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Taking a better course - why goals are only part of the picture of work-life balance

compassion mindfulness wellbeing work life balance Jan 31, 2014

Yesterday I had a great plan for the day.

Get up early go to the gym * Walk dog * Meditate * Shower change breakfast * Coffee shop to finish of writing article * Follow up emails * Book car for rego check * Walk dog again * Shop for and cook dinner * Night out at theatre * Home bed.

Sounds good. Seems productive.  Seems achievable.

Here’s what actually happened.

Up until 5am with senile agitated dog * Awake at 6am to text trainer and postpone gym session* Awake at 7am to tell husband not to wake me * Awake at 9am – get up * Read news and emails on ipad, then looked at Facebook, LinkedIn, few other websites, back to Facebook * Realised it was later than I thought * Cursed * Got dog ready for walk * Raining * Came back and went for coffee without dog * Surfed internet (for inspiration!) * Cleared some emails * Paid some bills * Went to pet store * Went to gym (yeah) * Too late to cook dinner * Made sandwiches * Showered, changed, went to theatre. * Home to clean up after old dog * Bit of television * Read * Bed.

Sound familiar?  Well I hope so, because that’s what most of our lives are.  A series of unexpected events wrapped around a few things we actually planned to do, sometimes at the time we wanted to do it. 

Rather than following a beautifully set out schedule, most of our lives are heading generally in a certain direction, but with lots of tacks and adjustments to keep us on course. 

There are times when you meet your expectations (I got to the gym) and times when you don’t (I did not cook dinner).  There moments you planned that give you great satisfaction (going out to the theatre) and moments you don’t that bring you great joy (laughing about it with my husband).

We cannot plan every moment of our lives, and nor should we want to.  We need to leave lots of “blank canvas” for the unexpected and the serendipitous.   Because it is in these moments that comes creativity, insight and delight.  

So rather than seek perfection in our daily life, take a deep breath and acknowledge that most of life is beyond our control.  All we can do is set a direction, an intention or even a wish, and then set sail into new uncharted waters with courage knowing we can adjust our course at any time and keep going. 

By not worrying about what didn’t go to plan you will have lots of energy for finding the next opportunity, the solution to that niggling problem, meeting that wonderful contact, and maybe even enjoying life.

Or you may find a new destination on the way that is even better than the one you planned.

Have you ever started out with a particular goal in mind, only to change direction for a better course?  Let us know how you readjusted and made your way on your journey.  

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