FOR years women have been sold the idea of work-life balance.
And if you look at balance as something you need to achieve every day — keeping the scales evenly weighted between your partner, kids, family, friends, yourself, spirituality, health, keeping the home, work — you will struggle to find real balance and expend so much energy simply on trying to create and maintain it.
Frankly, I think this idea of striking a work-life balance is a complete myth. It’s damaging and pressures us to achieve something impossible, where a more fluid approach provides the flexibility required to meet the different needs in our life, as and when it’s needed.
Instead of exhausting yourself by trying to achieve balance, learn to tilt.
To willingly throw things out of balance.
And, importantly, learn to be OK with that.
Actually, we need to learn to embrace it!
WHAT IS TILTING?
More a mindset than a ritual, tilting is the opposite of balance.
Rather than aiming for balance — which the women in the study realised was impossible to achieve, stressful to attempt and boring to live — they ‘tilted’ towards activities and commitments they liked and found meaningful. Towards the area of life that required their attention in a particular moment, intentionally choosing to be there, present, and then intentionally tilted into another area as needed.
Tilting is about being aware of the changing pressures of life and being flexible, while also rejecting the idea that everything needs to be perfectly balanced every single minute of every day and that anything less is a failure.
Tilting allows us to focus on what’s important in the moment, and intentionally choose to put our energies into those areas. The physical act of tilting means we’re leaning in to one thing, and
leaning out of another. We can’t be everything to everyone in every moment, and tilting makes it clear that by saying yes to one thing, we’re saying no to another in that moment.
And what’s more, it’s OK to do so.
Conversely, tilting actually helps us to achieve balance over a longer period of time. Instead of battling to find it every day, it’s more important to create balance over a month — or a year. If we take a longer view of balance, it’s much easier to see if we’re living the way we want to be, or what areas we need to focus on more. Plus, we all have bad days and stressful times and it’s far more forgiving to take a broader view of balance — chances are, if you’re tilting in to the important things, you’ll find
you’ve achieved that balance over time.
HOW TO TILT
It’s not a matter of learning a step-by-step approach. It’s more about keeping the idea of tilting in the back of your mind.
It’s about understanding — and accepting — the fact that you cannot and will not ever achieve perfect balance.
What’s more, you probably wouldn’t want to.
Achieving and then maintaining a state of balanced perfection would be incredibly stressful and unfulfilling. Instead, understandthat your time is limited and valuable. And you can choose where
to place your energies, depending upon where they need to be.
Your life is yours.
I can’t tell you where your priorities need to lie. But every once in a while, ask yourself if you feel balanced:
• this week?
• this month?
• in the past six months?
The answer you feel in your gut will guide you much better than any ideal of perfect daily balance will.
EXAMPLES OF TILTING
Simple living is about finding lightness, joy and presence.
• Some days you are extra busy at work — tilt towards simple meals, light home duties and simple rhythms.
• Some days your kids are happy to play independently — tilt towards catching up on tasks around the house.
• Some days you need to recharge — tilt towards being kind to yourself and letting go of the things that don’t help with that.
• Some days your kids are sick, or needy, or plain grumpy, meaning you can’t get anything done except the very basics — tilt towards supporting the kids and being extra mindful of what’s going on for them.
• Some days your partner is under added pressure at work — tilt towards lessening the load on them at home.
• Some days you need to regain order at home — tilt away from social engagements and towards time spent focused on those needs.
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