Channeling Success Through Balance in 2021
Many of us have an image of personal balance as a set of scales in perfect balance every day. But that’s an unrealistic goal. You are in for a lot of frustration if you try to allocate within every day a predetermined portion of time for work, family and your social life. An illness may upset all your plans. A business project may demand peaks of intense work, followed by valleys of slow time.
Balance requires continual adjustments, like an acrobat on a high wire who constantly shifts his weight to the right and to the left. By focusing on four main areas of your life – emotional/spiritual needs, relationships, intellectual needs and physical needs – at work and away from work, you can begin to walk the high wire safely.
Here, are ten ideas for balancing all aspects of your life:
1. Make an appointment with yourself. Banish from your mind the idea that everyone takes precedence over you. Don’t use your organizer or calendar just for appointments with others. Give yourself some prime time. Regularly do something you enjoy. It will recharge your batteries. Once you’ve put yourself on your calendar, guard those appointments.
2. Care for your body. Having a high energy level is a trait held by many highly successful people. No matter what your present level of energy, you can increase it by following these steps:
Eat. Don’t skip meals. Your physical and mental energy depend upon nourishment. Irregular eating patterns can cause a frayed temper, depression, lack of creativity and a nervous stomach.
Exercise. Over and over again, highly successful people mention the benefit of exercise routines. The benefits of exercise are mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. If you are healthier and have more stamina, you can work better and longer.
Rest. An article and scientific study ( https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/05/sleep-creativity-theory/560399/ ) has linked creative people and reports that they rest often and sleep a lot.
3. Cut some slack. You do not have to do everything. Just the right things.
There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself hard, disciplining yourself to do what needs to be done when you hold yourself to the highest standards. That builds up stamina and turns you into a pro. At times, though, you must forgive yourself. You will never become 100 percent efficient, nor should you expect to be. After something does not work, ask yourself, “Did I do my best? If you did, accept the outcome. All you can do is all you can do.
4. Blur the boundaries. Some very successful people achieve balance by setting aside times or days for family, recreation, hobbies or the like. They create boundaries around certain activities and protect them. Other individuals who are just as successful do just the opposite. They blur the boundaries. Some jobs don’t lend themselves to this strategy. But blurring the boundaries is possible more often than you may think. One way is to involve people you care about in what you do. For example, many companies encourage employees to bring their spouses to conferences and annual meetings. It’s a good idea. If people who mean a great deal to you understand what you do, they can share more fully in your successes and failures. They also are more likely to be a good sounding board for your ideas.
5. Take a break. Many therapists believe that taking a break from a work routine can have major benefits for mental and physical health. Have a rest day. For that one day, nothing happens, except what you decide from hour to hour. In the farming industry, this concept is applied literally in fallow fields. This describes what farmers often do: let a plot rest so the soil can replenish itself.
6. Take the road less traveled. Occasionally, get off the expressway and take a side road, literally and figuratively. That road may take you to the library or to the golf course. Do something out of the ordinary to avoid the well-worn grooves of your life. Try a new route to work, a different radio station or a different cereal. Break out of your old mold occasionally, with a new way to dress or a different hobby. The road less traveled can be a reward after a demanding event, a carrot that you reward your self with or it can be a good way to loosen up before a big event.
7. Be still. A great idea is meditation or quiet time every morning. Create a time for centering – for being still and listening. Keep a paper and pen with you to jot down ideas that come to you. The way you use solitary time should match your values, beliefs, and temperament. Some individuals devote a regular time each day to visualize themselves attaining their goals and dreams. Others read, pray, meditate, do yoga or just contemplate a sunrise or sunset. Whatever form it takes, time spent alone can have an enormous payoff. Achievers talk about an inner strength they find and how it helps them put competing demands into perspective. They feel more confident about their choices and more self-reliant. They discover a sense of balance, a centeredness.
8. Be a supporter of meaningful projects. You may find a worthy way to give something back through your church, hospital, civic club, alumni association or by doing some pro bono work. Or you may help individuals privately, even anonymously. There are powerful rewards for balancing personal interests with the needs of the common good. One of the most wonderful is the sheer joy that can come from giving. Another reward is the better world that you help create.
9. Do what you love to do. By itself, loving what you do does not ensure success. You need to be good at what you love. But if you love what you do, the time you spend becoming competent is less likely to be drudgery.
10. Focus on strategy. As important as it is, how to save time for balancing your life is not the ultimate question. That question is, “What am I saving time for?” Strategy has to do with being successful – but successful at what? If others pay your salary, being strategic generally means convincing them that you are spending your time in a way that benefits them. If there is a dispute over how you should use your time, either convince the people who can reward or punish you that your idea about using time is appropriate, or look for another job. The “what for?” question should also be asked about the life you live. It is truly a comprehensive question and gets at the question of wholeness.
So what makes for a successful balance life? I can think of no better definition than the one given by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because I have lived. This is to have succeeded.