I went for a jog today and of course I couldn't help thinking that I should go running more often. I beat myself up for a few minutes about not being disciplined enough to wake up early every morning. Then I thought about all the other things that I wanted to incorporate - eating healthier, getting more work done during the day, learning to speed read, sort through my bills when I get them (instead of letting them pile up), spend more time with family, etc.
There's so much to do just to try to stay on top of everything and "in balance". But how to accomplish all this? Something's gotta give - sleep less, work longer hours, take time away from my hobbies or friends, ...? But then I'm not in balance anymore and am stressed trying to do everything.
I started thinking that there were 2 models for thinking about balance, just like there are different approaches to filling your car with gas - the "Top Off" method or the "Almost to E" method.
I know I usually let my car (and areas of my life) get almost to Empty and then head to the station to replenish. This has taken the form of sending a bunch of "How've you been?" emails in one day, or running everyday for a week, or eating an entire head of lettuce in one sitting (true!). But I find that I'm swinging to extremes in different areas of my life in a strange attempt to maintain a balance on a longer time-frame (e.g. over a few consecutive months).
I admire the people who take the "Top Off" approach - it seems like they're balancing their lives on more of a daily basis. It takes a lot more discipline to keep all aspects of life in check - i.e. talking to your friends/family every week, consistently eating healthy, working an extra hour here and there, etc. Maybe these types of people are naturally more regimented and organized, or perhaps just more realistic about how much they should bite off at one time.
It reminds me of an article I read in Fast Company, entitled "Balance is Bunk". It's an interesting read, albeit a bit long. The basic premise is that balance is nearly impossible and it's better if we stop trying to reach this unattainable idea of "balance" and just be happy with how we do things. Being from the "Almost to E" camp I might have to agree :)
- Are you an "Almost to E" or "Top Off" type of person? Is balance really possible? (...please comment!)