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Balancing Your Work, Family and Social Life

Balance of work, family and social life
By Gene Griessman, PhD
 
Many of us imagine personal balance as a scale that is perfectly balanced every day. But that’s an unrealistic goal. Trying to set aside a predetermined amount of time each day for work, family, and social life can be frustrating. An illness can upset all your plans. A business project may require peaks of intense work followed by valleys of slow time.
Balance requires constant adjustment, like an acrobat on a high wire constantly shifting his weight left and right. By focusing on the four main areas of your life—emotional/spiritual needs, relationships, intellectual needs, and physical needs—at work and away from work, you can safely walk the high wire.
Here are ten ideas for balancing every aspect of your life, drawn from my conversations with many successful Americans:
1. Make an appointment with yourself. Banish from your mind the idea that everyone has priority over you. Don’t use your organizer or calendar just for meetings with other people. Give yourself some prime time. Do something you enjoy regularly. This charges the batteries. Once you’ve added yourself to your calendar, save these appointments. Kay Koplovitz is the founder of the US cable television network that broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Koplovitz managed the daily operations of the network for 21 years. For more than two decades, there was always some potential demand on his time. Therefore, he vigilantly protected the announced tennis match, just as he would a business meeting.
2. Take care of your body. High energy levels are a characteristic of many successful people. No matter what your current energy level is, you can increase it by following these steps:
Eat. Don’t skip meals. Your physical and mental energy depends on nutrition. Irregular eating habits can cause an exhausted mood, depression, lack of creativity and an upset stomach.
Exercise. Highly successful people mention the benefits of exercise time and time again. Johnetta Cole, president of Bennett College for Women and former president of Spelman College, takes a four-mile walk every morning. He calls it his mobile meditation. 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. A psychologist who has studied creative people reports that they often relax and sleep a lot.
3. Relax. You don’t have to do everything. Just the right things. Publisher Steve Forbes taught me a lesson: “Don’t be a slave to the inbox. Just because something’s there doesn’t mean you have to do it.” As a result, every night I cross off a few “musts” for the next day from my long to-do list. If, but the next day at three o’clock I crossed off all the “musts”, I know that everything else I do that day is icing on the cake. This is a big psychological plus for me.
There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself hard and disciplining yourself
do what must be done if you hold yourself to the highest standards. This will increase your stamina and make you a pro. But sometimes you have to forgive yourself. You will never be 100 percent effective, nor can you expect to be. If something doesn’t work, ask yourself, “Did I do my best? If so, accept the result. You can only do what you can do.
4. Blur the boundaries. Some very successful people achieve balance by setting aside time or days for family, recreation, hobbies, or the like. They create boundaries around certain activities and protect them. Other individuals who are equally successful do the exact opposite. They blur the boundaries. Counselor Alan Weiss says, “I work outside the home. In the afternoon, I might be watching my kids at the pool, or I’m out with my wife. On Saturdays or at ten o’clock on weekdays, I do things when the spirit moves and when it’s appropriate.”
Some jobs don’t lend themselves to this strategy. But the blurring of boundaries is possible more often than you think. One way is to attract people who care. For example, many companies encourage employees to bring their spouses to conferences and annual meetings. That’s a good idea. When the people who mean a lot to you understand what you’re doing, they can more fully share in your successes and failures. They are more likely to be a good sounding forum for your ideas.
5. Take a break. Many therapists believe that taking a break from your work routine can have significant benefits for your mental and physical health. Barbara Pagano, a professional speaker and leadership coach, practices a type of quick charging by scheduling a day without an agenda every few months. For him, that means staying in your pajamas, unplugging your phone, watching an old movie or reading a novel in bed. Nothing happens for that one day, only what he decides hour by hour. Singer and songwriter Billy Joel adds, “There are times when you have to let the field lie fallow.” Joel describes what farmers often do: they let the plot rest so the soil can recharge.
6. Take the road less traveled. Get off the freeway every now and then and take a detour, literally and figuratively. This road can lead to the library or the golf course. Do something unusual to escape the well-worn ruts of your life. Try working a new route, a different radio station, or a different cereal. Break out of your old mold every now and then with a new way of dressing or a different hobby. The road less traveled can be a reward after a stressful event, a carrot to reward yourself with, or a good way to unwind before a big event. Legendary Georgia Tech football coach Bobby Dodd knew the power of this concept. While other coaches put their teams through brutal, twice-a-day practices, Dodd’s team completed the drills, but then took time to relax, play touch football and enjoy the bowling alleys. Did the idea work? In six consecutive league games!
7. Be calm. Susan Taylor, Editorial Director of Essence, makes sure you have some quiet time every morning. He sees it as a time of centering—of silence and listening. He keeps pen and paper with him to jot down ideas that come up. The time you spend alone should match your values, beliefs and temperament. Some people spend regular time each day envisioning how they will achieve their goals and dreams. Others read, pray, meditate, do yoga, or just watch the sunrise or sunset. Whatever form it takes, alone time can be of great benefit. Achievers talk about an inner strength they find and how it helps them keep competing demands in perspective. They feel more confident about their decisions and have more confidence in themselves. They discover a sense of balance and centrality.
8. Be a peacetime patriot. Joe Posner made his fortune and recognition selling life insurance. A few years ago, Posner helped start an organization in his hometown of Rochester, New York, to prepare underprivileged children for school and life and, he hopes, break the cycle of poverty. You can find a similarly worthy way to give back through your church, hospital, civic club, alumni association, or pro bono work. Or you can help individuals, even anonymously. There are huge rewards for balancing personal interests with the needs of the common good. One of the most wonderful things is the sheer joy that can come from giving. Another reward is the better world you help create.
9. Do what you love. As a boy, Aaron Copeland spent hours helping his older sister practice the piano because he loved music. Following this love, he became America’s most famous classic must-have author. When I asked him years later if he was at all disappointed by that choice, Copeland replied, “I’ve had a charmed life.” What a word to sum up life. Just because you love what you do doesn’t guarantee success. You have to be good at what you love. But if you love what you do, the time you spend getting good at it is less likely to feel like drudgery.
10. Focus on strategy. As important as it is, how to save time to balance your life is not the ultimate question. This question: “What am I saving time for?” Strategy has something to do with success – but in what way? When other people are paying your salary, strategic engagement usually means convincing them that you’re spending your time in a way that benefits them. If there is a dispute about how you use your time, either convince the people who can reward or punish you that your idea of ​​how to use your time is correct, or find another job. The “why?” a question must also be asked about your life. This is indeed an overarching question and leads to the question of completeness.
 
So what makes for a successful balanced life? I can think of no better definition than that given by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Laugh often and a lot; to win the respect of intelligent people and the love of children; to earn the praise of honest critics and endure the treachery of false friends; appreciate beauty, find the best in others; to leave the world a little better, either because of a healthy child, or a patch of garden, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even a life breathed easier because I lived. It worked because it worked.
 

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