What’s your RFW?

Posted May 29, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five

R.F.W. I’m talking about the combination of rest, fun, and work in your life. Think of it as the golden key to your peace, happiness, and fulfillment. You might be struggling to balance all three aspects, which is why I encourage you to ditch the pursuit of balance.

Balance is this ideal myth we too often try to achieve. We dream of perfectly balanced schedules, bodies, and lives. We wish we could have them. We ponder, rearrange, and buy anything to try to get us in that delicate place of wonder: Perfect Balance.

It doesn’t exist. Well, at least not in a fixed and universal way. Balance is achieved when the two (or ten) scales still and for a moment hover in equilibrium. Balance can only be achieved in a moment. Due to our ever-changing lives and feelings, this makes balance a funny thing to aim for. When we find it, even for a moment, it will naturally tip off balance the next instance when something changes. We spend more energy trying to achieve balance than actually living and enjoying it. Life is naturally off balance and uneven. Our bodies are different on the left and right side, and even our faces aren’t symmetrically balanced.

Instead aim for alignment.

If balance is an even distribution of “life weight” allowing one to remain steady, think of alignment as the natural order that occurs when one’s beliefs and purpose aligns with their daily thoughts, choices, and actions.

When your life is aligned the energy normally spent teetering between the extremes can instead be channeled towards creating, loving, or enjoying things. Each time you feel pulled to one end of the scale or the other it takes enormous amounts of effort to get back to the center. In alignment you live, and exist, centered, and your energy is channeled toward moving forward instead of back and forth.

It takes deep awareness and some sleuthing to figure out how to align the way you are spending your time with what is best for you. But when it does happen, you’ll know, because it feels glorious! It starts with a deep understanding of who you are, and what you need and desire most. (If you don’t know those things, connect with me for a complimentary clarity session).

Once you understand who you are and what your life purpose is, you want to create a life that aligns with those things. That way you are naturally living at your highest potential and for the highest good.

Your RFW is a magical ratio, unique to you, and often changing. It symbolizes the blend of activities in your life that allows you to be at your absolute best. When you stay true to it, your life is in alignment, you feel good, your thinking is sharp, and your heart is happy. When you ignore it, or don’t know what it is, you feel tired, emotionally overwhelmed or distant, and confused or apathetic about your life. When it comes to taking care of yourself this number is very telling, and can be an excellent guide to keeping you aligned.

How much time are you spending in each category?*

R = Rest
F = Fun
W = Work

There are 168 hours in one week. How many of them are spent resting? Having fun? Working? The real answer might surprise you.

  • The Rest category dictates the amount of peace and vitality you experience. It is what keeps you healthy and restored. Activities might include: sleeping, working out, reading, meditating, or cuddling with your favorite loved one or pet. The things you choose will be those that bring a sense of rejuvenation.
  • The Fun category fuels your levels of happiness and joy. It usually includes the things that make you smile and laugh. Spending time with your favorite people, going to a comedy show, trying a new physical activity, and cooking might be some of the things you’d do for fun. These things lighten your heart and soul.
  • The Work category enables you to feel purposeful and make an impact. Work goes beyond what you do for a job. It entails any time spent living out your purpose. Charity and volunteer activities, networking, learning, studying, and any self-development encompass this category. Your work category will likely bring you a sense of accomplishment and confidence.

There is no “perfect” formula or numbers for this

I don’t have magical ratio that will bring you into alignment. That is for you to discover. One category is no more important than the other. It is the combination of all the three that is most important.

Too much work and fun, and you might be exhausted or burning out. Too much fun and rest, and you might be lacking purpose, struggling with money, or feel that you aren’t making the impact that you could. Too much rest and work, and you are likely taking yourself too seriously, bored, and missing out on some of the simple pleasures in life. You might need to make some shifts to start aligning your RFW with your best self and highest purpose.

The quality of time spent for each is just as important as the quantity.

  • Are the choices you are making fueling you?
  • Could you be doing things that are more restful in your time off?
  • What other ways are there to have fun that might be even more beneficial to you and those around you?
  • How could you enhance the time you spend working to make it more successful?

It’s natural to become misaligned sometimes. We live in a hectic and chaotic world, and we are often drawn off our tracks and onto a different one. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that happening, it’s just that it will take more effort, and often some struggle and suffering until we get re-aligned. When we’re out of alignment, it can be the best time to learn (or re-learn) who we are and what we need and desire most. Sometimes knowing what doesn’t work, or what we don’t want, is the simplest way to figure out what we do want.

Savor your time out of alignment, and learn and discover what you can. Then bring yourself back to alignment, using your RFW, to live with more ease and peace. As you evolve, so will your RFW. The sum is greater than its parts, so remember you need all three to thrive: rest, fun, and work.


*If you have no clue how much time you’re spending for each, consider downloading a time tracking app (my favorite is aTimeLogger for iphone). You can create your three categories and log in your time as you go. At the end of the week you can easily see through charts and graphs what your RFW ratio is. 

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.