Need to improve your work life balance? Try this simple tool

Have you ever felt completely stretched? If you had to do one more thing, take on one more responsibility then you might just snap, like an elastic band! Perhaps work is really full on – have you taken on a new area of work, or is the workload just high. Or work and home are both really demanding, maybe you’ve got small kids or teenagers who need you as soon as you walk in through the door, or maybe its other demands on your time. You know that something has to give, because you can’t continue to feel so out of balance without having some sort of break down.

I had a client last week who felt exactly like that – a full on demanding job and a home life that meant she felt like she just never stopped. When she did it was to collapse in front of the TV and then go to bed. Not the life she imagined for herself.

I had just finished reading about Rumer Godden and her ‘4 rooms of life’, so we decided to try out the concept to see if it could help my client get some perspective on what was happening and how she could make some changes.

What are the ‘4 rooms of life’?

Rumer Godden discovered an Indian proverb that says “everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual . Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”

Does this resonate for you? Can you begin to recognise which room you spend most of your time in either by choice or by necessity. For my client, she found she was mostly in the physical room because she spent her whole day doing ‘stuff’ without time for reflection or connection.

This is a fantastic tool to either increase your awareness of what’s missing from your current life experience or to work out what would balance you more, and be feel less frazzled.

How to use the ‘4 rooms of life’ as a tool for balance?

  • Take a blank sheet of paper and divide it into 4 squares and give each a heading – physical, emotional, spiritual and mental
  • Next ask yourself ‘where do I spend most of my time?’ and check if this is your natural preference or is it caused by circumstance? If necessary, identify ways you can reduce your time in this room to free up space to spend in the other rooms.

For example, my client identified practical ways to reduce the time in the physical room, such as ordering her food shopping online, getting her partner to cook at the weekends and finding a cleaner. It’s important that you  consider how you can change things to create more time otherwise the ideas for spending time in the other rooms will feel like another thing to do.

  • Then ask yourself ‘am I spending enough time in the other rooms?’ Maybe one room feels particularly important to you so you may want to focus more on that one.
  • Now generate ideas for increasing the time in each room. They can be daily, weekly, monthly or a one off. Consider how you can easily build them into your life. There will be ideas that overlap different rooms and that’s ok – that one activity will help you ‘air a number of the rooms’ in one go. Remember it’s the ‘airing of the room’ or the connection with it that helps us to feel whole.

The wonderful thing is that everyone’s rooms will look different – here’s a snapshot of mine:

  • Remember to focus on you and what you need to do. By focusing on yourself you will be more able to help others, so don’t feel guilty.
  • When you feel out of balance again – choose an action from a room that you need to be in more and focus on that.

My client really enjoyed filling her rooms with ideas and identifying what she needed to stop doing or change in the room that was becoming overwhelmed. It just gave her a new perspective, and a re-connection with what she intuitively knew helped her to feel better about herself and the balance in her life.

Check out your 4 rooms and let me know how you get on, or if you want help to get more balance do get in touch for a chat.

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Photo courtesy of Kaboompics.com

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