Balance, we talk about it, long for it and strive for it. STOP!
You can’t achieve it, don’t try.
Find a new word! Balance by definition is “all things equal”. Just think about a balance scale. When the scale is balanced there are two things of equal weight. When we spend so much time talking about “balance” (IE: Work/life balance) we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. We can’t achieve “equal” parts of “personal time” “family time” “work time” “physical activity time” “personal development” “sleep” “social time” etc. etc. Years ago I began to use the word “integration” to replace balance in my vocabulary.
Integration is finding the appropriate “weight” for each activity in my life. It’s an ever ebbing and flowing concept. To make sure I have the appropriate “integration” in my life I first have to make sure I know what my big “categories” are: family (nurturing, teaching, cleaning, eating, fun, learning together), Physical (working out), Intellectual (reading books, blogs, news etc.) Relationships (maintaining, developing w/family and friends) Spiritual (relationship with God, prayer, service). These are the categories/activities/events that really matter in my life, the things that I want incorporated into my life each week. I don’t want balance (equal parts), I want a nice integration of them all.
For example:I like to run for 30 minutes. I don’t want to spend as much time running as I spend with my family! But I want to make sure that some time in my week is dedicated to getting outside and running. I love to read, I could spend all day reading, but my family (and I, most of the time) don’t want to sacrifice quality time with my family over a book, but sometimes, the quality of time with my family is better if I have read a little bit of something! Integration helps me understand what is important, and find the proper ratio in a 24 hour day for all of the things that matter.
❧ Do you strive for balance? Does integration make sense to you?
❧ What are your “big categories?”
❧ What would a successfully “integrated” day look like in your life?