Work/Life balance is something everyone’s trying to understand and achieve. Browse through any career-related magazine and you’ll find it plastered all over the pages. In today’s fast-paced workplace, most of us are urged to do more, faster and with even fewer resources. There seems to be more pressure to be successful than ever before. At work, we are celebrated for doing the job of two or even three people. As parents, we are expected to be near perfect, all the while maintaining incredible bodies, spirits and minds. The responsibilities to our families, our careers, our children’s activities and our community are all competing for the same valuable attention.
Do You Have Balance?
Is your “to do” list the size of the Empire State Building?
Do you feel you are very busy, but not sure you are accomplishing anything at all?
Are you burnt out? Do you feel like you have lost your direction?
Friend, I get you. I am not some guru that has figured it out, but I have learned a lot in the last 20 years of owning my own business, (with two locations 62 miles apart) being a mom to two crazy-busy girls, a wife, a leader to 8 incredible risk advisors, a bible class teacher, a friend, and a community servant. I try to drink enough water, get enough exercise, read enough books…all the things I am “supposed” to do. The list seems to go on and on and it makes my hair hurt to think about it all.
Here’s the bottom line: we all have the same 24 hours. Let’s accept responsibility that we all have a say in our balance to live a well-rounded life. Let’s renew and refresh our creative energies on a regular basis so that we can all achieve our highest potential.
Here are some of my favorite tips (in order of importance!)
1. Be gentle with yourself. If you start a new habit that soon gets pushed to the side in the chaos of regular life, understand that it’s completely normal. You haven’t failed; you’re just experiencing the same bumps everyone goes through. If the habit is worthwhile, work it back into your schedule. If it isn’t, scratch it. There isn’t enough time for that.
2. Manage yourself, not your time. There is really no such thing as “time management,” but we can manage our activities. Be proactive and realize the power of choice and recognize what you can control. What pressuring task are you willing to give up, or subtract, in order to have or achieve something more important in a different area?
3. Just say “No.” What do you think will happen if you say no? Sometimes we say yes to things because we feel pressure to give an immediate answer. Remember you have the right to take some time to think about it before responding. “I just need a small favor…” can totally derail your day, week or even month.
4. Schedule time for yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? Be intentional in resting, in playing, in growing. Take at least 30 minutes a day to read, to walk or to rest. You have a busy schedule. Make sure you are mentally and physically ready to tackle it.
5. Schedule time to sit down with your risk manager. Okay, so you had to know I would go here, but seriously…you want to have a working relationship with your insurance agent that goes beyond numbers and conversations on the phone. Instead of worrying about what’s at stake and if you’ve secured the best rates, you can be sure. You’re likely to come out of that meeting with peace of mind, a smile on your face and a little money saved.
The quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” has much value in terms of reminding us about the value of maintaining a balanced life. The great thing is that we have a choice about how we live our lives, what activities we are involved in and with what people we surround ourselves.
Remember that work/life balance is a worthy pursuit meant to reduce your stress, not add to it. Stop the madness. Let go of perfectionism, start small and find the right balance for you.