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This article was contributed by Christy Wright
“Life balance isn’t doing everything for an equal amount of time. It’s about doing the right things at the right time.”
I teach this on stage during my Life Balance talk, but the principle is true for time management, goal-setting, or anything in life. I think we get so fixated on formulas and equality and “balance” that we miss a major factor that makes us successful: focus.
Focus in one area is the opposite of balance when you think about it. It’s saying you’re deliberately weighing the scale on one side more than the other. Instead of dividing your time equally (translation: diluting your effort, energy, and productivity), you’re going to focus on one major thing at a time.
This is what I do and this is exactly how I set goals.
I set goals in relation to the particular season that I’m in more than I do a particular formula that applies all year long.
My fall is always crazy with travel.
My holiday season is always light.
My spring ramps up again with crazy travel and work projects.
And my summer scales back.
So instead of imposing a rigidly fixed formula on myself 12 months a year, I set goals based on the season I am in. I have big work goals in the fall and spring, and I give myself grace for things I miss out on with my boys during that time. I get resourceful, let things go, and ask for help for things I can’t keep up with on my own like housework or home-cooked meals during those seasons.
In the winter and summer though, I take a ton of time off and take my foot off the gas at work. I make the most of every moment with my family whether that’s touring giant gingerbread houses and drinking hot chocolate during Christmas or fishing off the dock and tubing behind the boat during the summer. I work hard during the work seasons and play hard during the play seasons. I ride the wave of the season I’m in, and it works really great for me.
I think people miss the importance of the seasons. Even if your business isn’t as seasonal as mine is, there’s probably some seasonality to your life. Maybe you’re in a retail business and your Christmas season is the exact opposite of mine: it’s insanely busy. Maybe you’re on a fall and spring semester calendar with your school-aged kids. Regardless of what seasonality you experience in your life or your business, I want to encourage you to set goals that go with the season, rather than against it. How can you create focus in a particular area of your life when it matters the most, and switch gears to focus on something else when it naturally makes sense?
Set goals that go with the flow, rather than against it. I think you’ll find when you do that, you get the best of both worlds. You experience the benefits of focus and momentum during the season that you’re in, and at the same time, you create balance as you switch gears over the course of a year.
Remember, life balance isn’t doing everything for an equal amount of time. It’s about doing the right things at the right time.