The Hard Part Of BalanceAuthor: Byron Pulsifer © 2011
If you are unfortunate enough to work for a company in a capacity other than an employee who can honestly say that their job responsibilities definitely end when the clock strikes five, you are probably very familiar with a briefcase full of work, or a laptop, email, cell phones, and Blackberries.
Now, a lot of people have taken a briefcase full of work home with them for years but the other electronic devices that now dominant our life are also a constant companion whether we like to admit it or not.
A Constant Companion
Take for example the Blackberry or some other related device that now is a constant companion. This device is constantly on and you receive requests or information long after the workday.
You feel obligated to check your device throughout the evening when you are at home and often respond to requests from others who are also a slave to modern technology. And, these devices, worse still, follow you on the weekend even when you are off to a cottage or a weekend camping trip.
How Do You Create Balance
The hard part of life is now a real challenge for a balance in life that is even more complicated than ever before.
How do you create balance when you are being enslaved to technology that once was touted as a savior?
The Critical Part
The critical part of a balance in life is choosing priorities. If you are trying to balance a family and a career, the choices are complex because both are important.
The real question is then how do I separate these two very real expectations so that one can achieve a balance without sacrificing one or the other?
No Simple Answers?
While there are not simple answers, there are solutions if you choose to take them. One possible solution is to clearly establish priorities for your time depending on where you are.
For example, if you are at work, you are at work and not involved in anything to do with being at home. If you are at home, you are not involved in anything other than what you want to do with family. This may seem ridiculous to some, but it is possible.
For example, there may be times when you just have to complete some paper work for the office but this does not mean you have to spend the entire evening doing it. If you are able to work quite late and are just as effective, dedicate family time to early evening and do some of your work later.
Or, like an author I know who maintained a demanding career but still found time to write. How? This author used the technique of getting up an hour earlier each day of the week to devote her time to nothing but writing. In this way, this author was able to complete her first draft without sacrificing any time away from her career and her family.
Can You Do This?
Another option is to literally turn off any communication devices that you have allowed to enslave you to the most recent query or request. This simply means that you do not allow yourself the opportunity to even see emails or requests - home is for home, and work is for work. You may have some difficulty doing this at first, but the more you do it, the more those who have been sending you their requests will realize that you will not be answering their requests until you are officially back at work. You do have a choice. It is no one's responsibility to implement this strategy but yours.
Time To Relax
Several years ago, I had a similar challenge to face when I managed an employee assistance program. I was not only managing but also actively involved in counseling with my own client load.
I could easily have allowed myself to be caught in the same kind of trap. It was very easy to let my clients take hold of my mind as I traveled home and spent the evening with family. Their issues and concerns were serious in most cases and not to be dismissed. Yet, I needed time to relax and renew my own stamina. So how was I able to handle this?
In a few words, I forced my mind to leave the current by immersing myself in a fiction novel. In fact, I would read anything to change the course of my thoughts so they did not own me. But, there is more to the story.
You see, after I left work, I had to walk several blocks to hop on the subway that dropped me off at the railroad station where I would catch my commuter train home. I used my walking time to start the process of disengagement from the issues of the day. I would focus on objects along the way thinking of their significance, or insignificance. I would make up a story that told of how it was constructed if I concentrated on a building, for example. Or. I would pick a particular tree and tried to envision how old it was, or who planted it, or how many people had walked by it within the last year without seeing its' beauty.
Then, once I took my seat on the subway, I would pull out my novel and begin to read where I had left off the previous day. I continued reading my novel once I was aboard my commuter train. Occasionally, I would have to force myself to concentrate on the storyline of the novel because the day's events would start to creep back into my mind. With practice, however, my routine developed into a pleasant journey from the stressors of the day to a quiet walk buried in the words of the novel.
Each one of us must face our own issues of balance, and the real key lies within your own hands. It is not someone else's responsibility to manage your life, or to help create balance in your life. It is something you need to control just like you would design your own destiny. If you are waiting for something to bring balance to your life, you'll be sourly disappointed because it will not happen. In fact, quite the opposite will occur. Whether you realize it or not, you are the very one who is setting the tone for lack of balance. You do this every time you answer a query after hours; every time you take a call about a work issue when at home; and, every time you allow your communication device to remain on while you are at home.
Your balance of life is not for someone else to manage - it is your decision. You do have a choice. Will you make changes that improve your balance, or will you continue to allow someone, something, or extraneous demands to negatively affect your life?
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"If some of us are driven to fill our days with work, with accomplishments, with meetings, exchanges of one kind or another, we need to apportion those hours with time for our children, our lovers, our thoughts, our hobbies, our true selves." Jonathon Lazear
"In fact, everyone should take time out once in a while to recharge and revitalize their energy. The key is to have a balanced life." Michael Lee
"Balance isn't something you achieve 'someday'." Nick Vujicic
"The foundation stones of honesty, character, faith, integrity, love, and loyalty are necessary for a balanced success that includes health, wealth, and happiness. As you go onward and upward in life, you will discover that if you compromise any of these principles you will end up with only a beggarís portion of what life has to offer." Zig Ziglar, See You At The Top
"In today's fast-paced world, it can be challenging to make time for your family. However, family is a strong value among many people." Ace McCloud
"To me, staying healthy at work means you can go home at the end of the day or at the end of your shift feeling peaceful. It means you can stop thinking about work and enjoy your life." Kathleen A. Paris, Ph.D. Staying Healthy in Sick Organizations
"And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in their life. If you donít like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life - and it all begins with your very own power of choice." Jim Rohn
"Why get up early? I'd say the main reason is that you'll have a lot more time to do things that are more interesting than sleeping." Steve Pavlina