One of the biggest mistakes people make in trying to balance everything they do in their lives is trying to do it all perfectly. You feel that no matter how much time you devote to your job, your kids, or yourself that it still isn’t enough. Sorry, but you can’t be the perfect partner, perfect parent, perfect friend, perfect employee, and perfect self all at the same time. If you try it, you will fail.
You need to get used to another you – the good enough you. The good enough you can have an optimally balanced life and there is a surprise benefit to go along with it. You actually perform better in all those areas once you stop trying to be perfect and stop trying to do everything.
The rested, relaxed, and recharged good enough you is much easier to deal with. You may not be dealing with your kids as often as before, but the quality of your interaction will go way up. When you take the pressure off everyone relaxes. The happy and tolerant mom will create higher quality memories in her children than the overbearing, ever-present, and stressed-out mom.
When you try to do too much and be perfect, you are killing your effectiveness and everyone else can feel your stress. It makes them uncomfortable. Just stop it. Give others a little space and some peace. Give yourself a break.
You may need to cut back on your working hours, reduce your nights out with your partner or friends, cut back on mothering, exercise less, clean your house less often and less thoroughly, write less often and with fewer words, and so on. It’s up to you to determine the balance. You may actually need to increase some things in your life to bring more balance.
The key point to remember is the 80/20 rule. You are getting most of the benefit from a small part of your effort. Finding that 20% that gives you the most benefit is the key to optimizing your balanced life.
Obviously different people will emphasize different areas based upon their own personality and situation, but the key is to make a decision to optimize and generally cut back. Apply the 80/20 rule to each area of your life. Make a list of all the different things you do in each important part of your life and the frequency with which you do them. Start crossing the least important ones and reducing the frequency of others. Eliminate the 80% of your time that is only giving you 20% of the benefits.
You need to go for good enough because trying to be perfect is making you less than you can be. Good enough allows you to live an optimally balanced life of well-being. The people in your life will thank you and you will thank yourself.
“There’s No Task Easier Than No Task” — Leo Babauta
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