Living an Unbalanced Life
One of the things that I am struggling with this year is finding a balance to my life. It feels as if everything from my personal life to my work life is off-kilter this year. Hopefully though, the following lessons I have been learning this year will help you find some more balance in your life.
No is a Strong Word
There is a great song from the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown in which Sally Brown uses the word no as her great new philosophy for life. While the word no is not a philosophy, it is a really strong word. For Sally, saying no was easy. For the rest of us, that simple two-letter word is one of the hardest things we say. Why is that?
For me, saying no means that I might disappoint someone who is trusting in me. Can you? Will you? Those questions always bring up turmoil inside me, because I think that I can surely fit one more thing into my life. Then after I commit to it, I realize that I really can’t fit one more thing in. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair once said, “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” Maybe one day it will be almost as easy to say no in the right times.
There are Others
The other problem with saying no is that it means trusting that someone else will say yes and that the other person will do a good job. In reality, there are plenty of other people who are willing to step up. They will probably do an even better job because they will be able to devote more time and energy than a stressed out me will ever be able to give.
Clear the Clutter
One lesson I have learned well during this overwhelming year is the need for removing the clutter from my life. If I overcommit myself, I must take at least a small amount of time to bring order to the chaos. That includes prioritizing what deserves my attention, removing unnecessary distractions, and allowing myself to be unavailable sometimes. I have found that sometimes I have to force myself to leave my email alone for long periods of time, not answer my phone every time it rings, and horror upon horrors, not check Facebook for a while. In reducing the extra clutter in my life, I find that I have a little more time for the things I have committed to doing.
Still In Progress
While I certainly do not profess to have put any of the above into completely successful practice, I am finding that I am starting to rely on them more. I have no choice. An unbalanced life will attempt to right itself on its own either by sliding into a less stressful position or by sliding you into exhaustion to where you cannot accomplish anything. Hopefully, you and I will find balance rather than the alternative.