How do I Gain a Sense of Balance in my Life?

wiseGEEK Writer

Many people search for the elusive “sense of balance” in their lives, which can help them feel as though all aspects of life are conducted in an equitable way. There are whole sections of bookstores full of books recommending how to achieve this balance, and people might look at websites or attend lectures given by motivational speakers to find out how to live a more balanced life. One of the key factors of achieving this sense of balance is time management, and other important things include learning how to organize time, how to say no to activities that throw life out of balance, and how to advocate in the workforce for ways in which all aspects of life can be managed more effectively.

Setting time aside for family activities can help a person gain a sense of balance.
Setting time aside for family activities can help a person gain a sense of balance.

Perhaps one of the best ways to determine if life is in balance is to make an assessment of how time is currently used. This should be as accurate and precise as possible. How many minutes does it take to commute to work? How much time is actually spent there? How does this compare to time spent pursuing pleasurable activities or spending time with family? Just as people might do with a budget list, taking an honest assessment of imbalanced factors and trimming where possible may help achieve a greater sense of balance.

Families can rally around a child's participation in a sport.
Families can rally around a child's participation in a sport.

Most people look at these lists and can feel highly frustrated. Maybe they sense they can’t change certain aspects of their life. Work will require people showing up and working a certain amount of hours. Kid’s participation in extracurricular activities seems necessary. Looking at this composed “time sheet” can make people feel as though there is nothing to cut and no way life will ever have a sense of balance.

To foster strong bonds and a sense of balance, strive to have as many family meals as possible each week.
To foster strong bonds and a sense of balance, strive to have as many family meals as possible each week.

When frustration feels high, put the list away for a few days. Then go back to it. For each item on that list ask whether it is actually necessary or merely desirable. For instance, it may seem a child needs to take ballet, acting and art classes, which means driving all over town and cutting down on time for family dinner. But truly, a child doesn’t need all these classes. Decide which one is most enjoyed and trim the other two off the list, providing more free time for child and parent.

Some people work from home and try to balance their job and family commitments.
Some people work from home and try to balance their job and family commitments.

Similarly, some work activities can be cut or curtailed. It isn’t necessary, under most circumstances to volunteer for extra work or be the person who always organizes extracurricular work activities. Achieving a sense of balance in one respect means being able to say no to extra activities that don’t fall within the province of the job for which a person is paid. It’s easy enough to say, “I need to spend some extra time at home right now,” as a simple excuse for withdrawing from certain activities.

It's important for people to separate their work and school responsibilities from their home life.
It's important for people to separate their work and school responsibilities from their home life.

Some companies have become more aware of workers’ needs for flexibility. While this won’t work in all cases, advocate for flextime schedules if a company doesn’t have them currently, and take advantage of them when they do. Sometimes merely shifting when a person heads to and departs from work can create a more balanced feel.

Taking time to stay at home and enjoy a movie can bring balance to life.
Taking time to stay at home and enjoy a movie can bring balance to life.

People should also look at things that may be combined. Can the trip to drop Jenny off for ballet include a trip to the grocery store too? Find things on the list, like watching three hours of TV at night or empty time of other types that can be cut and reorganized into meaningful activities. TV viewing could become family game night or a chance to take a yoga class.

Many bookstores offer an extensive self-help section.
Many bookstores offer an extensive self-help section.

When achieving a sense of balance is still difficult, it may be time to take advantage of some of the books on this topic. They generally have many more suggestions that can help people restructure time, find time to pursue joyful activities and learn to be assertive in the workplace. Even though it can take yet more time to read one of these books, in the end the result of having a more balanced life may be helpful.

Yoga might help restore a sense of balance.
Yoga might help restore a sense of balance.

Lastly, life will get out of balance at times. Some people believe the idea of “balance” is a myth. Complications arise, people get sick, jobs get lost and any number of things can occur that cause people to shift focus to a specific aspect of life. These situations usually do calm down after a while and allow people to return to more balanced living.

Kid's should be encouraged to take on an extracurricular activity, such as learning an instrument.
Kid's should be encouraged to take on an extracurricular activity, such as learning an instrument.
Feelings of anxiety are often part felt by people who don't have a sense of balance.
Feelings of anxiety are often part felt by people who don't have a sense of balance.
Making time for family can help give a person a sense of balance in his or her life.
Making time for family can help give a person a sense of balance in his or her life.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

Amphibious54

@ Babalaas- You make a good point about balancing personal, work, and economic goals. I am a believer that a diverse life is a balanced life, but I also believe that sometimes less is more.

It is easy to overextend yourself. This often results in conflicts between social, family, and professional life. People often add activities to their day that they do not want to do. These activities take away from precious time, and force them to compromise other activities.

I have had to ask myself many times, is there a reason I am doing this activity, or paying for this service? Is it worth my time? Once I weeded out low priority activities, I found I did not miss them much.

Babalaas

Finding balance in life can be tough. I don't know if anyone can honestly say his or her life is completely balanced, but I think you can feel at peace with yourself. The article talked about the importance of time management, but I also think goals are important.

When I talk about goals, I don't only mean work goals or economic goals. I mean anything that gives someone optimism about the future, and a sense of achievement once a goal is accomplished. For this reason, it is important to establish realistic goals for both the short-term and the long-term.

Goals like spending two hours a day with family will definitely help in pursuing a sense of balance. Having a goal of working at what you love will also help you feel like life is balanced.

Your goals should push you, but also make you happy. They should also help you lead a balanced life.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: