“Some nights you drink tea, some nights you drink whiskey.” – Atticus
For some odd reason we think that balance finds us. That if we work hard enough and fast enough that the balance between all of our priorities will work their own way out.
For me this was the quickest way to failure.
Through trial and tribulation I have discovered that in fact, I was the one that had to purposefully SEEK the balance. When I thought that the balance would find me, that it would naturally sort it’s way out I fell into a mess of emotions and feelings of being overwhelmed.
In a nutshell, I travel at least once a month, curate and manage social media for my employer’s brand, am a freelancer writer, a blogger, and am building an online audience. On top of this I have to keep up with friends, family, my health, and my own hobbies.
Just typing that reminds me of the days where I couldn’t handle it all (though I can honestly say that those days still happen) I’ve now realized how to make them few and far between.
What I’ve found is that work is hard, staying in touch with friends and family can be hard, creating personal time for yourself is hard, and maintaining a social life is hard. Yet as you take on more responsibility and become a master of each craft individually something happens.
Yes, as terrible as it sounds let me remind you that the truth is what will set you free.
When you are able to whole heartedly fail at trying to balance it all is when you will find the balance you have been seeking.
When I first started writing and managing social media accounts I dove so deeply into it that it was my life.
I didn’t go out with friends. I didn’t go on dates. I didn’t read books. I stopped everything for my career.
Unsurprisingly, I burnt right out. My mind hit a point where it actually felt like my creativity had been turned off like a switch. I had gone from 0-60 and was pressing the pedal as far down as I could but my vehicle couldn’t take me any farther because I had driven it straight out of gas.
I had failed.
Or more so, I THOUGHT that I had failed because I thought that i was supposed to go all in on my career and that somehow everything else would fall into place.
It turns out that what I did was fail forward. I failed in such a way that it taught me a valuable lesson.
I learned that finding the balance between my work, my relationships with friends and family, my social life, and my love life was going to be something that I had to put a conscious effort into.
If I spent everyday with my nose to the grindstone, I realized that one day I would turn 30 and my twenties would be gone. I would have spent all of that time working and not…living.
This scared me. I had already lost precious months of my 25th year and I didn’t want to lose anymore.
So I purposefully sought balance.
I figured out what I was willing to let slide and what I wasn’t. For me, this meant that my priorities lied with my friends, family, career travel and health. I am willing to let my dating life slide to the wayside temporarily while I learn how to expertly balance these five extremely important facets of my life.
I’ll prioritize a full day of being able to work versus a full day of being hungover-but not if I haven’t gone out with my friends in over 3 weeks.
I’ll prioritize making sure that I make it to the gym-but not if I haven’t Facetimed with my Dad in over two weeks.
The thing about balance is that it’s a daily performance. Everyday you get on the teeter totter and you figure out how you’re going to balance this day.
What did you prioritize yesterday that can be swapped for something else today?
By purposefully finding the balance on a daily basis you learn how to maintain it.
As enticing as it may seem to focus on one thing only, I can tell you from experience that it will run you into a hole. Your work will suffer, your relationships will suffer and inevitably so will you.
So ask yourself:
What are the top 5 things that I need to find a balance between?
What have I been slacking on lately that I need to prioritize?
What have I been focusing on too much that can temporarily go to the wayside?
Am I making myself happy? What can I add or subtract that will make me happier?
When it comes down to it this balance is merely just a ploy for creating happiness and making sure that we are doing what we feel is right.
By creating this balance you will fall into happiness. You will be able to create the balance that feels good to you and that in turn makes you feel successful and capable.
Some nights you drink tea and read a book. Other nights you pour some whiskey and you have yourself a night.