Balance is essential to our well-being.
At this point in my life, I’m spending forty to sixty hours a week on writing and related activities. It’s my primary focus. Last year, health had to be my primary focus, as I went through injuries, surgery, and recovery. Writing was still part of the balance, but I couldn’t devote this much time to it!
I know, however much time I’m devoting to writing, all the areas of my life must be nurtured as well. Not only does it keep me healthy and happy, it makes me more productive as a writer and as a human being.
Six years ago, a group of my friends gathered on a regular basis to do exercises designed to help us take a close look at our priorities in life. Only after we had decided what was important to us did we go on to establish goals in all areas of our lives.
I revisit all of those priorities and goals every year, not just those about writing. This helps me maintain a healthy balance in my life and make progress to the things I want in the long run. The areas of life we examined are: people, things, spiritual, feelings, and activities. What is important to you in each of these areas?
- People: Who are the people important to you? How do you want those relationships to look? What do you need to do to establish or nurture those relationships?
- Things: What things are important to you? What do you need to do to maintain those things you have and get the ones you want?
- Spiritual: How do you nurture your spiritual self? How can you make sure this is not neglected?
- Feelings: What feelings do you want to have more often? What feelings to you want to avoid? For each: what can you do about it?
- Activities: What activities are important to you? Keep the previous priorities in mind as you make this list—there should be considerable overlap.
Sometimes life throws crises or opportunities at you and you give one area or another more time than usual. However, if you remember to allow some time for the other areas, you’ll feel better and keep making progress toward your long-range goals—and you’ll be ready to get right back into a more balanced lifestyle when the crisis has passed or the opportunity is complete.