Home » The Progressive Professional … Tips for Quality Living – June 2012

The Progressive Professional … Tips for Quality Living – June 2012

5 Steps Toward Life Balance (Everything in Life Starts With Baby Steps)

“It’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you use that makes a difference.” –Zig Ziglar

Having a life that’s out of balance can create much larger problems that most people think. While that feeling of missing out on things, always being behind and finding it hard to slow down and relax are all disturbing, consider what else may be affected…

Your health… if you eat junk food on the run, get little exercise and don’t take care of yourself, your health will suffer. And, if you don’t have your health, what do you have? It is the foundation of all life!

Your family… if you ignore your spouse, significant other or children, you are creating problems down the road. How many folks have you seen suffer through a divorce? How many times have you heard someone say “I wish I had spent more time at work” or “My kids have grown up so fast – where did the time go?” When we ignore those we love and don’t invest our time with them now, we may be forced to spend time with them later – in meetings with lawyers, counselors, the police or even worse.

Your friends… how many close friends do you have? Friends are important because they provide support and an opportunity to share your trials and tribulations along with relaxation and fun. They are usually good listeners – not just acquaintances from work or church, but people that take a vested interest in your life and well-being. Who can you call when you need to talk?

And, I could go on, but let’s get started… I think you get the point.

Step 1 Toward Life Balance… Take inventory. Just exactly where do you spend your time? This is an important first step because you can only control what you can measure. And, as Vince Lombardi said, “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” So let’s start our journey to balance by understanding where we are starting.

Step 2 Toward Life Balance… Identify what’s important to you in all aspects of your life – career, health, lifestyle, relationships. Look around. Are those things that are most important to you “things”?  Or, are they people – parents, siblings, spouse/significant other, children, a special aunt or friends? How much quality time do you invest in those you care about – your support system? Are there ways to involve them in your necessary tasks? How’s your health? Are you eating the way you want?  Are you getting enough exercise? What do you value most? Are you honoring your values?

Step 3 Toward Life Balance… Analyze your data. No, this isn’t a technical task. It is simply looking at where you are spending your time. Remember that you can’t expect to spend half your time at work and half at home – that isn’t realistic. Did you spend time with your friends, spouse/significant other or children? Did you have any “me” time?  Were you reacting rather than having control of your day? Look for things that can be eliminated, consolidated or delegated. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Teaching someone else to take on a daily or weekly chore means building their skills. And, someday your child will need to do their own laundry and cooking. Do you cook once and serve twice? Do you run errands separately? Do you bring work home that isn’t urgent? Find the time you aren’t spending on those things that mean the most to you.

Step 4 Toward Life Balance… Allocate life’s tasks. There are 168 hours in a week. How much do you normally sleep? How long does it take to get ready for and travel to work? How long is your work day? How long does it take to get home? What about meals?  How much time is left to honor your values? How do you make the most of it? What can you do differently or not at all?

Step 5 Toward Life Balance… Make a change. Your current state didn’t happen overnight, although some changes do happen quickly and without notice and, you can’t change things that way. What can you change? What would make the biggest impact on your life balance? It takes 21 days of repetition to change a habit. When and with what will you start? When you’ve successfully made that change, move on to the next.

Studies show that you are the most productive when you are relaxed. The harder and longer you work, the less effective you become.  There is zero correlation between the number of hours you work and your effectiveness. You need breaks and down time to recover and relax. When you begin again, you’ll be less stressed and more productive. Try it!

To read more articles by Pam Nintrup, click here.

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