Week 9 – balance

In project management there is a constant struggle to maintain optimal balance between time, cost, scope and quality. An overly strong focus on one will directly affect the others. For example, I might have an opportunity to produce a million basic widgets at 5 cents a piece, and turn them around in a few days, however, it is quite likely that the quality of the widgets might be a bit dubious due to the lack of attention to quality checking, the likely costs saved by using cheaper materials, etc. If I chose to invest a bit more on the quality side, it is likely that my widgets will cost more, may take longer to produce and may see a change in scope on the original specs.

And so it goes with getting the balance in anything that happens in your life.

For me I consider this triangle frequently when trying to balance all of my different commitments and endeavours – all of the things I wish to invest in to create the life that I want. How much time to invest in myself, my close relationships, my friends, my family, my work, my masters studies, my ultra marathon training, and all of the rest of the stuff that I love to do?

Priorities change. Some times my running is more important. Other times a work deliverable is uncompromising. Or a uni deadline approaches way too fast. How do you flow between the re-prioritisation without guilt, upsetting others and still achieving what you want? CAN you have it all?

I don’t think you can.

There are times when it may seem that way, but these are fleeting moments of equilibrium that are rarely maintained. The dynamism of life will constantly pull and push on the different sides of the triangle.

As I am running longer distances, and thus drawing significantly from the ‘time’ bucket that might otherwise be available to other people and options, I find myself feeling a little guilty about having a little less to invest in the other aspects of my life. The good thing is that the way my running program has been designed is that I have peak weeks and trough weeks. This allows a little bit of a shift in focus across the things that matter in my life from week to week.

Another good thing about the running program is that I happen to obtain a lot of other personal outcomes from my running – so I can kill a few birds with one stone. Investing in my running becomes a multiplier in the investment in myself. It still comes with sacrifice elsewhere, and that is something I find challenging at times.

For example, part time work and part time study coupled with endless hours of running means I need to accept that I may not receive all HDs at uni this time around. I just need to do enough to learn, enough to pass and enough to keep other university opportunities open to me. It is hard for an overachiever to accept that position at times though.

scales with weights out of balance

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Finding the balance is a constant struggle and there is no ‘right’ answer, just the best answer I can give at any one time. And still I run.

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