I have already talked about the way I think life should be balanced a while ago. I have based my bases for what I choose to do in life on the same thing that James Clear describes in his 4 burners theory.
- The first burner represents your family.
- The second burner is your friends.
- The third burner is your health.
- The fourth burner is your work.
That split between the 4 main areas of life really simplifies our routine, where we constantly get distracted and put astray. In life, there are many more things such as emergencies, futile experiments and hobbies, but in this simplification, all of that is in one of the 4 categories.
The main thing is that you have a limited amount of gas that you can give your life. In reality, the constraint is time and energy that you can spend.
So this constraint forces us to choose and light up the burners in different ways depending on what we want to achieve in life.
As an example, you can choose to have all 4 areas of your life active. You will switch on all 4 of the burners, and the gas will split into 4 areas. Let’s say you have 100 worth of gas units.
25 units of gas would go to every burner, and so you will be mediocre at every single of those 4 things in life. 25 is a good number, but it doesn’t allow you to be better and more inspiring than others when it comes to any of those areas. You will be average together with the vast majority to keep 4 burners on.
While on the other hand, what you can do is only light up 3 burners of your choice. For example, you can ignore your health for a year and focus on family and friends as well as work. That would make sure that you will be outperforming the vast majority of the people because you would be one or even two steps ahead of them. Still, at the same time, you will be constantly deteriorating in your health, leading to problems that, in the end, would catch up to you and cause even more problems.
If you are certain about your goals and you have a great outlook, you can also only leave two burners on. Most people choose to focus on family and work in life after they have children with health and friends being something that they don’t bother with because they lack both time and energy to do.
This is common in later stages of life, but still is a horrible thing to do because health is one of the most important parts of your life, while friends are people that, if chosen correctly, can help you immensely in every part of what you do.
But as we have established, it is incredibly hard to do all 4 things, so there have to be time and space for compromise of what to focus on.
And lastly, there is the choice that only a couple of people in the world choose. That is turning off 3 other burners and having the last one burn at 100%. Sometimes people do that for a couple of days, just before an important meeting or a job interview is happening, but keeping that active for more than a week can not only be destructive for other parts of your life, but it can even cause problems for the thing that you focus on. If you spend all of your time and energy on a particular part of your life, you might overdo the effort. Life doesn’t like people who rush, and every good thing takes time. Sometimes taking a step back while doing other things can be the best productive thing to do.
Another thing is that the burnout chances are much higher if you keep on grinding away with no regards for anything else.
So the question right now should be, what burners do you have right now and do you want to change them?
I have been thinking of ways to increase the initial 100 gas units input that is limited to us, and I have been trying to think if the habits can play any role in that, but it is still a new area of thought for me, so I can not say anything for certain.
Stay updated to know if any new theories will come up!