2. Have a backup plan
A common tendency when planning is to underestimate the time it takes to complete a project or task. If your concept of balance is rigid and inflexible, this can lead to extra stress because you haven’t planned for any type of setback.
When your concept of balance is more flexible, there is a tendency to build in back-up plans or at least allow for the possibility of needing extra time to finish a task, or get the kids across town. This is not to imply you should plan for failure, but to accept that in the world of juggling your job, family obligations, and taking care of yourself, things rarely flow as planned. Having the option of a backup plan relieves some of the stress of being tied to an inflexible schedule.
3. Be willing to communicate
The worst thing you can do when creating balance in your own life is to work in a vacuum. How you achieve balance in your life will affect those around you, especially if you’re trying to juggle work and family.
Keeping the lines of communication open with your spouse/partner, your children, and your co-workers will help provide ideas and solutions when your need for balance comes up. Instead of creating more stress for yourself by thinking you have to do it all alone, talking to the other parties involved can help you come up with solutions you may not have considered.
Achieving life balance really comes down to how well you are able to handle and adapt to change. By keeping an open mind and a willingness to be flexible, you can have the balance you seek in your life.