Finding Balance

My original title for this image and this post was ‘Impossible Balance’, but it was too defeatist. I also realize that many more ‘rocks’ (or maybe ‘roles’) could have been added to the right side of the scale: Spirituality, Alone Time, Commuting, Hygiene, and (Social) Networking, to name a few. No matter what occupies your time, or what commitments you prioritize, it seems like finding balance is a challenge many of us face today.

Furthermore, it would seem that ‘overlap’ is unavoidable. I addressed this idea of overlap in a previous post, or rather with the image below and the discussion in the comments, since my post, Connectivism, Relationships and Balance, proved to need much clarification.

 

Read the comments on the post.

Overlap is a point of contention. Technology exasperates, or at the very least complicates, things. I like the counterbalance of posts like Chris Wejr’s Missing the Moments By Trying to Capture the Moments and George Couros’ Quick to Judge. They both highlight the grey area around our fascination with digital media and the role it has in defining who we are as much as what we do.

But no matter how you look at it, the overlap between our interactions, across the different roles we play in each other’s lives, makes finding balance really hard. So, here are the things that I plan to work on in order to find balance in my busy life.

Email

I love Brad Ovenell-Carter’s post, How Apple or Google Could Change Email and Save Us All From Drowning, because we need to recognize that email is very poorly used! The worst offenders are the ‘Reply All’ users and abusers. I think every time you try to ‘Reply All’ there should be two warnings that make you really think about what you are about to do. And that’s just one of hundreds of changes that email should undergo!

Email is not a productivity tool. It is a poorly used form of communication that engulfs productivity time and requires a disproportionate amount of our lives. I’m going to try turning my phone to ‘fetch’ email, rather than ‘push’ in order to reduce the physical interruption of a vibrating buzz that distracts my attention. Even if I’m having a great conversation with someone, and I ignore my phone, I still have to make a conscious decision based on what is likely an unnecessary message coming into my in box.

I’m also going to intentionally reduce my response time to all but the most important emails. I’m going to do this so that people do not expect an immediate reply, simply because they know I have my phone with me, and not because the message warrants a quick response. If you really need me, NOW, phone me. If I don’t answer, text me (because a voicemail is an equally painful waste of time, compared to text).

Overlap

I have a job that does not end when I leave the building. That doesn’t mean I have to work intermittently throughout my evenings and weekends (this is directly related to my thoughts on email). I’m going to dedicate ‘homework’ time into my schedule, but spend more time being a husband and parent outside of my homework time. To do this, I’m actually going to take my phone out of my pocket when I get home. (Had to say that one ‘out loud’ or I’d likely not do it.) Anyone who has other phone strategies, please let me know.

Exercise

As a teen, I grew 7.5 inches in less than a year. I have mild scoliosis and routinely suffer from back ache. Occasionally I do something (carelessly or accidentally) that shifts my ache to pain. That happened about 6 weeks ago and I’m still recovering. In my younger, more fit, years my recovery was usually 1 day to a week at maximum. I’m older now and have let my fitness routines slide. I’m going to start putting my workouts into my calendar. I don’t miss calendar events, but will blow off a workout because I over schedule myself. I’m hoping that by scheduling workouts, I will be creating better balance for myself.

Eating

I’m quite proud of the changes I’ve made here. I make myself and my youngest daughter a fruit shake every morning. Milk, yogurt, almonds and assorted fresh & frozen fruit. A delicious start to the day, and since I never measure ingredients and switch them up, it’s not the same old thing every day. Once that shake is made, I make a vegetable shake for my wife and I (again with almonds for protein). She has hers for breakfast, I take mine for lunch. Not as delicious as my fruit shake, but even healthier! I’m also reminding myself about the size of my dinner servings. I still indulge occasionally (had a bit more than my share of chocolate yesterday) but overall I’m eating healthier, and smarter than I have in a while. If you’d like a push in the direction of heathy eating, watch this TEDx Talk: Minding Your Mitochondria by Dr. Terry Wahls.

Advice

I’m not an expert in finding balance. As I mentioned, I was originally going to title this post ‘Impossible Balance’. Please share some of your actions, ideas and advice around finding balance in your life, or in the lives of those you respect and admire. I’d love to take advantage of our connectedness to learn more from you. In this way, we can overlap or digital connections with conversations that help us get to know each other better, we can learn from each other, and maybe even find some balance along the way! :)

About David Truss

Home: DavidTruss.com Blog: Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts (RSS) Podcasts: Podcasting Pair-a-Dimes (RSS) Connect: Contact David TrussGoogle+ Even more About Me: Who am I? A husband, a parent... An educator, a student... A thinker, a dreamer... An agent of change. ~Think Good Thoughts, Say Good Words, Do Good Deeds~
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14 Responses to Finding Balance

  1. I completely agree with your comments about email but I wonder how to rid myself of the guilt I carry when I have not replied to emails. I find it weighs on me. Homework time works well, especially if you have kids. For me it came down to what I wanted my kids to remember about their mom when they got older… did I want them to say “She was always on the computer or iPad”? No!

    • David Truss says:

      Well put Jennifer. I remember when my youngest was in daycare and she made a birthday card for me. It was a drawing of me and my computer with the computer being an add-on cut out with individually cut out keys. It was cute and I loved the effort put into it, but it also made me think of her perception of me and my computer as a single entity. Not the way I want to be rembered when she grows up.
      Thank you for commenting and reminding me of some of the (important) benefits to changing my ways. Now, phone away until later today. TTFN:)

  2. Jane says:

    Hi Dave, Great You Tube video, wish everyone could watch it. We both have the same friend that controls her MS strictly through diet and con’t to live a healthy, athletic life…Yum to the smoothies, great way to start your day…
    I hear you about finding balance…for myself…my cell stays in my purse when I’m home. I’ll check it later in the evening. I do not have my email attached to my iphone. I save the emailing for when I’m in front of my computer…I also realize that we are in very different fields :-) I guess you need to do whatever works best for you and in all of that find some balance…

  3. I’ve done my best to turn off push notifications for everything. I try to put my phone down in the charger when I get home. I check email 2-3 times a day, taking it to zero inbox when possible. I’ve started using the Pomodoro Technique and trying to single task everything in order to be most productive. It doesn’t always work, but maybe I’m a little less imbalanced. Maybe?
    ** See what Philip Cummings has been up to… My Homework

    • David Truss says:

      Philip,
      I’ll have to look up the Pomodoro Technique and with that I could master inbox zero. Sounds like you may have this balance thing figured out much better than I have!

      • I don’t know about that. I still feel pretty imbalanced by it all, and email gets more attention than I’d prefer. Pomodoro does help me be (feel) productive, though. It has helped me be better focused.

  4. Dave Sands says:

    Balance in life has been my focus over the past 3 years. in looking at this in my life I have come to realize that it’s not about “balancing” all the various aspects of our life, but rather prioritizing where we spend our time and balancing the aspects we “choose” to pursue.
    I started to ask myself where I really want to spend my energy, what would happen if I didn’t, and what will happen in those places that I truly choose to be present in. As a result, I have been more energized, patient and present in my work, my social life, and most importantly as a parent.
    I believe it is about taking an inventory every so often and really measuring the value of the time and energy I expend. Our culture actually tries to convince us that we need to have everything and be everywhere – on time! It is OK to bring your “B’ game in one aspect of your life when your “A” game is where it truly needs to be!

    • David Truss says:

      Dave,
      You always give me gems to think and learn from. I think the balancing act I have now is to figure out what gets my “A” game and what I need to ‘demote’ to my “B” game. A couple weeks after posting this, I’m still struggling with where I spend my energy and have thought of your comment often…

  5. David:
    I have trouble finding balance with food – so funny! I just started the online COETAIL course and it has put me into multi-task gear straight away. Food is the first thing that falls by the wayside. I don’t do conscious eating. Instead, I just eat while I look at feedly, write emails, and watch videos. Later I don’t even remember tasting my food. I am also afraid of not finding balance with the RSS reader. How do I know what to read and what not to read? So far I’m only good at being overwhelmed by it within five minutes or not reading at all. Hmmm. Balance needed!
    ** See what Silke Trester has been up to… Hanging Out!

  6. Jordan Lincez says:

    Some great comments here, not sure what I could add except just finding time to meditate. I know those who are very efficient minded (a commonality amongst teachers), seem to equate meditation with doing “nothing”. Still, doing nothing is still doing “something,” it’s learning to be OK with letting go of things, of mastering the mind when it’s going through its checklist of things to do. It’s amazing the weight that seems to drop when you make this part of your daily practice – especially as distractions increase and my leg has grown sensitive to the various types of vibrations my cell-phone emits. I need these breaks.

    So if this is just one more thing on the list of daily things to do, try it out for a bit. Maybe just 1 minute when you get up and 1 minute before bed and work on building it up. I find 15 minutes before and after sleeping works well enough for my schedule.

    If you want any help with it, feel free to write me an e-mail.

  7. David Truss says:

    Jordan,
    You are the third person to point me towards meditation recently. I tried meditation when I was younger, but didn’t put enough time into it. I’ll be taking some time to reevaluate my priorities, and perhaps attempt to schedule/dedicate time for meditation. I might contact you if I need help or suggestions.
    Thanks,
    Dave

  8. Hey David,

    As a counterbalance to meditation, can I suggest cold beer?

    #onlyhalfkidding

    Thanks for this post. You’ve made me think — and I needed that.

    Bill
    ** See what Bill Ferriter has been up to… Random Acts of REVERSE Patriotism (Or Man Up, Americans.)

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