Sunday, November 23, 2003

In The Balance

I got so many interesting comments -- I mean emails, I know, no comments here -- this weekend about how people balance their lives after I wrote about balance. Much appreciated. Here's a few:

From Werner:

> I have found that balance in the way we want it is
> not something
> natural, and our stress about it it is more a thing
> in our heads. Like
> that we are OK if we manage to give all of these
> things our equal
> attention.
> Not that I am terribly successful at it, but when
> trying to balance
> things I like to borrow something from 'chaos
> theory'. Sometimes it is
> very difficult to see order (balance) at the level
> that you are looking
> at. If you look at a too detailed a level everything
> seem chaotic and
> you get totally overwhelmed by the chaos of things.
> To find the order
> you sometimes have to take one or two steps back to
> look at the 'bigger
> picture' and suddenly see order appearing.
> I find that for balance in your life the 'steps
> back' you have to take
> are steps back in time. While at a detailed
> timescale it sometimes seems
> as if you are not capable of achieving order and
> balance, it is
> important to take a step back and see whether you
> are able to achieve
> balance at the next level up, with maybe a couple of
> days or a week.
> Micromanaging a life is impossible; there are so
> many unknowns, plus
> that it is not fun. Or at least I think it is not
> fun to live your life
> with a strict schedule after day. Where is the joy?
> As you write it is important to let the energy of
> those things we think
> are fun charge our lives. It is almost more
> important than anything else
> we do. Without that we turn into sour, cynical
> middle-aged parents. And
> we can't have that can we. No fun at all.
> So what if you go totally overboard on skiing the
> first week when the
> slopes open again. Or take a weekend and watch all
> the 24 episodes or
> that television series on DVD. As long as you manage
> to find some
> balance at the next level up or the level above
> that.
> Of course there are deadlines, and your body reacts
> if you don't
> exercise for a few weeks. But not everything should
> be a deadline.
> Because this is life, not business.
> Evaluating our balancing act at the wrong timescale
> can totally stress
> us out. We typically pick a day as how to evaluate
> our balance. If you
> have done x or y that day you feel horrible. We hook
> up our lives to
> this notion of 'a day'. 'If I haven't done exercise
> today I feel
> horrible and I feel stressed all day because I still
> try to get to it'.
> Sometimes it helps to step away from cramming
> everything in a day and
> find balance the next level up. gets all these bad
> stress and panic
> chemicals out of your body, etc.

And this from Jerry:

>> I was
>> a single parent of three children and see that as a
>> primary issue. I had a
>> "work at home" job and daddy's time when working was
>> not to be violated. It
>> was of course but rarely and on the whole "the
>> schedule" worked fairly well.
>> And I am not a "scheduler." But I got things done.
>> I see the consulting work I did much like your
>> writing. You simply have to
>> set a time for it and do it -- regardless. I recall
>> that Hemingway was
>> religious about writing at the same time per day and
>> when a few hours had
>> passed he quit, something not always easy to do.
>> I don't know if you are a "scheduler" or not. But I
>> found it useful for
>> doing my work and for guaranteeing time with my
>> children. Other important
>> things took second place and fell into a slot here
>> and there and always
>> seemed to get done.
>> Your columns have made me think of what I could have
>> done better and I thank
>> you. But hating schedules as I do, I think that one
>> who leads and
>> interesting life must set certain priorities,
>> certain times, and see that
>> they get done. Scheduling everything is for fools
>> or those who have nothing
>> better to do than write schedules.