Have you ever heard a busy person tell you what they do to keep their life “balanced”? If you’re like me, you probably have—and you’ve probably also heard people who aren’t as busy as they think they are tell you this as well.
My wife and I have six (almost seven!) children, we live on a farm, and I am the owner/operator of our local Chick-fil-A restaurant. To say I’m busy would be an understatement! My life has always been pretty busy, but over the years I’ve learned that it’s impossible to keep it all balanced. Think about it for a moment—in order for something to truly be “balanced” you have to hold it very carefully, giving equal attention and effort to both sides. But what if you’ve got more like sixteen things coming at you? It doesn’t take long to realize that “balance” is a myth.
I recently asked my father-in-law, Dr. Popham, an optometrist for over 40 years, if it is possible for someone to focus on more than one thing at a time. His response? It’s absolutely impossible!
The myth of balance tells us we need to focus our time on different things simultaneously in order to keep them in balance. However, life is a series of decisions that require us to intentionally neglect one thing if we want to focus on another. You can try spinning plates for a while, but it’s not going to be long before one of them falls—especially as you add more.
Instead of struggling for balance, I attempt to live my life in seasons. There are seasons where I intentionally neglect something because I want to focus on something else, but this is only temporary. I press pause on something I enjoy, or something that needs to be done, in order to focus on another thing until I complete it. The key to this is creating a structure and having the discipline to plan ahead. I schedule on my calendar the things I have to get done to keep my business running. I schedule my chores around the farm. I even schedule when I do my laundry! More importantly, I schedule family time—and while I don’t get too much of it, I schedule my down time. I schedule time to sit in the rocking chair on my front porch each morning to pray and spend time with God.
If it’s important, I schedule it. If there is something new I want to focus on, that often means taking time away from other things for a season. A balanced calendar is possible, but you can only truly focus on one thing at a time.