Why It’s Time To Immediately Stop Seeking Perfect Balance
As we launch ourselves into 2022, it is time to throw away some old ideas and start fresh. The first concept to throw in the fire is balance. The search for perfect balance between work, home, and self is a hot issue. One, I believe we are looking at all wrong. An idea that sets us up for failure. Time to say goodbye to perfect balance and hello to something better.
Balance is a Myth
Achieving the perfect work/life balance while also balancing the needs of the self is a myth. Not only a myth, but this perfect balance is an unattainable goal that simply sets us up to be disappointed. You are one person. Looking at your life, there is work that requires 100 percent of your attention, home that requires 100 percent of your attention, and self that also requires 100 percent of you. Each part needs 100 percent on its own. The math does not exist to balance this equation because there is only one of you. One person equaling 100 percent staring at needs that equal 300 percent. To achieve balance, cloning is required, or a village of people to help, or a billion dollars to hire things out. So, the question becomes, how is this equation solved without splitting myself into three frazzled and stressed-out parts?
Not Balance – Choices
The answer is not balance; it is choices. As individual human beings with multiple roles, we must choose what needs our attention at present. Each role will receive a different percentage of the pie depending on the immediate needs. The most important thing to remember is that the pie always equals 10 percent. So as our daily tasks unfold, sometimes work is allotted 75 percent home 20 percent, and self 5 percent. At other times home may need 95 percent, we give work 4 percent, and we get 1 percent. None of these combinations is a failure. Each combination reflects meeting the needs presented. The ratio of attention will shift regularly. Your job is to make good choices, not give everything equal time and attention. Instead of seeking balance, look to make intelligent choices based on current circumstances.
Self-Care is an Evil Thing
The social media influencers of the world will tell you self-care requires 100 percent of your attention, and you are failing miserably if you are not making it a top priority. On the contrary, this form of self-care is evil and again sets one up for failure. If self-care stresses you out, it is toxic and needs to be erased from your vocabulary. Of course, we all need to take care of ourselves. It is a basic human need. Caring for oneself is imperative if we are going to care for others. How you choose to do it is completely up to you! I don’t know about you, but I don’t need another 17 things to add to my to-do list in the name of self-care. Can there be another way to fill my bucket without adding to my load?
Despite hating the concept as presented on social media, I am in favor of caring for myself so that I can do the things required in my other roles. Some days this means I order take-out instead of cooking dinner. On another day, it means I leave the dishes in the sink and read a book for 15 minutes. Movement helps me cope, so I juggle the schedule to fit in the gym. My self-care routine changes daily. It is dependent on my individual needs, not a standard formula. I challenge you to figure out what you need instead of looking at what other people say you need.
Success Requires Realistic Expectations
Equally important to making good choices is setting realistic expectations. If you truly understand that at this moment, work gets 75 percent, home gets 20 percent, and self gets 5 percent, do not set expectations that require 100 percent in each category. Raise your hand if your to-do list represents a week’s worth of work that you plan to do in one day. My hand is raised to the ceiling! I grossly underestimate how long tasks take and how many waking hours are in a day when writing my lists. My goal for 2022 is to have the terminal to-do list, which represents me dumping all the thoughts in my head onto paper, and making my daily to-do list realistic. Realistic goals require prioritizing. Prioritizing takes us back to making choices. In 2022 instead of seeking balance, I will focus my energy on making realistic choices based on prioritizing the tasks in front of me.
Enough Talk About Balance
As we tiptoe into 2022, let us focus our energy on prioritizing tasks instead of seeking perfect balance. Instead of trying to give everything equal energy, let’s make choices to prioritize the needs in front of us and give each their realistic amount of time and energy. You do not need to be everything to everyone all the time. Balance is a myth. Prioritize your energy and know that you are doing enough.
- Photo titled Balance by akinbostanci from Getty Images Signature found and formatted on Canva.com