Why a Balanced Life is Overrated and What to Strive for Instead
When I started the process of quitting my job and taking my blog full-time about two years ago, I worked crazy crazy hours. I focused on my day job, but on nights and weekends, I spent almost all my free time on my blog. I said buh-bye to my social life for a couple months in an effort to pursue something I loved and believed in. Because I was so focused, I kept telling myself I needed to find ‘balance.’ I was convinced I needed to maintain every moving piece of my life in a perfect structure in order to obtain a perfectly balanced life.
However, I learned over the years that balance isn’t the word I was looking for at all. In fact, the concept of finding that work/life balance doesn’t actually exist. Hear me out, because the search for balance is all over your Instagram and Pinterest feed, but maybe we should be striving for something else instead.
The reality I found is that balance is stationary, and real growth and transformation usually happen on shaky ground. So, if you want to get moving, overcome obstacles, and chase your passions, sometimes it’s necessary to disrupt the balance. There's a way to find harmony, hustle sustainably, and accomplish what you want while moving with the ebb and flow of life.
So, instead of looking for a balanced life, strive for this instead:
1. Know your priorities
Be clear about what you want out of this life. Priorities look different for every person. For some, it might be climbing the corporate ladder, and it might require prioritizing work over social life. But, for others, it may be a family or starting their own business. Decide your endgame. Write it down, hang it on the fridge, put it where you can see it.
2. Set boundaries
It’s important to know when enough is enough. Balance may be overrated, but so is burnout (hence, this topic inspired me to create the Healthy Hustle Workbook). When it’s time to power down and live your life. Maybe you’re unreachable after a certain time of day. I used to receive work emails after midnight, and I felt like I had to respond. This, my friends, is a boundary that should have been set. Draw your own lines, voice them clearly and keep your promises.
3. Be intentional about how you fill your spare time
Maybe you haven’t quite landed your dream job yet, but how can you use your spare time to help you get there? Spend your spare time wisely. Take a class, find a hobby, buy a domain, do something that is purposeful and works toward your ultimate goal.
4. Find a career path that is fulfilling
Statistically, we spend ⅓ of our lives at work (and for some even more). While every job has its highs and lows, it’s important to find a career that gives your life purpose, helps you grow, and makes you feel challenged, yet motivated. Easier said than done, I know. Not all of us are lucky to find this right off the bat. I know I wasn’t at first. But, it’s out there, so don’t settle for something that is less than you deserve. Struggling to find that purpose or dream job? Think about what you love doing. You may not find your passion immediately, but if you keep searching, it’ll turn up, I pinky promise.
5. Accept that sometimes you make sacrifices
To get where you’re going, to pursue what you love, sometimes that means giving up something else. For me, I temporarily gave up my social life to work my ass off on my business. This imbalance got me to where I wanted to be. I’m finally comfortable enough in my day-to-day to work, play, and travel in harmony. Sacrifices are just a part of the journey, but there’s always something in your life that can give.