The art of balance

Blogging, or should I say writing, is a labour of love to which I haven’t been dedicating enough time. I take advantage of a quieter day to share with you the events of the last few weeks and a reflection on the art of “juggling several balls”.

One of the reasons for being so out of time to write was my active participation as a co-organizer of the conference Cidadania 2.0 (cidadania is the Portuguese word for citizenship). The event presented case studies on government 2.0, ONGs and social media, open participation of citizens in local government issues and others. It was a full day adventure organized by a small team of two (my “partner in crime” was the knowledge management expert Ana Neves) in Lisbon and under a really tight budget. We were fortunate to have excellent speakers (it was really good to finally meet Álvaro Gregório from iGovSP in Brazil and Dominic Campbell from FutureGov in the UK), an engaged audience and good content. It was a really wonderful experience.

My involvement in Cidadania 2.0 was one those “challenge made, challenge accepted” kind of thing. And let me be very honest: it drained a considerable amount of energy from myself. Organizing a conference or similar event, I learned this year, requires the stamina of a bull, the gentleness of a small bird, and the agility of a cheetah! It is not for the faint hearted.

I then moved on to lead and manage, with the help of a dear good friend, a group of nearly 80 volunteers to participate in a full weekend action in a supermarket to gather food for the local food bank. It is both physically and emotionally tiring but everytime I do it I can’t help but feel an enormous sense of pride of what a team of motivated people and the good will of so many can do for the benefit of those less fortunate.

All these side projects – side because they are not part of the paid job I perform during the week – help me grow as an individual and teach me a lot about life, teamwork, sociology, logistics and much more. But they also serve as a test to my limits and balance.

At some point during the last weeks I felt weak and unbalanced up to the point of making my closest friends and family worry about my health. It was not a good moment I must tell you. But it taught me a lot about my current limits and the necessary adjustments I have to make in order to guarantee that I live a good and balanced life.

And that my dear readers is not easy! The art of balancing the demands of modern life, work, family, friends, personal projects and leisure times is often pretty difficult. But my advise to you all, and I’m saying this out loud to myself also, is to get your priorities sorted and strive a balance between the time and energy demands of  the different aspects of life (which may imply saying some unwanted no’s along the way simply because you won’t be able to juggle all balls).

I’m still learning how to achieve my own balance. What do you do to achieve yours and get your energies sorted?


4 thoughts on “The art of balance

  1. GTD is the perfect solution for managing life&work balance.. in fact, we usually say there is no life/work difference… it’s all the same when you are in tune with what you are doing 😉
    Let me know if I can help!

  2. Great post! All of us come across this problem sooner or later, I believe.
    You know me well enough to be aware that when I’m into something, I dive into it and tend not to stop, as seen in the last few weeks. It’s only natural when you love what you do, or simply like giving the best of you, when you don’t like it that much. I’m like that and so are you.
    So, what do I do about it? I force myself some time off and even schedule it, when possible. Yes, I do have “relax” and “chill out” on my to-do list. Or “play guitar”, “working out”, and the such. So should you. And I get much more productive using this technique. A 20 minute rest to the brain can make all the difference. Bottom line: take some time to smell the flowers. 😉

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