Quick Tip: Work-Life Balance is a Myth, Sorry to Break it to You


How do you make sure you get “all of the things” in your life taken care of on a daily basis?

I started rereading the book The ONE Thing recently, and the chapter I read yesterday was talking about balance.

Or, perhaps more importantly, how true balance in life is a myth.

The Myth of Balance

In theory, balance is a good thing.

But in the real world, balance is nothing more than a pipe dream.

Balance doesn’t work in real life because of the simple fact that when things are in balance they are even.

So in order to achieve balance in the real world, that would mean that everything would have to be even.

So if work/life balance is your goal, that means that you need to allot the same amount of time/energy/attention to your work as you do to every other area of your life. Your spouse/partner. Kids. Running. Sleeping. Meal prep/eating. Self-care.

In short, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to achieve balance between all of the various components in your life.

The key, at least according to the book, is to forgo the ideal of balance and replace it with focus and intention.

When you are at work, focus on doing your job to the best of your ability. Don’t think about what you’re going to make for dinner that night, how your child did on his or her test at school, or anything else.

When you’re at work, you should be 100% at work.

And then when you leave the office? You shift your focus 100% to whatever area of your life is next.

Maybe that’s your running. Or your spouse/partner. Maybe it’s making dinner or relaxing in a hot bath.

Being completely invested in what you are doing at the moment is the opposite of balance. It’s a constant ebb and flow, rise and fall.

It’s a constant ebb and flow. A rise and fall.

Think of when you were a kid and you got on the teeter-totter at the park. How much fun is a teeter-totter when there is a balance?

Not much. But what about when it’s going up and down?

Balance in Your Running

I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently from folks struggling to balance running with the other areas/demands of life or to balance running with doing all of the little things that I talk about so frequently.

You can probably guess where I’m going to go with this.

Achieving balance between your running and the rest of your life is most likely not going to happen.

Sorry

But that said, I get what you’re looking for.

You’re looking for a way to find the time to train and be a parent and do the little things and work and be a good partner and recovery properly and so on and so forth.

There’s no easy way to make this happen. And there’s certainly no “one-size-fits-all” solution that will work for everyone that reads this post or listens to the audio.

Shoot, there is no solution that will work for you on a daily basis!

There are too many twists and turns in life to think that you’ll be able to find time for all of the things on a daily basis.

Instead, what you may want to do is embrace the fact that in your running there are ups and downs. Ebbs and flows. Smooth sailing and rough water.

How do you do that?

It’s up to you. You have to figure out what works for you today with the understanding that you may have to tweak your formula tomorrow.

But here are some of the ways that I find “balance” in my running. Hopefully, they will help you figure out what will work for you.

Prioritize What is Important:

What are the most important things in your life?

Make sure to take care of those things first.

Be Flexible:

Life is going to happen.

Part of finding/maintaining “balance” is being able to roll with the punches.

Adapt or adjust, and keep going.

Look for Opportunities in Random Places:

As far as I can tell, most of the complaints about a lack of “balance” revolve around not having enough hours in the day to do all the things.

One thing I’ve talked about before is the idea of “inventing” time. You may not be able to literally add hours to your day, but can you “borrow” time to roll your feet at work by keeping a golf ball in your desk drawer? Or get some squats in when you are loading/unloading the dishwasher? Do toe yoga while brushing your teeth?

There are opportunities to improve your “balance” if you just look hard enough.

Course Correct and Just Keep Going

At the end of the day, finding actual balance may never happen.

But in order to ever get a feeling of balance, one of the most important things you should do is make near-constant subtle corrections.

Have you ever looked down at your foot/ankle while you’re balancing on one foot?

There are little muscles firing and subtle shifts and movements happening that are vital to keeping you upright and stable on one foot.

Without even thinking about it, your body is constantly doing what it needs to do keep you upright.

It’s rare that a major movement is required. In fact, most of the time the major movements lead to a loss of balance completely.

But the subtle course corrections work.

So when you’re trying to find a feeling of balance in your life, keep in mind that a little course correction is going to be necessary.

Also necessary? Not giving up when you lose that sense of balance on occasion…


Achieving perfect balance may be impossible, but feeling balanced is absolutely doable. #runchat Click To Tweet

What Do You Do to Maintain a Sense of Balance in Your Life?

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