26 July 2021

MAKING ROOM FOR HAPPINESS PART TWO

Gradual Rise to A New Balance

In my previous post, we explored how we try to attain happiness from different sets of obligations on our plates. I have shared with you my personal struggle of feeling burned out from the busy bee lifestyle, and how I embarked on the journey to reclaiming my balance. Today, we are continuing with the second step.


2ND STEP: GROUND YOURSELF BY KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE


Along the journey, journaling and logging my daily and weekly tasks has been the most valuable tool that has helped me navigate back to my iBalance. It is the process of getting to know ourselves better and a compass to remind us whether or not we are on the right track.

Since I did not know what my new iBalance “should” look yet, I needed to know how I was allocating my energy and resources. Yes, there was an ideal version of iBalance that I was hoping for, but it was clearly not applicable to the circumstances back then.

So instead of having wishful thinking for an unrealistic iBalance, I wanted to make a realistic and step-by-step mitigation plan of where I want to be.

First off was to ground myself in the current- situation to get the real facts out. I did this by making my to-do list and jotting down those tasks outside of my to-do list as well.  At the end of the day, I would categorize them into the aspects / areas of life that each task belonged to. Then I would give a rough weight for each aspect based on the percentage I allocated for it that day.

To make it easier to conceptualize, let’s get to some real examples. When my to-do list tasks say:

  • Meeting with Finance team on cash flow forecast (Fam business),
  • Meeting with Management and HR on KPI reviews (Fam business),
  • Conference Call with VC (My Business),
  • Follow up with Legal team on term sheet (My business),
  • Some self-care routine
  • Etc …

Then the allocation I assign at the end of the day would look something like:

  • Fam Business 60%
  • My Own Business 30%
  • Self-Care 10%

At the end of the week, I would simply make a summation and see how I allocated my energy during that week. Once I had a realistic and measurable picture of how I spent my energy, I then moved on to the next step.

But before that …

Key Questions to Keep in Mind

As I was logging and summarizing my daily activities, I realized that instead of asking myself if I was doing my best to achieve each aspect of my life, I had to ask myself whether I was doing my best to find balance.

It sounds simple and obvious now, but when you are in the middle of endless to-do lists like I was, this could easily slip through the cracks, and it could drive you further towards burnout if you ask the wrong questions when evaluating your progress.

Why? Because our time and energy in each day is finite. If we don’t keep the concept of having limited resources in mind, we can easily got into a cycle of over planning and overachieving.

“The words ‘balance’ and ‘holistic view’ are there to anchor us in the reality that we do have limited time and energy in each day, so we’d better allocate it realistically.”
– Mim Chawimon

 

It was a total shift in mindset for me when I reframed the question. Instead of focusing on progress for each aspect of my life, and shifting the focus towards finding balance, allowed me to come back to the present in order to evaluate whether I was making a contribution to the holistic view of my well-being. And it helped me navigate back to the right focal point.

I shared my personal story about how taking the holistic view of our lives is mentally and emotionally healthy for our well-being in Healthy Growth Mindset Series Part3. Please explore it further if a well-balanced lifestyle is what you are looking for. 😊


3RD STEP: THE TRIAL-AND-ERROR APPROACH TO DISCOVERING AND RE-DESIGNINGTHE NEW BALANCE


The previous step allowed us to ground ourselves and have a solid place to start. Now we can start by making adjustments. My personal experiences told me that what I thought was the “right” iBalance might not necessarily be the “right” one.

Sometime it turned out not to fit in with the overall context, situation or people involved. Sometimes it turned out to not feel “right” after experiencing it. You know, one of those moments when you go see a movie that you have a very high expectation of, but it turns out to be kind of disappointing. It was similar to that.

What I am saying is that we can have a tentative look of the new iBalance in mind to work towards, but at the same time, we have to be mindful to check in with ourselves whether that really resonates–emotionally, mentally, and physically–when we actually experience it.

In short, it is a trial-and-error approach in this redesigning process.

Draft of Desired iBalance

From previous steps, you should have an overall picture of your energy allocation into each aspect of your life. For the sake of easy explanation, let me share mine. It was:

  • 75% for in my family businesses,
  • 15% for my own business and
  • 10% for my self-care routine and quality time with loved ones.

Yeah, it looked like I had no life, and nope, I sure didn’t.

I came up with the first desired plan of allocation to be:

  • 30% Family Business and Obligations,
  • 30% My Own Business,
  • 20% Quality Time with loved ones, and
  • 20% for Hobbies and Self-Care.

That was where I wanted to land at the end of the transition.

Gradual Adjustments

During the process, I made gradual adjustments to the percentage I planned to allocate. For example, curbing the Family Business and Obligation by 5%-10% at a time, and adding more of my Self-Care routine 5% at a time. This gradual approach to making adjustments made it both practical and achievable.

For those of you who would like to take action in order to change your energy allocation, I recommend to not make any drastic changes. You should probably have a 5-10% maximum shift on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, depending on how fast or slow you can personally manage to adjust your allocation.

Please be mindful and make observations on what pace is most efficient to you. For example, finding the one that gets you closer to your desired balanced lifestyle without backfiring on you instead.

I’m talking about the pace that rushes you so quickly that you end up with more stress from trying to go against external factors to achieve your mitigation plan. This kind of pace is definitely the pace you want to shy away from.

The pace that you hardly make any progress on based on your actual daily logging is also not recommended. The latter is the pace where you let the external circumstances govern too much of your life.

Play around with the percentage of shift and the period of time to manage that transition.

Put things into actions, log them, feel them out, and you will surely find your pace!

Alright guys, it’s about the length … let’s do a quick wrap up 😉

Today’s post gives you an overview on how to practically navigate your life to iBalance. In our next post, we will dive deeper into actually rolling it out. Would love to see you there!

Rest well and take care

With love,

Mim

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