Balance. Is that truly possible today?
A client of ours sent us a newsletter from Global Professional Seminars that was titled "Living a Life of Balance - Practical Steps to Ultimate Success". I have to admit I've heard it all before (so I thought) and did not jump in to read the newsletter right away. But then Life reminded me to stop, read, listen and accept –– accept the advice and support that I definitely could use right now, and in the future when it gets. so. darn. busy.
"“Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin"
The article opened with the above quote and that's what kept playing in my head. We often think there's not enough time to get things done, and other times we think that we have more than enough time. However, the balance is often not in our favour. The things we put off because they don't pay the bills, or aren't keeping us productive at the office, get pushed aside with the rationalization that we'll have more time "later" to do those things.
Following is the content from that newsletter that I hope will give you some measure of support if you, too, feel like you're spinning your wheels.
Living a Life of Balance ~
Practical Steps to Ultimate Success
With “too much to do,” life in modern day society can be overwhelming. In the drive to be successful, we work long, exhausting hours, often at the expense of our personal lives. We are exhausted, burnt out and stressed. People are simply overloaded with too many demands and priorities. We need more time for our families and ourselves. We need more space. We need more balance.
What principles can we implement that will restore the balance that we long for?
Identify the Elements of a Balanced Life
We cannot lose sight of the big picture. During our lives and careers we must take care not to shift our focus so that we end up with work associates whom we know better and spend more time with than our families and friends. To achieve a well-rounded life you must be able to blend life, work and relationships in a way that will help you work smarter and live better. So, start with your vision and be clear about what you want. Your values are what you prize the most about yourself and your life. Identify your primary values. When you values are clear, your priorities will set themselves.
We all struggle to manage the needs of work, family, and life. Every priority can seem urgent, requiring immediate attention. Yet, we can only do one thing at a time. Defining personal priorities is the first step toward achieving personal-professional balance. Differentiate among values, needs and wants. It is important that we establish priorities that reflect personal standards. These established values then will have a great impact on your life balance.
Plan Your Day
Set aside time every night to plan your following day. Make a list of both the things you have to do and the things you want to do. Once completed, review your list to determine the best use of your time. Focus on the most important items first. The put aside or delegate the less important activities.
Keep Personal Commitments
Like work obligations, personal commitments are easier to keep if you put them in writing. Add family activities to you “to do” list. Most of us don’t put into our schedule the time we’re going to spend with our family. Therefore it ends up taking place only if and after everything else gets done.
Manage Your Time
Making every moment count is the sure way to live a balanced life. Begin by recognizing many of the everyday activities and interruptions that waste your time and distract you from the very things and people you value most. By investing in your personal time savings account you will learn to affect your time-management skills and achieve greater results with the same effort.
Basic components of a balanced life include your personal assessment of the beliefs and emotional distractions that may be holding you back. Because a successful balancing act is an ongoing process, it is necessary to recognize the warning signs of imbalance. You must first identify what is holding you back and identify the traps that may be preventing you from getting what you want out of your career and personal life. Committing to activities that are compatible with your own abilities, interests and passions will help you define boundaries and begin to establish balance in your life.
Don’t Neglect Your Health
If you don’t keep yourself healthy it won’t matter how many important priorities you have, you will not be able to properly handle them. As business, family and other pressures overcome us, we often find ourselves eating on the run, skipping exercise or rarely finding the time to relax. This can be prevented by analyzing dietary habits, determining the bet forms of exercise and recognizing how and when to recharge our batteries. This renewed energy will not only bring personal fulfillment, but will also make a more efficient, focused and successful professional life.
Don’t make the error of thinking the need for balance is anything but immediate. Many people deceive themselves into thinking there will be time later to enjoy the fruit of their labor. So, they put off time for their families, hobbies, spiritual development and health maintenance. Don’t wait! There are no guarantees and life cannot be postponed.
Set a Bottom Line
Although you may have control over your life, you could easily fall into the trap of allowing the demands of work to consistently come at the expense of your family. Don’t. Establish bottom-line rules to avoid compromising your key values or priorities. Make these rules the foundation of a balanced life.
Don’t be Afraid to Delegate
Achieving life balance means coming to terms with the fact that you must learn to delegate. Give away the duties you don’t personally need to do, attending only to those that couldn’t be handled by anyone else. Direct your energies to those require your personal attention, allowing to focus on items that are of higher value and priority.
A great man, Jim Elliot, once said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” In the process of trying to balance work and family it is easy to lose focus. Don’t let it happen to you. When you are at work, be at work. And when you are at home, be at home. Recognizing this potential conflict is the first step towards controlling it. Learn to live in the present to make the best of your very good life.
Level with Others
Whenever a conflict arises between a commitment at work and a personal need, don’t hesitate to level with co-workers or customers. While doing so can seem risky, graciously making your priorities understood will many times give others the freedom to balance their lives as well.
Getting carried away in work is easy to do. Business becomes an integral part in life, and often, the line between work and life gets so blurred that the separation becomes unclear. But business and personal success is most often brought about by a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
The bottom line to successfully integrate your work with the rest of your life is to clarify what’s important. Recognize yourself as a whole person and continually seek new ways to find what works best for you personally and professionally.