When I was a teenager and even as a young adult, I used to keep a journal.
A big believer in fresh starts, I’d start a new journal whenever a major life event prompted me to think it was the right time. A new grade in school, beginning college, beginning or ending a job or relationship… Whatever. And each journal starts out with something like, “I always have so many ideas, and I know now I’ll keep writing, no matter what.”
And then one day, I hit on the idea of using my journal — really using it. For thoughts about life, practice, personal stuff, keeping track of quotes I like, my grocery list, you name it. Ever since, I’ve kept a journal and used every single page! It isn’t as neat as it used to be, but it’s much more useful, and looking back, I’m sure it will tell more about my life than perhaps I would care for it to do. (That’s a topic for another day, and another blog: when and whether to look back at journals!)
Why am I yammering about this here? Because, forgive me dear reader, it’s been 17 days since I last posted on my blog. Although I would like to stick to a schedule of making new posts, that isn’t always realistic. But, having my journaling experience, I know that I will always return to the blog — sometimes on schedule and sometimes not.
And this illustrates another point about Life at the Bar: balance. We all strive for balance, and it’s impossible to look at any practice management publication without seeing some reference to balance. It’s as if balance is a single state of being, and once we get there, it’s static. We reify balance. It’s something we have on a daily basis or not.
I don’t believe that’s true.
Balance is something we attain over a period of time, something that’s fluid and flexible. If I work 16 hours a day everyday for a year, I am clearly out of balance (at least according to my values and energy). But if I work 16 hours a day for a month and then take a week-long vacation, perhaps that is balance. (Whether it is a balance that suits you may be another matter altogether!) For me, I’m not “out of balance” just because I might spend sun-up to sun-down sitting at my desk, talking with clients and writing. I don’t keep a scorecard and note whether I had “balance” at the end of each day. And I don’t look at my calendar every morning and juggle plans and commitments so I can achieve “balance.”
But I do make sure than over time (a week or month) I’m spending sufficient time in each area of my business and my life. And that, my friend, is balance.