Getting Balance Right In Your Life

Getting the balance right in your life is about prioritising. Remember: the "wheel of success"involves getting the correct balance between work, family, ethics/values, health, self-development, social activities, etc. If the wheel of success isn't balanced, it will surely wobble badly, then fall off!!!!

. Life balance can be explained by the following components of self, family, job and community, eg

Self

Job

Family

Community

Of the 4 components, self is the most important and needs the most focus. To be successful, you need to have a good understanding of self and continue to develop it (including health). Then, and only then, can you effectively handle the other components. At different times in your life, one component will be more dominant than others, eg starting a new job could result in an imbalance due to a significant focus on the job component.

NB With increasing use computers and TV, we have become more sedentary (Sam McKeith, 2010). This has increased the risk of mortality regardless of other risks factors like smoking, poor diet, high blood pressure and obesity.

A good example of lack of a life balance are the "leave hoarders or stockpilers". In Australia they are typically male, over 35, a high-income earner, long-serving employee and manage staff. There are 5 types of leave stockpilers (Rachel Nickless, 2010):

i) saver (planning and saving for a big trip)

ii) martyr (believes that the world will fall apart if they are not at work too manage things)

iii) workaholic (are addicted to their jobs)

iv) worrier (thinks stockpiled leave is an insurance policy if they lose their job)

v) victim (feel a lack of management support for them taking leave)

Taking leave is important for rest and recreation, ie "recharging our batteries"

Once self is handled, then, and only then, can you effectively handle the other components. At different times in your life, one component will be more dominant than others, eg starting a new job could result in an imbalance due to a significant focus on the job component.

Balance suggests that you have a wide variety of interests and that your personal and professional goals are aligned. If the balance is right

"...this creates a reservoir of continual emotional energy - an endearing high-performance is not so much about time management as it is about the skilful management of emotional energy. Every one of your thoughts, emotions and behaviours has an impact on your level of emotional capital - your energy. And physical and emotional capital are inextricably connected. You maximize your emotional capital by making sure that all the important areas of your life get the attention they deserve..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

. Some more comments on balance

- the average American sleeps less than 6.5 hours a night - this has a negative impact on performance

- longer holidays equate to better performance

- working more than 50 hours a week means less sleep, less physical activity, higher job dissatisfaction and worst performance

- the longer and more continuously people work, the less marginal return they get from each additional hour

For example,

"... when you're running as fast as you can, you sacrifice attention to detail, as well as any time to step back, reflect on the big picture and think strategically and long-term. If you operate at high-intensity under maximum pressure, for long hours, you use up your energy reservoir - your perspective narrows and your primitive instincts begin to take over. We need a better way of working. It's not about generating short-term, superficial productivity gains by using fear as a motivator and squeezing people to their limits. Rather, it depends on helping leaders understand that more is not always better, and that rest, renewal, reflection and long-term perspective are also critical...... stop measuring staff by hours they put in; focus instead on the value they produce..."

Tony Schwartz, 2010

. Listen to your energy levels, especially your psychological (mental) energy. Healthy energy is synonymous with drive, commitment, passion, hope, enthusiasm, capacity to be different, take risks, resilience, stamina, etc (Helen Trinca, 2006d). Being physically fit helps with mental energy

. It is better to pack it in when you are tired and come back fresh in the morning. You work faster and are more creative when you are fresh.

. Keep lots of open, unstructured time for wandering around the workplace and talking to people about the change process and how they are handling it

. As Manfred Kets de Vries, (2006) recommends, you need to look after yourself by

- engaging in self-reflection (what has happened? what has gone right? what can I improve?)

- remaining intellectually curious (use your imagination and creativity, and keep asking if there are other ways of doing things)

- striving for personal growth (work on your strengths and find ways to improve your weaknesses)

- maintaining meaningful goals and objectives (make them a bit "stretchie"and let your friends know about them so that you will have feel additional pressure to achieve them)

- following your convictions (do what is the right thing to do)

- remaining physically active (keep your regular exercise going)

- balancing work with leisure and pleasure (take holidays regularly and keep your hobbies going)

- having caring and trusting ties with others (stay in contact with friends with whom you can really can talk)

- continually surprise yourself and others (do things that are out of character)

- keep your sense of humour

. Rob Goffee (2008) believes that, in addition to workplace and homes, you need a third place where you can be yourself more. Some women assert that that third place is the hairdresser!!!!!!

. Laurence Boldt (2001) suggests another way to look at this is to identify the 4 essential, complementary dimensions to your experience:

- practical you (part of you that wants to manage life, including physical health, energy necessary for achieving success, etc. Also,

"...concerned with establishing a lifestyle that reflects the values that are most important to you..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

- potential you (part of you that seeks to become your best, including self-development and creative expression)

- productive you (part of you that wants to create a meaningful life's work that is rewarding and challenging)

- personal you (part of you that wants to relate to others in your family and community in a rich and rewarding way)

NB Each element is critical but none is sufficient on its own, and each has significant influences on the others

 

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