There are four main areas of life for most all of us: Work, family, friends, and self. Finding that perfect work/life balance scheme is almost impossible since it varies from person to person. Not only is there not a standard formula for balance in general, but even when it comes to your own personal balance, it will vary from time to time, and with different stages of life. Today’s balance is not necessarily going to be tomorrow's. A work-life balance for when you are single is probably not going to be the same when you are married, just as it will be different with and without kids. There is no perfect one-size fits all formula to follow.
The goal you should be seeking when considering a work-life balance, is not necessary to develop some working model that allows you to schedule equal time for all activities; that is trying too hard and will add stress in the end. The ultimate goal at the end of each day is to find a working balance of achievement and enjoyment. If life is too heavy on either side, the lack of balance can have detrimental effects on you in many areas of life.
Think of achievement and enjoyment as two sides of the coin of life, and look at them as being the answer to many of life’s questions of “why.” Why do you want a better income? Why do you want to go to work today? Why do you want to do your best (or better yet, do you want to do your best) today? Why do you want a better house, car, etc.? Why do you want to take a vacation?
When it comes to achievement most of us have a good idea what that means. It is that satisfaction in not only doing a good job, but in actually accomplishing a task we have set out to do. Enjoyment, on the other hand, can be interpreted in various ways. When we speak of it here, it is not to be seen as just those fun loving moments in life where we laugh and have fun. That is a small side of it, but what we are looking for in this balance, is that side of enjoyment that comes from a sense of well-being, pride, satisfaction and establishing a true joy of living.
We often go through life with a sort of “I’ll get around to it later” mentality when it comes to this balance. We set life goals but then get bogged down with concentrating on one side of the coin, and the other side suffers. We are always saying we’ll do this or that as soon as we get done with this or that other thing. Each day we should seek to experience both sides of the coin. Each day seek to achieve something and enjoy something in each of the four areas of life which I mentioned at the onset: work, family, friends and self.
Stop and think, when was the last time you not only achieved, but also enjoyed something at work? Your family? Your friends? Your self?
At work, you may not receive recognition each day after an achievement, but pat yourself on the back, and spread that to others also. When it comes to family, make an effort each and every day to spend some time with each member of your family. For me, this has been difficult and not so difficult. I established a frame of mind early in in my childrearing years, to not be one of those father’s that buries his head in a paper, book, or behind a computer, and shoves the kids to the side as an annoyance. I made it my duty that whenever any of my children approached me when I was home on the computer working, I would stop, turn to them, and focus on their needs at that moment. I never wanted them to think they were less important than my work.
When it comes to doing something for myself, one of the things I enjoy doing is reading. So, I have carved out time during my lunch hour each day, to read at least 20-30 minutes. Taking that break at work helps me to refocus my mind, seek some enjoyment for self, and that helps to get back on track for the rest of the workday focus.
There are many ways to start focusing on seeking this balance. We tend to want to just fall into full-speed-ahead mode, without thinking of seeking the balance, and we tend to drive ourselves into a miserable state of being. Begin today by turning your focus onto this balance, and implement it little by little through your day.
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