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Remember What's Important

By Stephanie Marston

People struggle so much with the word balance. Give it up. There is no such thing as balance. It is about setting priorities. I actually think that the notion of work/life balance is a myth. There is never going to be true balance in our lives nor should there be. But, I do think that we have to make choices every single day about what's important.

I'd like to suggest that you spend as little as five minutes a day considering how you choose to spend your time. Most of us are driven by what we think we have to do. We are slaves to our to do lists. Yet in order to live your best life you have to take control of your time and decide what it is you choose to do. Before you write down any other plans or think about your schedule, decide the single most important thing you can do that day for your family, for yourself and for your work. List one "choose-to-do" in each of these areas before you list any have-to-dos.

Keep in mind that even if you only do these three key priorities each day, in a year, you will have accomplished more than 300 specific, clearly thought-out things for your family, for yourself and for work. By narrowing down and naming the three balance points, you will keep these three areas in your awareness and begin to gain greater control over your life.

Get into the habit of looking every day at the choices you're making. And when you ask yourself, why am I making these choices, be sure to find this answer, "Because they are what I want and wish for; because they reflect who and what I am." This must be your criterion, your primary motivation.

A corporate executive was on vacation in Mexico and was horrified when he came across a fisherman lying next to his boat in the middle of the day. The man asked, "Why aren't you out fishing?"

"Because I've caught enough fish for the day," the fisherman responded.

"Why don't you catch some more?"

"What would I do with them?"

"You can earn more money," was the executive's reply. "With that you could have a motor installed in your boat and go into deeper water and catch more fish. Then you would make enough money to buy nylon nets. These would bring you more fish, and more money. Soon you would have enough money to own two boats--maybe even a fleet of boats. The you would be a rich man like me."

"What would I do then?" asked the fisherman.

"Then you could really enjoy your life," the executive said.

"What do you think I'm doing right now?"

The fisherman knew the key of "just enough."

Read The Balancing Act, the newsletter for people seeking greater sanity and balance, issued each month. Information on Stephanie Marston's programs.

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