The number of stress related disability cases in the United States has doubled and most Americans believe that merely working hard is not enough. As a result, the average person’s work and home life suffers. We lose out in our relationships with family, in our work quality, and in our health. The trick to avoiding these potential problems is to bring order to the chaos through achieving balance.
The dictionary describes achieving balance as bringing a lever into equilibrium, normally done by adding or removing weights to one end in order to balance the unknown weight on the other side. In life, you can describe achieving balance as giving attention and influence to your goals and tasks. You do this in order to increase your sense of personal well-being.
You might say that you have perfect balance in your activities. However, your activities are probably out of balance when you discover yourself feeling out-of-sorts and uneasy. Some other situations that might point to an imbalance are:
- You find yourself working on job stuff at home.
- You find yourself working when you are off work, or when you are supposed to be on downtime (lunch break, etc.).
- You find yourself believing you do not have any downtime.
- You find yourself thinking about all the work you have to finish when you’re supposed to be paying attention to your child’s little league game.
- You find yourself reading an online article about achieving balance and well-being.
This list could go on forever, but you get the picture. The point is, in order to increase your well-being by bringing your activities into balance you must recognize the areas that need some work. When you begin to focus on your goals and review the things you have prearranged for yourself to do, you will discover the corrections to make in order to achieve this balance. You must ask yourself whether the goals you set will bring a balance to your activities and well-being to your life or with they create a layer of stress and uneasiness. You also need to make sure you are including your personal goals when you review your objectives. You will not be able to bring balance to your work and personal activities without looking at the bigger picture.
Balance can be elusive, and it is something that is different for each of you. It is also something that does not come from an outside source. Your work and personal lives are your own responsibility and balancing them is a task that falls squarely at your own two feet.
For some of you, all that is required is the short break of a three-day weekend spent away from work. For others it might mean overhauling your objectives and reworking them into goals that can be accomplished one actionable item at a time. You might not recognize immediately what you must do to bring balance to your activities, but you will find the solutions if you continue to try different things that bring a sense of well-being to your life. A few things you might try are:
- Remember that there are just 24 hours in a day when planning activities.
- Remember that your workday ends at 5pm (or whenever your workday ends) when scheduling appointments and tasks.
- Schedule family time throughout the week and treat it like the very important appointment that it is.
- Turn off your computer when it is not in use. This will allow you freedom from the temptation to glance at your email or instant messages.
- Treat your days off as if they were actually days off. Work has nothing to do with your weekend.
You are probably thinking that balance is a subject much easier to talk about than to achieve, and you would be correct in thinking that. However, it is not as hard as you suspect. Determining the necessary actions to increase well-being is the only challenge. Sometimes you might just be too busy trying to accomplish all the tasks you have written on your lists that you fail to give proper attention to the process of creating balance. If you give more time during your review and evaluation practice to creating balance, you will find a new serenity within yourself. Both your work life and your personal life will benefit greatly. The cool thing about it all is, stuff will become easier to do and deal with. What is important is to identify the changes that will successfully create this balance in your life.
So ask yourself, “What do I need to do to maintain balance?”
(Image courtesy of SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent) under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.)
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