Balance Work and Life Like a Pro
By Christina Winsey-Rudd
Is your development in career, relationships, or other life categories suffering because you take on too much? See if this sounds like something you might be saying to yourself. "Life just seems to be whizzing by me, and I don't really feel as though I'm spending enough quality time on the things that matter most to me. I worry a lot that I'm going to somehow miss my life and then it will be over."
Life's demands may not slow up any time soon, and learning life balance is an ongoing art. If you think one day you will get it all done, and then you can relax, you are bound to be disappointed. So then how can we create an alternative to the demands of this fast-paced, over-busy society? Women and men alike want to insure that those things of greatest importance to them get the amount of attention they deserve.
- Identify the top four priority categories in your life that you want to balance (i.e., spirituality/personal development, family/relationship, career, personal care/health) and honestly assess how much time you give to each category.
Often, people have expectations of themselves that are unreasonable given the amount of time they actually have to devote to something. If, for example, you are giving only 50% of your time to a career, it is truly unreasonable to expect yourself to be a superstar in that category. But if kids and family are a top priority to you, giving only 50% to career is probably the most you could give and still have enough time and energy left over.
- Write things down! Don't use your brain as your day planner. Doing so increases stress. Consider making five separate life balance "to do" lists. The first four lists correlate with your four top priority life categories (from our example above, one for spirituality/personal development, one for family/relationships, one for career/work and one for personal care/health). Then the fifth list would be for general "to do's" that don't fit into those top four categories.
From these lists make sure you schedule the important items in your priority categories first, before anything else makes it onto your calendar. As a result you won't have to worry whether you're making time for priorities. Then you can pick and choose from your general to do list which additional activities you may need to, have to or (actually want to), fit in. By the way, don't be afraid to use that good word "no" to any time-robbers you identify!
- Practice being in the present moment only. Let's say you're always thinking about your endless pile of work at the office when you're home with the family. Fact is there is absolutely nothing you can do about those things on your desk. Worrying about it takes precious time and attention away from your priorities and increases your feelings of dissatisfaction about life.
It takes practice and some mental self-control to keep your attention on what's happening in the present moment, but this tip alone will bring huge rewards. When you savor the series of life moments one by one, you will find you don't feel as though you're missing out.