A spiritual director once told me that the concept of having “balance” in your life is often unhelpful. If anything, striving for balance creates false expectations and sets us up for failure.
I have personally found it far more helpful to think in terms of words like “intentional,” “boundary,” and “sustainability.” We can find healthy spirituality and healthy relationships by intentionally scheduling our time with clear boundaries. Our relationships and spiritual practices need to be the guarded non-negotiables that we make so easy to pursue that we eventually turn to them as a matter of habit.
That isn’t an easy place to arrive at. I know it’s a struggle each week for me. However, the more I get used to my schedule and the more I set boundaries around my day, the more I can settle into these daily habits.
While I don’t love the title of this Fast Company article about work-life balance, it offers some helpful tips for arranging your priorities and creating healthy habits for your spiritual life and relationships. Here are a few tips to consider:
“People who have managed to carve out a work-life balance that works for them don’t just wait to see what time is left over after work. They make a point of planning and booking time off to spend outside of work and powerfully guard this time. While emergencies happen and situations come up that need their attention at work on occasion, they strongly resist any intrusion on this time.”
“People who maintain balance are able to turn off their electronic devices to enjoy quality uninterrupted time doing matters they enjoy. They realize that multitasking is a myth and focus on the task at hand. Having developed the ability to compartmentalize their time, they seek out moments to simply enjoy the experience and savor life. Often they have discovered meditation, music, physical activity, or some other interest that allows them to get away from the pressures of everyday life…”
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One other thing: If you asked me, most people could stand to get rid of their televisions, cancel cable, and see what happens for two months. I suspect you’ll end up having more conversations, reading more books, and having more time enjoyable activities. It’s so crazy that it just may work.
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