If you have ever said, “I want to have more balance in my life” you may be going about it all wrong.
True and equal balance in life is virtually impossible. After all, haven’t you experienced a time or two when you burned yourself out trying so hard to find or maintain balance? Life is unpredictable and that makes balance so much harder to achieve. How can you spend the same amount of time and energy every day on all the priorities you have in your life if things in your life are constantly changing? You can begin to think that balance just isn’t attainable, but what other option is there?
Seasonal priorities. Seasonal priorities are a better option than straining for balance. There are seasons in your life when you must have a specific and immediate focus on something important to you. For example, an ailing parent becomes worse or you as a couple become pregnant or you decide to start your own business. As you know, there is an exhaustive list of things that can change your priorities.
During these changing life events, you must deliberately and consciously shift your focus to that most immediate priority. This becomes your priority for a season of your life. You may not know the end date of this priority, but you know that it is just for a season.
Right now you are focusing on what is most important for this season.
At the same time you must give yourself permission to let other things drop down to a lower position on your priority list just for this season. You must do that WITHOUT feeling guilt or shame about your decision. If you normally serve on a committee for your son’s little league team or your church, but your seasonal priority is keeping you from spending the time you want to spend on the committee projects, it’s ok. Because right now, you are focusing on what is most important for this season. You have to give yourself permission to step down from your role or find someone to fill your role until you can return. Of course, there are some things, like raising children, which just can’t wait or drop down on the priority list. In those situations, ask for help. Ask someone you trust to help with the activities of picking up the kids, helping with homework, or attending an after school activity.
Ask for help on other things, too. Ask someone to help with that project at church or to take your place as a volunteer for the community 5K race coming up next month. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help because we all have to do it at one time or another in our lives. If you don’t ask for help when you need it, the alternative is to run yourself into the ground as you try to do everything. If you burn yourself out, you will not be there for anyone.
There are times when we all think we can do it all. It’s the resilient power of the human spirit. It’s that same resilience that propels you to do amazing things in your life. That same power is displayed when you know what is most important at this moment and you deliberately focus all your energies there. You do this even when saying No to other things feels uncomfortable.
What are your seasonal priorities right now? Focus most of your energy and resources on your current seasonal priorities. Ask for help when you need it. Give yourself permission to let others things go for now without guilt or shame. Do what you know needs to be done and feel good about it.