Do you ever feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day? Or like there are things you’d like to spend more time doing, but you don’t feel you can give up anything else to make room? We all feel a bit overwhelmed sometimes, like there’s too much demanding our attention and we can’t possibly hope to focus on everything. Mostly, this is just a case of circumstance, when several things converge all at the same time, and it passes once the flurry of activity surrounding us has calmed down.
But if this is how it feels all the time, then it could signal an imbalance in life that will ultimately need addressing if you are to feel calmer and more content.
YU founder Paul knows this feeling only too well:
“For years, I spent almost all of my time working, and it’s the thing I gave the most mental space to. I owned my own company and I loved the buzz and would happily work all hours of the day, so it wasn’t something that dragged me down – far from it. But I often felt like I couldn’t find enough quality time for other areas of my life, and over time it started to make me stressed and frustrated.”
Many of us spend more time doing one thing than others. Some people manage to achieve a balance, but it can be a challenge to spread our time evenly across all the different parts of life, and this means we might be missing out on things we’d rather be doing. This can cause feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration, a lack of control, and even despair.
Let’s say you place high importance on the power of nature, and love nothing more than going for long walks along the beach – yet you live in a busy city because it’s closer to work. While there is logic to this choice, it’s causing discomfort and there is a jarring between what you’re doing and what you wish you were doing. For some, this can be offset by indulging in small bursts of what makes them happy – so, in this example, perhaps you go hiking every other weekend. But is this enough to sustain you over a lifetime? Will it provide enough balance to make the rest worthwhile? And how do you know what balance will work for you?
The YU app is a great tool for helping you assess how balanced your life is. It’s the reason we ask you to choose a ‘life aspect’ during a moment capture. If you can associate a moment with one of the eight life aspects (social, work, finances, environment, spirituality, personal development, physical and mental), then we can help you track how much of your time you are spending in which areas of life. The spider graph on the analytics page is a handy visual to instantly see which aspect of your life gets more attention than the others.
The aim is to be as close to even with all eight life aspects. It’s not going to be perfect all of the time, but if you can achieve a broad range across all the life aspects, then you are doing great! Of course, you might be a workaholic who views any time not spent working as a waste of time, and you actively enjoy being at work. If this is the case (or for any other life aspect too), then it’s not going to do any harm, but it’s still important to look at the overall balance. You might enjoy work now, but what if you are made redundant? If you haven’t invested any time over the last decade in social relationships, developing a range of interests or being able to stop and be mindful, you might find it difficult to find a way to enjoy your changed life.
Things don’t always stay the same, least of all you, so it’s important to keep a healthy active balance across the full spectrum of life to ensure you have a robust foundation holding you up.
As Paul found, it was slowing down and reflecting that changed everything for him:
“In 2019, I lost my business and I was suddenly without the force that had shaped my life for so long and I wasn’t sure what to do anymore. I know this might be a controversial opinion, but the covid pandemic was an incredibly positive time for me. I realise that it was an awful time for many others so I don’t want to downplay that, but it gave me the first breathing space I’d had in years. I was still working, developing YU actually, but the big thing was getting to spend so much more time with my family, going for long walks, growing veg in the garden and generally experiencing life in a way that I hadn’t realised I was missing. It completely changed how I felt about what I was spending my time doing, what was worthwhile and what wasn’t.”
Taking time to reassess what’s important to you, to really think about what makes you tick, gives you the chance to view your life as a whole. Once you have all the information to hand, you can use it to inform the choices you make, and decide how you can implement changes to adjust your life balance in a way that enhances your overall wellbeing.