Today we’re talking about a topic near and dear to my heart: work-life balance. But first, I need to tell you how much I suck at sports (I promise this will all make sense in a minute).
Sports and I just don’t mix. Seriously, I can’t run, jump, or kick worth a damn.
You’d think that being ambidextrous would have given me some athletic advantages, but no. I’m equally lousy whether I’m throwing a ball with my right or left hand.
Yet I still tried to find the perfect sport for me when I was a kid. I didn’t like feeling left out, and I thought that if I tried enough activities one of them was bound to stick.
In a long list of failed attempts, I tried soccer, baseball, skateboarding, baton twirling, tae kwon do, and ballet. They all left me feeling even more feeble and uncoordinated than before I started.
Finally, I ended up in a gymnastics studio and found an athletic activity that actually worked for me. Not gymnastics exactly—my cartwheels were wobbly and my arms were never strong enough for the uneven parallel bars. A Flying Grayson I’m not.
But on the balance beam I was unstoppable.
My short stature and low center of gravity made strutting along that high beam feel as stable as the sidewalk.
At the time, I loved watching the TV show American Gladiators (this was the 80s after all), especially the event where the contestants try to knock the gladiators off a tall platform. It was a cinch to predict the winners—they were all built like me! Super short, stocky legs, and a wide stance.
Once I discovered my talent for balancing, I was able to find other activities that played to my strength such as hip hop dancing and yoga.
I still practice balancing every day, but now it’s through my work as a coach where I help my clients achieve their perfect work-life balance.
See how I tied that all together?
Finding your balance can take time, and some people are just naturally better at giving equal time to the various areas of their lives.
But there’s a secret trick to balancing that most people never realize. And the truth may surprise you!
Here’s how you can achieve work-life balance.
The Ebb and Flow
The key to balancing anything—your body, your life, a cookie on your dog’s nose—is in the movements.
A person standing on one foot isn’t motionless, even if she appears to be. She’s making tiny adjustments left…then right…then back again. Sometimes the movements are so small you don’t see them happening.
And the person balancing is doing it all on autopilot. It’s second nature.
There is an ebb and flow to your life as well. At times, your spouse or your kids will require more of your attention. Then a big project might cause you to work late hours at the office. You’ll never divide your time equally down to the minute.
I Like to Move It, Move It
Standing perfectly still on a balance beam is actually more difficult than when you’re moving along the length of it.
And it’s much, much easier for you to find work-life balance when you keep yourself moving.
When a client of mine is feeling overwhelmed with all the urgent and important things that demand her attention (family, business, health, etc.), I have her list out all her to-do items by category or by project. Next, we break them down into bite-sized 2-minute tasks.
Then I ask her to complete 2-3 mini tasks from each category. That way she’s moving forward on all her top priorities, balancing her time and energy, and avoiding burnout.
I use the same trick myself on those days when I can’t seem to get my butt in gear (we all have ‘em!). I write a blog post for 30 minutes, then read a magazine for 30 minutes, then answer client emails for 30 minutes, then walk Skyla for 30 minutes, and so on.
I don’t get bored because I get to do my favorite self-care activities sandwiched in between my business work. Mmm…productivity sandwich…
A balanced life is a moving life. Don’t feel guilty about giving the bulk of your time to one activity for a while. You’ll swing back in the other direction soon enough.
How do you balance your days, weeks, and months?
In the comments below, share your best tips for achieving work-life balance.
This post focuses on Step 5 of the Life Editing Process, Make White Space for Personal Self-Care. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.