How Balance in Life is About Boxes

 

The science shows how multitasking isn’t really a thing. Our brains switch quickly from one task to another, yet we are never simultaneously thinking about two separate things at the exact same moment.

So it doesn’t make sense to try to live like we are able to multitask.

Leading a more balanced life isn’t about having two items on the same scale and weighing them equally. It is about only having one item on the scale and allowing it to weigh in fully.

 

I describe this with the metaphor of boxes. Think of all the important areas of your life, like work, family, personal goals, etc, each as their own box. In the ‘family box’ are all the activities that are required for a good, healthy family life.

The key is only having one box open at a time to play in fully and recognising you need to carefully put the lid on one box and store it before pulling out and opening the next.

 

This mental act of putting the box away signifies the space between, also termed the ‘third space’ by Dr Adam Fraser. It is the space between two different tasks/areas of your life, where you reset yourself. In this space between you release all that was going on with the first box, into that box and close the lid. Then ready to be fully present you can open your next box.

I have found and have coached people in using this tool which has proved extremely helpful in stressful situations.  When working on the stressful item, open the box and be fully in that box working on the task to effectively work through it, but when it is time to put it away pack it up fully so you don’t take it with you into other areas of your life.

 

Another consideration is how often each box is coming out. 

It isn’t healthy to spend most of your time in the ‘online world box’ and only short amounts in the ‘sleep box’. Nor can you spend all your time in the ‘work box’ and little in the ‘family box’.

But special projects do come along in life and one box may be out more often than the others for a while. As long as it is balanced in the long run this is healthy.  For example, you may have a large work or personal project you are pouring yourself into for a couple months. But in doing so you know you will dedicate more time to the family later such as scheduling a vacation.

 

To be mindful, present and find more simplicity in these crazy times:

Keep one box open at a time.

Mentally put away the box before opening the next.

Ensure over the medium to longer term all boxes are opened regularly.

 

 

P.S. If you want a ‘social media box’ have one but don’t take it to dinner with you and open it at the table.

Endings are not the Point

One of my favourite philosophers Jason Silva muses in this capture of awe about the impermanence of love.

I see this hesitation, deliberation, almost a reason not to – at the impermanence of things by many in this world yet it has me baffled.

Baffled because it is all so very impermanent. Because impermanence is all there is.

Life is impermanent yet we live it anyway.

The rollercoaster is impermanent, we ride it anyway.

Love can definitely be impermanent but it comes with the opportunity to experience our greatest natural intoxication of bliss, connection and joy.

We go to sleep to rest and restore, only to get up and wear out, rinse, repeat.

I don’t stay in bed all day thinking, how impermanent the moment may be so why bother? What an odd contemplation.

For me, impermanence is the fuel, not the extinguisher.

I know I have limited time so yes I will love with every fibre of my being. And yes I have lost love and had my heart broken. Am I bitter, turned off or hesitant to love again pondering the point – no way. I don’t have that kind of time to spare in this one precious life. Afterall, the grieving and heartbreak following a break-up will last long enough. Once I have recovered and am ready I want to experience again.

Everything in life is a cycle. There will always be an up and always a down.  There is a coming together and moving apart, sometimes this means endings, sometimes it just signals a new cycle within a larger one.

At the end of the day, life is about living it. Losing yourself in it. Going in so deep the bigger picture is a blur around the edges.

The only things we will regret are the unknowns, what we didn’t try to know what the outcome was.

So yes I love again, live again, have good days, bad days, progress and stagnate – I respect it is all part of this wonderful, magnificent journey and invite you to dive in too.

Ponder, but then blur the edges of the big picture and go in deep. I’ll see you at the surface again in due course but you have to see what is down there for yourself.

Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash

Long Distance Lessons

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Two of my closest friends are in happy, committed and seriously long-distance relationships.

I have watched with fascination over the past year how they make this work with such distance between them.

I am the kind of person who loves touch, one-on-one time and dates in a relationship, so I cannot help but wonder what they are getting to replace these experiences and what the distance offers in return.

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