How To Set a Balance Between Different Types of Actions Across All Life Areas

One of the primary reasons for unhappiness and dissatisfaction in life is a lack of control and balance.

In our fast-paced, demanding world, living a balanced life of harmony can pose a real challenge. We constantly juggle various tasks and responsibilities, each demanding time and attention. The question then arises: how do we invest our energy wisely across all life areas to lead a fulfilling and balanced life?

The answer lies in finding harmony. Fortunately, there are ways to regain control and maintain balance without neglecting something important. In this article, we explore the main concepts and the practical steps to make it happen.
So, let’s discover how to regain control and improve our life satisfaction.

Understanding Balance

To establish balance effectively, we must first grasp three key prerequisites.

A. Selecting the Balance Measurement Unit

Determining how to measure balance is the initial step.

Consider this: 1 kg of cotton takes up significantly more space than 1 kg of iron. The choice between weight and volume as our balancing criteria depends on what we aim to achieve. The same principle applies to tasks – will we balance them based on time spent or results achieved? Some tasks take longer to get satisfactory results than others. Thus, balancing our life based on time allocation may not lead to optimal outcomes. For instance, allocating one hour each to hygiene, cleaning, spending time with children, spouse, and work would likely result in an unworkable schedule.

So, what’s the ideal measurement unit for balancing our actions?

From my perspective—to live an authentic life—it should revolve around our values and their relative priorities. This approach ensures that all our actions align with our authentic selves. It’s essential to clarify that this isn’t an endorsement of selfishness. Instead, it’s about aligning our actions with our values. For instance, if one of my values is to avoid intentionally harming others, I won’t pursue an opportunity that brings personal gain at the expense of someone else’s well-being. In this case, my decision to act selflessly isn’t rooted in societal expectations but in my deeply held values.

While other criteria can be used to find life balance, I recommend using inner values.

B. Priorities Change Over Time

Our values and priorities evolve throughout life. This means that we have to evaluate our priorities periodically.

Creating a permanent life schedule is just not possible. Balancing evolving priorities is an integral part of life, and neglecting to do so can result in dissatisfaction and problems. Several factors contribute to changes in values and their priorities.

There are three primary reasons why values and their priorities change, and these changes are beyond our control.
However, there is also a fourth type of change that is conditional, meaning it depends on your values and how you choose to respond to it.

Changes Based on Seasons of Life

Our values naturally shift as we progress through different seasons of life. For example, people with young children have different priorities compared to those who are single or have adult children.

Changes Based on the Current Situation

The Weather of Life—external factors—can alter the priority of our values. These circumstances may include job loss, the loss of a loved one, a new job or the introduction of a new person into our lives. For instance, while you may value family as the most important aspect of your life, the priority of spending time with your family might decrease if you lose your job. In such cases, securing a new job to provide resources for your family’s well-being becomes the higher priority.

Changes Based on Growth

Personal growth and one’s stage in life influence values and their priorities. Children and adults have different priorities, not just physically but mentally as well. Nowadays, we often see people in their 30s and 40s who haven’t grown up mentally. I’ve been one of them. Crossing the threshold to psychological and/or spiritual maturity brings about changes in both, our values and their priorities. If you want to find out more about this you can check the Four Stages of Life Awareness.

Changes Based on Mood (Conditional)

Mood fluctuations can significantly affect how we perceive our priorities. The “I don’t feel like doing this” attitude singlehandedly stops the majority of people from achieving their dreams. However, disregarding mood entirely can lead to physical or mental exhaustion.

Mood changes can be categorized into two types – perceptual and factual.

  • The perceptual mood change is usually triggered by our emotional evaluation of the task or situation we face.

    Unfamiliar or overwhelming situations are prime examples. Sometimes, I may avoid a task for days because I am unsure what to do. But once I divide the task into smaller, easily doable parts, I am ready to go. When dealing with perceptual mood changes, the solution is not to give in to them automatically but to find where they stem from and address the underlying emotions.
  • On the other hand, factual mood changes result from objective situations or one’s actual physical or mental state.

    For example, they can result from exhaustion after a particularly challenging time. In such cases, we need to assess the priority of the need to rest and consider the severity of not completing the task. For instance, in a life-and-death situation, the need to finish the task might outweigh the need to rest. In other situations, we might decide that taking a break will lead to more positive results when we resume working on the task refreshed.

Mood changes are conditional. We have to evaluate them and decide how we will respond to them.

C. Accept Uncertainty, Strive for Improvement

In life, we make “mistakes,” but these perceived failures often lead to unexpected positive outcomes.

Embracing these changes is essential. I’ve witnessed numerous instances in my life where what initially appeared as a setback later resulted in positive transformations. For example, when my car broke down on the motorway, as I waited for the recovery service, I pondered, “What positive outcome will this breakdown bring?” I wasn’t disappointed. The situation led to significant changes, including a job change and an entirely altered lifestyle.

As the saying goes, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

It’s important to be ready for the fact that not everything will go as planned. Each change presents an opportunity to improve and explore new ways of approaching situations.

Creating Balance

Achieving life harmony involves several steps:

Understanding Values and Their Hierarchy

Begin by identifying your values and their order of importance.

If you’re unsure how to discover your values, you can refer to the Growing Tree of Life newsletter, where I delve into this topic extensively (issues #053 to #060). Once you’ve gained a clear understanding of your values, you’re ready to move forward.

Understanding Different Life Areas

Gain insight into the various areas of your life.

You can explore my article Six Life Areas to understand how I categorize these areas and why. While you can customize them to suit your needs, starting with the suggested categories is recommended. You can make adjustments as you progress and identify areas where my setup may not align with your requirements.

Periodic Evaluation and Planning

Set aside dedicated time for evaluating your priorities in the upcoming period. I follow a three-tiered time block approach – weekly, quarterly, and yearly.

Yearly Review and Planning:

This comprehensive review usually takes me a few hours.

I reflect on the past year and plan for the next. I rely on prompts to assess what went well and areas where I can improve. I’ll soon be publishing an article dedicated to yearly evaluation and planning.

If you want to be noticed when it goes live, you can subscribe to the What Is New On The Tree of Life Quest newsletter. This weekly newsletter regularly lists newly published articles, guides, and reviews, ensuring you stay updated.

Quarterly Review and Planning

Quarterly planning, lasting around one hour, focuses primarily on seasonal objectives. It’s a valuable practice for balancing tasks and rest according to the natural rhythm of life. You can also look forward to an upcoming article dedicated to quarterly review and planning.

Weekly Review and Planning

This is the most critical period for maintaining life harmony.

Balancing life daily is nearly impossible, and a month is too extended for certain aspects of life. I encourage you to test this by attempting not to spend time with your spouse for a month, and you’ll quickly realize the importance of weekly planning.

During my yearly and quarterly planning sessions, I outline my current priorities and allocate time blocks for each life area. Additionally, I set three key goals for each area. If you’re interested in a deeper understanding of goal setting, you can refer to article How To Select And Set Goals, where I discuss different goal types, the advantages of system-based goals over result-based ones, and strategies for tripling the likelihood of achieving your goals.

Typically, a weekly planning session takes approximately 20 minutes, though it may require more time initially.

Executing Your Plans

Finally, put your plans into action.

TL;DR Summary

Achieving balance in life hinges on three prerequisites: selecting the appropriate measurement unit (I suggest values), embracing change, and accepting that mistakes can lead to positive outcomes.

The process of creating harmonious balance comprises four steps:

  1. understanding your values,
  2. categorizing life areas,
  3. conducting periodic evaluations and planning, and
  4. implementing your plans.

Finding balance in life is an ongoing journey that requires effort. But it leads to authenticity, fulfilment, and satisfaction.

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