Knowing What’s Important Will Set You Free

Do you ever feel like you never get the balance of life quite right? Like you either spend too much time in work mode, family management mode etc that life is just going from one thing to another?  I asked recently on my stories what you guys are struggling with and a significant amount of the responses was around work/life balance.

I do get it.  I work full time, I parent a lively three and half year old, and I’m side hustling to create a business that will hopefully bring play psychology, playful living and practices to help people in their busy lives feel more fulfilled.  A bit like practicing mindfulness except, I’ll call it “playfulness” :)

Something that has helped me is that I’ve completely done away with the notion that life is something that you have to work hard to keep delicately balanced.  I visualise life a bit like a graphic equalizer – like the ones you used to see on old hi-fi’s (hello 3 disc throwback!) Something like this:

graphical representation of life

The point to this graphical representation of life is to recognise that there are times when certain parts of my life will be more dialled up more than others because that happens to be the most important thing that needs my focus, and I want to honour that - guilt free.  By seeing it for it is, it allowed me to take to the emotional angst out of the equation and recognise that I have a lot on my plate and it’s nigh on possible to give each area 100% of my attention all the time.  Doing this is like one big fat kindness to yourself, I can then give myself permission to let the other areas dial down knowing I can come back to them when I’m ready.

A recent example is this past month my son has had a few instances of a rather annoying viral induced wheeze which has landed us in hospital more times that I’d like, then a scary allergic reaction happened, on those weeks other things take a back seat – not giving 100% at day job, not fully active on Instagram, saying no to social invites, letting house DIY project take a back seat.  That week family and self care took the front seat because that’s exaclty what was needed to help navigate that tricky time.

I could phrase this as “letting other things suffer” but that language is not helpful, nor true.  Nothing and nobody is suffering. And actually, in those weeks my son’s health and my family’s sanity was my utmost priority, by honouring that, I had gave zero fucks about dialling down those other areas, or saying “no” to things.

For those who don’t have issues with boundaries this probably doesn’t sound particularly groundbreaking but for me, a massive people-pleaser – this is a big deal!  And actually, it’s helped me stay the course as much as possible when it comes to life.

Now I’m not saying this is the answer to all of life’s problems but quite early on in my youth I knew that our days are numbered, and as final (and slightly morbid) as that sounds it’s this perspective that has shaped the majority of my life.  

If you look at your life at a macro level, and ultimately how you want to spend your time, and how you want to feel it will help you at the day-to-day micro level when it comes to what you “yes” to, and what you say “no” to.  The whole point is intentionally choosing what gets your focus, and that focus is allowed to change and flex as and when you need. By doing this you will feel like you’re spending your time intentionally, that life isn’t happening to you, that you are LIVING on your terms - dare I say it, it feel more “balanced”

I hope that this post is useful insight and I’d like to leave you with a few questions to ponder:

What is most important to you this week?

What is most important to you this month?

Between now and the end of your days what is most important to you on how you spend your time?