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March 29 2007 12:00 AM

Are you trying to juggle your time, career, clients, family and exercise? Well, rest assured; you're certainly not alone! In the many stages of life, balance is a never-ending act. In fact, take a good look at your own daily tightrope. Life's challenges come in all shapes and sizes, and the delicate demands of work, family and relationships are always ongoing. So, what can you do when the scales of life tip over, leaving you stressed, unfulfilled and totally exhausted? Wouldn't it be nice to feel the connection more often and deflect the stress from life's overload?

            Finding true balance with your professional and personal life is achieved by making the connection and building your "to-do" list into a healthy, well-rounded action plan. You can have it all, not necessarily at once, but in a balanced flow that tips the scales in your favor. Building this balance will help you break down your lifestyle, evaluate your priorities and to adjust accordingly. But first, you need to make some self-prioritizing choices. Ask yourself, "What does organizational and self balance mean to you?" Take a look at some of the commitments that you make on a regular basis, including family, work, social, physical and spiritual. Next, examine your balancing act. Knowing that these are priorities in your life, do any of these categories need adjusting?

            Unquestionably, the first priority must be your health. Many times, we take our health for granted and forget that our daily habits can enhance or erode our health over the years. All too often, there's too much to do in too little time. The body and mind must work synergistically as a unit for you to feel balanced and connected. By taking care of both, you will have the tools to handle your daily overload. When you take care of your body, emotional and mental health will follow, allowing you to perform at your best. But remember, maintaining such balance is a work in progress.

 

Finding Organizational Balance

            Often, juggling the responsibilities of work and family life can be difficult. There just never seems to be enough time to get it all done. So, how do you balance your 11.5 hours spent, on average per day, getting ready, commuting, working and so on with your scant bookends of life and time on either side? How do you meaningfully interact with your kids, significant other or pets more than a couple hours each day? Can you somehow TIVO your daily cycles, removing all mundane catch-up conversation and chores, to optimally maximize your time? Can you leave work and really leave it there? To make matters worse, too often, we sacrifice sleep, relaxation and recreation. What's wrong with this picture?

            Trying to slow down the pace of your life is no simple matter. However, it's crucial for you to take some time, rethink your priorities and evaluate how you use them. In some situations, it may take a great deal of energy to sort out and simplify, so you must continually tweak your goals and priorities. Often, work goals tend to be well-defined for most people, and it's easy to let them take priority over family and your own self-care. So you need to be your own boss when it comes to your family goals and self balance. It is important to remember that family activities are just as important as your work activities. Therefore, your organizational plan must include "realistic expectations." Can you fit everything in? If you're like most people, then probably not. Are some of your expectations unachievable in your present situation? Can you change the situation? If not, you may need to adjust your expectations to bring them closer to reality.

 

The Challenge

            Finding and maintaining a comfortable balance in life is a universal challenge. As a professional, you're always aware that your success is up to you. It's likely that you focus so much time and attention on your work that you sacrifice other areas of your life. Your responsibility for finances, products, services, customers and employees is time-consuming and, often, overwhelming. Part of the confusion about organizational balance comes from the belief that such balance means equal amounts of time. But instead, consider it as paying attention to every aspect of your life on a regular basis. Balance is about living with yourself so you can live with others. It's about attending to your multi-dimensional self so you can make conscious choices about how you spend your time and energy at work and in life.

            Consider the many aspects of your life that need your attention. Too little attention to any one area will
create the feeling of being out of sync with your self. But appropriate attention to each dimension will give you the power to find the right mix of priorities and actions for creating a balance between life and work. When you have balance in your life, you are more creative, more productive and can truly experience the process of life. Examine some actions you can take that will assist in making the transition, and consider ' what's right for you. When placed in identical situations, no two people will make the same choices. Each person has to evaluate the event and then make a decision based on what is right for him or her at the moment. You have to prioritize your own life and decide what is most important to you. Where do you want to spend your time and energy? How important is your career in the scheme of your life, and how will you define success?

            When trying to find balance in your professional and personal life, take these steps to ensure that you are achieving and maintaining the right balance for you:

 

 Keep focused on your mission. Make your decisions based on what your goals are, and set aside time to reflect. Spend time evaluating your vision, mission, goals and performance. Consider if you're on the most appropriate path for you. Determine if your daily activities are aligned with what you truly want to accomplish.

 Mentally plan your time, and be sure to include your personal appointments. Look for ways to eliminate time-bandits by using technology and saying no to requests that don't fit with your master plan. Set reasonable timelines for project completion. In management, hire staff that enthusiastically supports the vision and mission of the organization. Delegate the work you don't really need to be doing.

 Emotionally monitor what you feel. Take time to process what you observe, and refrain from dumping your feelings on others, especially when you're feeling angry. Take a break before dealing with an emotionally charged situation so you can respond in an appropriate manner. At the end of the work day, release all of your concerns so you can be ready for time outside of work. Okay, try to! Leave work at work, and take time for yourself. This allows you to become comfortable with who you are outside of your title and occupation.

 Physically live your life, and remember excessive training does not equate with fitness. Rest figures into the equation as well. Pay attention to what you are doing and the people you are with. This will help reduce feelings of stress and unproductive thoughts. This is your life! Learn to laugh it's painless!

            Scott Josephson is the Director of Fitness and Spa services at Hunters Run. For more info, email fitness@huntersrun.net

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