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  • Writer's pictureKhadija Owusu

Does having a balance truly exist?

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

Does having a balance truly exist?

Do we really 'have it all'?

Balance is a word that has been heavy on my mind of late and I'm sure I'm not the only one. It seems to be a topic on everyone's mind. Especially when it pertains to the fast-paced lifestyles we lead, where we often find ourselves struggling to keep up, sometimes unable to cope.

First, let's take a look at the definition of BALANCE:

  • ‘An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady’

Alternatively…

  • ‘A situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions’

Although the definition of balance can be subjective. In this context, we generally mean the essence of being able to fully fulfil the needs and demands of ALL the aspects of our lives, including the roles we may have to do at the same time.

'How do you balance all that you do?'

This is a question that I am often asked on a daily basis now by many, and I don't downplay how tough it can sometimes be. It stems from the fact that as many of you are aware, aside from being a full-time medical doctor, I’m a Founder, Director, Speaker, Board Member, Ambassador and a Trustee. Let's also not forget that I'm a daughter and a sister too.

Here are a few tips I would like to share that has helped me on my journey as I continue to try to strike a balance…

1.Get a bird's eye view of life. A useful tool previously introduced to me is the Wheel of Life - it provides you with an overview of how well you're doing in the areas of life you choose to evaluate. This is a circle that is split into different categories representing various areas of life e.g. career, finances, health, social life etc. You can choose the categories you would like to include in your wheel of life to assess. For each category, give yourself a rating out of 10; 10 meaning you are happy and doing very well in this category, giving it your best.

After doing this exercise, you will see the areas that you are performing well in, and those those that are perhaps neglected. Thus highlighting to you that there is an imbalance and this is something you need to work on.




2. Prioritisation is key. In moments where I can sense I am becoming overwhelmed or I am veering away from my ideal place of ‘balance’, I begin to heavily rely on the general principle of prioritisation. Although we try our hardest to maintain a schedule, splitting my tasks between urgent and non-urgent as shown below in the Priority Matrix or the Eisenhower Matrix is my way of getting around this:

3. Know your limits. Knowing your limits means only accepting and agreeing to what you can handle. Being able to acknowledge your limitations is also a form of self-awareness. Knowing this means you will know how to manage yourself as well as manage others. It's a form of growth.

However, one of the easiest words that we find the hardest to say is ‘no’. Sometimes we are afraid to say no because we risk feeling bad or guilty if we do, or we may even feel as though we are missing out if we don’t say ‘yes’. I used to think this way, however over the past year, especially since graduating, starting work and establishing my personal brand, I’ve had to re-evaluate my capabilities in the context of time and my ability to be able to deliver quality work. Several opportunities have come in relation to perhaps serving on a board and potential collaborations, but I've had to decline a few. Not only due to time constraints and knowing that the end result may be compromised if I do, your reputation will also take a knock. It's also harder to commit to something that does not completely resonate with you. Always do and stand by what you truly believe in; it makes our day to day seem less of chore, because it is what we love to do.

Many of us fall into the trap of over-committing, over-promising and then sadly under-delivering. There is no point giving your half-self to something or someone that requires your all; your full-self. You will end up doing more harm than good.

4. Remember what is really important. Regardless of the many hats I wear, my loved ones can attest to the fact that I am able to make time for them. That is what is important to me. We all place importance on different things and certain things make us happy. We mustn't forget these. Additionally, what we place significant importance on changes as we progress through our lives.

If doing what's important to you means disconnecting on the weekends, then so be it. Or it may simply mean carving out or blocking out a certain time period that is non-negotiable for what makes you happy e.g. family and friends, going for a walk or binging on a Netflix series!

5. Life is short. Let’s be real with ourselves - life is short. As much we have the desire to always want to do more, be involved in several things; our time on earth is limited. We don’t know how long God has in store for us and so as cliche as it sounds, we must try to live life to the fullest. Let’s aim to live and lead a life that leaves a legacy, with no regrets.

Finally, in my short interview with Michelle Obama last year, I posed the question of balance to her. She makes a great point by stating: 'You are not supposed to be able to do it all at the same. Do not be frustrated with yourself if you have to make a change in life. None of what we do is done alone, we must lean on our families, our mentors, our communities in times of need when we are struggling. It's okay to ask for help!'



What does having a balance look like?

Can we truly achieve this?

Must we compromise an aspect of life in order to meet the needs or demands of the other areas?

In times where you are off-balance, how do you re-adjust?

Share your thoughts on life balance in the comments below, I would love to know what you think!


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