Work-Life Balance: Where Do You Place Your Attention?

by | 1 Sep 2014 | Happiness

Something I increasingly know to be true is that the quality of my life, the results I get and the richness I experience depend very much on where I’m placing my attention.

And I don’t mean by this the usual stuff about ‘focus on the positive’ etc.

Instead, what I know to be true for me is that there always 3 aspects present for me, whether it’s at work or with the family.

There’s always the tasks, the things that need to be done, the ‘deliverables’; reports to be written, calls to be made, accounts to be kept, washing and ironing, mowing the grass etc etc. Let’s call that the ‘it’.

There are also always other people – the relationships or the ‘us’; colleagues, boss, direct reports, stakeholders, partner, kids, friends and family.

And then there’s the ‘me’ – how I choose to be, how I manage my state, how I develop and grow.

Now what can easily happen, if you imagine a circle representing my attention, is that the ‘it’ can be huge, and dominate the circle, squeezing out the ‘me’ and the ‘us’. Conversations can become very transactional, and I’m a ‘human doing’ not a ‘human being’.

At the other extreme, if it’s all ‘me me me’ – well, that’s not great either!

Too much ‘us’ and I can start to feel resentful and martyred.

No, it’s clear that the most sustainable and thriving way for me to be is when, over time, I have equal amounts of attention between those three aspects – they are in balance. Yes, sometimes I may need to be all in the ‘it’, and that’s ok if it’s soon balanced by more attention to the ‘us’ and ‘me’.

Sometimes (as is the case just now for me), the ‘us’ needs to be bigger – over recent weeks I’ve prioritised the family, and especially my Mum, over my coaching business tasks and some of the things I need for me. But I can’t sustain this indefinitely – particularly because the ‘us’ and the ‘it’ are hugely influenced by how I am in the ‘me’.

If I allow ‘me’ to sit at the heart of the circle of my attention, I will be at my best more of the time, which facilitates and unlocks the potential in the ‘us’ and in turn the ‘it’ almost starts to take care of itself.

Does this make sense? Hmmm, and it occurs to be now, as I share this with you, that perhaps the time is right for me to rebalance my attention a little more than I have, to keep the ‘me’ strong and centered, so I have more to give, for longer, in the ‘us’ and ‘it’.

So what’s dominating the circle of your attention just now?


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