It is true that the best life is a balanced life. The challenge in that is deciding what ‘balance’ actually means to you, what is the right amount of work needed and what is the right amount of play allowed. Whatever represents balance for you, will ultimately become the life pattern your actions revolve around. Although it does become a pattern, it is also one habit you develop that may constantly need reevaluation as obligations change and as goals provide more clarity pertaining to what is needed to succeed. Just because you become accustomed to a particular way of indulging at one point, it is important you don’t allow that one particular way to interfere with your progress when the expectations change for what is needed to reach your goals.
One thing we can all easily agree to is that everybody needs an outlet. With the demands of work, parenting, school, and other obligations, there should always be something in reach that can help reduce levels of stress and help break up the monotony of what can become too much of the mundane. Whatever you engage in, whatever outlet or outlets you find most useful, will likely find its way into the ‘must haves’ of your life. For this reason, it is most beneficial when your outlets not only provide a get away but also offer something that can contribute to the best of your well being. Everything you engage in, whether work-related or otherwise, will have an effect on other areas of your life, if not for any other reason than simply taking up time. Therefore, it is important to distinguish between positive and negative outlets. Positive outlets are great but even too much of those can cause an imbalance. Too much of anything will wear on that which is lacking. Specifically for the outlets you tend to engage in more than others, it may be necessary to figure out and understand why it is you have a need for such, especially when they begin to have a negative impact on other areas of your life; other areas such as relationships, goals, and even finances. The harder you work, the more likely you look forward to outlets. That is okay as long as the anticipation towards your outlet does not begin causing you to devalue that which leads to the need for those outlets; i.e. hard work.
Outlets for play, relaxation, and rest are much-needed but are also only productive when they compliment the workload or more serious side of life. It is when work and play begin to bump heads and cause conflict that one or the other needs adjusting. More often than not, time taken away because of the need to break or to explore the more pleasurable side of life, can be the most damaging especially when it is causing a loss of resources. To engage in most outlets there is a need for money. Outlets can sometimes include inappropriate others, and can easily become your more important goals if you allow them to. If your goals are specifically designed for you, then so should your outlets. They should be chosen based on the level of impact they have on your goals. The biggest sign for a disaster in balance is when you begin to schedule your goals around playtime rather than scheduling playtime around your goals. The key to a lesser need for playtime is to set goals that draw your greatest level of interest. When your mind is occupied with goals that excite you, the need for play is not as important. The less interested you are in your goals, the more likely you are to experience the idle mind and may begin having too much of an interest for outlets, even when you haven’t put in the work.
Lastly, it is important that your outlets do not become excuses; excuses for not getting things accomplished or excuses for your need to join others in their playtime. You should always find yourself more willing to cancel playtime than you are work. Everyone needs an outlet or two but when you find yourself needing more outlets than your need to get the more important matters handled, chances are your outlets have become excuses; excuses to get away for all the wrong reasons. Any outlet you engage in should leave you rejuvenated, not regretful. Your outlets should be activities that bring you more into focus with your goals, not leave you more distracted. Enjoy your outlets and engage in ones that compliment all other areas in your life. And know that the most beneficial ones are those that help you progress, help create balance, and leave you wanting more out of life.
Do the outlets you choose to engage in benefit your life or take away from your goals? Something to think about.