good life with shifrah combiths
Part of cultivating a good life is to stop striving for “balance.”
We all wear many different hats and spin many plates at once. But in order to keep ourselves sane, be present, and keep those plates from crashing down around us, we need to have a strategy for how we approach our individual and collective days.
I am a mother of four, soon-to-be five, and I am a freelance writer who works from home. I have a multitude of responsibilities pulling on me and calling for my attention at any given moment, just like many of you do.
My goal in the midst of this is to not be busy. I want our life to feel peaceful and savored, not chaotic and rushed. I want to wear one hat at a time. I don’t want to “do it all”; I want to do one thing at a time without feeling torn. I want my body and my mind and my heart to all be in one place at any given time.
Here are a few things that have helped me:
Deciding how I will spend my limited time
Several years ago, I came across Amy Lynn Andrews’s extremely helpful ebook Tell Your Time, in which she helps you budget your time. She walks you through the roles you want to commit to, the activities you need to do to support those roles, and how to spend your time accordingly. This leads to clarity in knowing what to say yes to and when to say no (with conviction, purpose, and a lot less guilt). It’s eye-opening and potentially life-changing.
Compartmentalizing my time
Having designated, planned pockets of time to fulfill certain tasks eliminates the nagging, energy-zapping feeling that you should be doing something else while you’re doing one thing. For instance, when I know I have a two-hour time slot to work tomorrow, I can spend time with my children after school without worrying about when I’m going to get my work done. When Friday afternoon is my pay bills/get the budget up-to-date time, I don’t have to try to sneak in that task while I should be prepping dinner on another day. Compartmentalizing my time enables me to cut down on (ideally, eliminate) detrimental multitasking, and allows me to be truly and fully present in what I’m doing.
Embracing life’s seasons
The seasons of life often dictate the best use of our time and learning to work with them instead of fighting against them in order to keep up with an arbitrary standard leads to tranquility within our current environment. For example, if you are itching to do a whole-house decluttering project, the best time might be when your kids are in school, not during summertime when they’re home with you. Early pregnancy, for me, is absolutely not the season when I’m on top of meal-planning and cooking because I can barely even look at food. We may spend more money on eating out, but it’s temporary, and how I feel about it — and myself — comes down to a matter of perspective. Recognizing that life’s seasons, like nature’s, are never permanent can help us keep our chins up through hard ones and enjoy the fleeting, precious ones to the fullest.
I love this concept and am eager to explore it more. I saw it when Ali Edwards shared about a book she’d been reading called Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life.
Here is a standout quote that explains the concept of tilting:
“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.”
Examples of tilting from the book include extra busy work days that call for simple meals and lighter chore duties; kids playing independently one day, allowing you to catch up on home tasks; necessary re-charge days in which you let yourself off the hook with things that don’t support the filling of your bucket.
For me, a “good life” is a deliberate life. How we spend our time adds up, ultimately, to what we’ve done with our lives. Rather than struggling to maintain balance, which can too often lead to a harried existence, learning to move along with the ebbs and flows of daily living and focusing on being wholly in each task and wholly with the people we’re with can lead to fulfilling days and, therefore, a fulfilling life.
Shifrah Combiths is a part of our Creative Team using the physical product. She currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida with her husband of ten years, Daniel, and their four children, Elora (8), Danny (7), Zeko (5), and Abel (1).