I have to share a self-diagnosis, I am a recovering addict. The past few years I must admit that I was addicted to work.
You reading this blog are probably faced with the challenge of balancing life and work. Here’s the thing. You’re not the only doing this.
Believe or not millions of people are struggling with the same questions. Not everyone admits it but the struggle is common among leaders as well. It’s challenging to get answers about balancing work and life because there are so many varying answers.
Being married, a father, owning businesses, and a spiritual leader finding balance is difficult. Constantly there are demands on me that require my mind and time. Just going and going, I became addicted to working and being needed by people that I wasn’t taking time to rest.
I am improving in my ability to balance my life and I will share some tips. Now keep in mind these are lessons I’m learning with you. It’s imperative to me to help others find balance. It’s crucial and I didn’t always possess it.
People constantly talk about favorite places they enjoy. Whether it’s the beach, the park, the golf course, or the spa, they love to be there. My office was my favorite place to be. Because I love to work!
I worked for myself so there was nobody there to tell me to go home. I would answer emails around 3 am and was proud of my 16 – 20 hour per day work ethic, every single day of the week.
I was like the Energizer Bunny I just kept going and going and going, until something happened. My health started to suffer and one of the major things, my eye sight began to fail as well.
I had great people around me. My wife, family, and others closest to me pleaded for me to take time off work. During that time I had also had dreams and would hear different messages about creating balance. It took a while for me to listen and take the necessary steps.
I realize that I could live a much better and happier life if I focused on balance. I knew that I would be a better leader, husband, friend, father, and CEO when I understood balance. I would become more productive in all areas.
Also God inspired me to take rest. It is a principle called the Sabbath found in the bible.
Hebrews 4:9 “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;” (NIV)
The Sabbath is a day of rest, a day off, not to be confused with the day of worship.
There are times you will need help in balancing work with your personal life. A counselor or a coach is highly recommended.
So here are five secrets to help entrepreneurs, employees, ministers, and managers obtain proper balance:
1. What Are Your Needs
The first thing in finding balance is identifying your needs. Communicate what you really care about. Don’t hide it or expect people to figure out what brings you balance and what satisfies you.
What’s the reason behind you working hard? What are you trying to accomplish? What are you avoiding or what space are you filling? Are you seeking validation?
Does it create a false sense of security or accomplishment?
Is it an attempt to avoid home or life?
Really search yourself and be honest. You want to identify the real reasons you work so hard.
Do you need to make more time for your family?
What do you need? Be transparent. For example employees and managers must have open dialogue with each other. There has to be communication on what is possible and what works. This increases productivity.
Various jobs and people need to be handled differently but all benefit from conversations that are open and honest about balance.
2. Set Limits
Set boundaries and limits for yourself. If you don’t respect the limits you won’t reach balance. Keep in mind there will be customers that need your time, you will have another client to see, another assignment or task will be due. Get aggressive about balance say “NO” when necessary. It’s not easy but definitely required. Plus you have to stick with it to cultivate your routine and create a more stable lifestyle.
You have to respect your limits. If you don’t do it, nobody else will respect those limits.
3. Prioritize What Really Matters
Time is very important for quality of life. The only thing you can’t buy more of is time. I’ve seen many people over the years waste time on things that don’t matter.
For me my relationship with God, my family, friends, and then work are the things that matter the most. I’ve listed them in the order that is important for me. It is important for me to have time with God first thing in the morning. I also prioritize time with my wife, my children, and family.
You have to prioritize what matters the most in your life. Focus on those things. Are you just making noise or are you working on goals that will benefit your company?
Take inventory of your day and maximize on each hour, minute, and second and prioritize the important things. This may require to plan and structure your day on a high level.
4. Power Off Button
All types of technology have an “OFF” button, we also must use it. For most people this is a difficult thing to do. Do it in phases though.
For instance when you’re at the dinner table, leave your phone somewhere else. Put it on vibrate or silent so you won’t be tempted to go answer it. When you’re on vacation enjoy your time and don’t be tethered to your phone. Once you do it a few times these limits will be easier to maintain.
Taking time to step back and disconnect will allow you to experience some of life’s greatest perspective, and treasures. You will see that problems will more clearly be solved.
You will recognize the ability to be more free and analytical and make less emotional decisions. Just like our electronics need to be powered off and rebooted we need it too. We need to be refreshed and renewed and this can only be accomplished by disconnecting from everything for a moment.
5. Take Time Off.
To be productive and have a healthy, happy, long life and career you need to replenish yourself. Take a Sabbath day, take some time off from work, read a book, relax, go to the spa, watch a movie, rest.
Do non-work related activities on your off day.
Off days are designed to rest and rejuvenate so you can be more productive. Fresh ideas, renewed energy, extended drive are all benefits of taking time off.
Also take time to reflect on yourself and life. This helps you enjoy the journey.
6. Learn to Laugh
Laughter is necessary. It’s like medicine for your soul. People are so tensed and have a short fuse just ready to explode at any given time. In fact that’s what not balancing your life looks like an explosion waiting to happen. Without balance you will become married to work and not tend to the important things of life. Your work will not be at your funeral when you die just the people you have powered into. Your family, your friends, and the legacy you have left.
So take time enjoy your family, your spouse, children, friends, etc. and laugh and enjoy them. Don’t do life alone! Laugh!
Work is great and can lead to a comfortable and fruitful lifestyle. Just take time to rest and be rejuvenated. Find balance in your personal life and work.
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