Last week I spoke about the factors that contribute to work-live imbalance. So many of us justify our need to work more to maintain our lifestyle, competitive edge, sense of security, and control over our destiny. We all have choices in life and being obsessed with work is a decision. Of course having a strong work ethic and being conscientious are all positive attributes and some people have to work two jobs to make ends meet. I’m referring to those individuals who are consumed with work and have no boundaries. In fact I have asked couples in the past to create a pie chart of how they spend their week (168 hrs. in a week) and look at the number of hours they spend on activities that are relational. You would be surprised by their results.
So how does one achieve a balanced life? Awareness and motivation to correct the problem are the first steps. Complete the pie for yourself and figure out how you spend most of your time. Reevaluate your priorities and ask yourself what you will regret on your deathbed. I doubt it will be “I wish I worked harder, made more money, and accumulated more stuff.” Learn to do a better job at delegating, I’m sure someone else can do it well too. Be able to set boundaries, say no, and don’t feel guilty about setting limits. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Decide that relationships matter since without them you will experience less joy and fulfillment. Remember that time is your most valuable asset.
Lastly, diversify your life with multiple sources of joy, purpose, and peace. I encourage people to avoid putting all of their “life eggs” in just one or two baskets. For example, sometimes people have the bulk of their eggs in the work basket and maybe a few in the marriage/family basket. Having several baskets and scattering your eggs can provide more opportunity for joy, passion, and connection, such as friendships, church, hobbies, sports, and activities. You wouldn’t have your retirement portfolio include only two stocks, the same holds for life. Seek diversification.
Make time for your relationships, yourself, and activities that are not work-related. A quote that I love is: “While you’re making a living, don’t forget to make a life!” (anonymous). Start today.