Saturday, March 10, 2018

It is not about Work-Life Balance; It is about Prioritization and Coherence

by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

The concept of Work-Life Balance sounds great. It has been the catch-phrase for the last decade or so.  The lack of work-life balance has often become the justifcation for anxiety, stress, depression, just about anything.

Trying to achieve work-life balance often results in people trying to do more. Trying to put a little of their energy into many different things. The focus often becomes the length of time a person spends in any one task, not whether or not they enjoy the task, whether they are getting something valuable out of it or even whether it is really important to them.

As a naturopathic doctor, I often encounter patients that are struggling to achieve specific health goals, and working to include a healthy regimen into their life.  What I hear all the time is that they struggle because there are "too many things to do". Life has become about doing more, versus enjoying what you do, really experiencing what you're doing and choosing to do things that really matter. The challenge is that what a person often ends up doing does not bring them closer to what they want to achieve.

Achieving anything - whether it be health, success, recognition, etc - starts with knowing what you want to achieve (intention), making sure what you do is consistent with those goals (coherence) and prioritizing your time accordingly.


Your intentions drive everything; whether you are conscious of them or not. In fact, your subconscious intentions are often more impactful than your conscious ones. Intention is defined as one's purpose, aim, objective or goal. Intentions can be more important than actions. Next month I am going to expand more on the role of Intention in health and disease and in overall happiness and contentment in life.


Coherence has two general meanings. It relates to things being logical and consistent and it relates to thing have a unifed focus. We think of it as the waves of your life being in sync. When it comes to health, coherence is about recognizing that there are many internal and external factors that influence health. Such as;

Copyright: Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND
It can look overwhelming, but it is really about appreciating that a person's health is influenced by everything they encounter.  When you see yourself as part of the whole, versus being in "own bubble", it can actually make life easier.

Dr. Lloyd, ND copyright 2008
Coherence recognizes that all aspects of an individual are connected.  That a person's thoughts and emotions (i.e., the psychological) is intertwined with the functional and structural aspects of a person. That a person's thoughts affect how their body functions and likewise, a person's posture influences how they think and feel and how the body functions.

What is "right" for each person, whether we are talking diet, exercise, supplements, sleep, etc, depends on a person's age, their health status, their constitution, even the seasons and time of day.

The more you evaluate things based on their relevance and their applicability to you; the better.  For example, coffee and salt are not necessarily good or bad. It simply matters whether or not they are good for you. Whether or not your body type, your age and your current health status is enhanced or negatively impacted by them.  Too often the focus is on evaluating "things" - whether they be food, exercise, supplements or anything - as good or bad, versus looking at whether they are right, or in coherence, with a specific person.

I encourage you to catch yourself any time you are wondering if something is "good" or "bad" and change your thinking to whether or not it is "right for you" or whether the impact is even "relevant" for you.


There are so many things that can pull on your energy and time. Preparing food, exercise, household tasks, work, email, social media, news, commitments with family and friends, travel, and the list goes on and on. For most people, the issue is there are are too many things to do. And, at the end of a day or a month, there is that feeling that you still didn't do enough or you never got to what mattered.

There are some trues that you want to keep in mind:
  • No matter who you are there is only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week.
  • Everybody only has 100% of energy and not everybody's 100 is the same.
  • Whatever you focus on gets done!
If you want to know what your priorities are; look at what you do and the order that you do them. What I often find is that when a person is listing their priorities and when they are listing what they do in a day or week, they often don't match. For example, a person will state that exercising or losing weight is their key priority, but they don't find the time to exercise or they still end up stress eating or snacking late at night. 

It is always a good idea to track what you get done and to get a sense of whether or not that is what you want to be defined by. Another good exercise is to make lists and check off what gets done. At the end of each week, check the list and review what got done and what was left unfinished. It is also helpful to highlight different tasks by colour - green for personal tasks, blue for household chores, red for work, etc. That way, you can more easily see where your focus and priorities lie.

There is a saying, "Whatever gets measured; gets done."  If you want to be more successful, in life, health, anything, spend time determining your priorities and then tracking what you do to determine if they match.

Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND is a naturopathic doctor with a special interest in the role of the mind in health and disease. Check out her website to find other articles and blogs that she has written. If you would like to book an appointment with her, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727.