Understand yourself. This is the key to finding your balance.
People are different and so are their points of balance. While Jeff Bezos believes in waking up naturally and consuming a healthy breakfast soon after, Elon Musk skips his first meal of the day. Musk also believes in working up to 100 hours every week and spending time with his kids. Both of them are extraordinarily accomplished business personalities and successful at what they do. So, it is really each to their own.
When we look at balancing our life and creating more meaningful experiences, we should first and foremost look inwards. We must find out what is it that we hold most important in our life.
Is it your career, is it your family, hobbies, “me time” to think, or the time you spend with your pets? Make goals as per your priorities in life – what makes you happy, and leaves you feeling fulfilled.
Mind you, there are no right or wrong answers. Plus, these answers will change as we get older. To live a balanced life, it is important to get our priorities sorted and work accordingly.
Let’s say, you work at a job that pays you well, allows enough time for vacations, and comes with a lot of perks. So, you are covered financially and can spend quality time with your family. However, you are not happy. You feel like you are stuck in a routine.
When others look at your situation from the outside, you may look like you have the perfect work-life balance, but in reality, your life is completely out of sync. It could be because you don’t like your organization, your colleagues, or the nature of your job. In such a case, you need to acquire skills that can get you a job that you enjoy doing. The balance in your work life will automatically balance out your personal life. You will be happier inside, and you will enjoy the time you get with your family.
The popular Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates, Antisthenes, famously said, “the most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue”.
That is a piece of advice that is stirring and highly relevant in today’s times. To strike the perfect balance in our work and in our lives, it is extremely important that we unlearn outdated and false notions. We have to evolve beyond our old beliefs, fears, and unreasonable notions when presented with logical arguments.
To grow more and become better in life, you must be bold enough to reset your thoughts, and start again.
Breaking from our own shackles is not easy. Say, you want to go for a jog every morning. But you are not able to get up early in the morning no matter how much you plan for it. By the time you are up, you have to leave for your office. Does this sound familiar?
Internet and movies also reaffirm that you are a night owl, and just not a morning person. But, that is not true. You are an adaptable human being. You can change at will.
So, press the reset button. Stop believing that you are a night owl and that you are made that way. Unlearn eating late, sleeping late, and set an early alarm. You will automatically start waking up earlier. In fact, you won’t even need the alarm after a while.
You can do this with pretty much every old belief and fear in your life. All you have to do is be resolute and ready to unlearn.
We watch an inspiring video or hear a motivational speaker and we get all charged up. We feel a positive energy run through us and we set new goals. However, when it is time to do the real work, most people fall short. They just cannot find the energy in themselves to do a little more than necessary. They again fall into the trap of going through the motions and feel even more de-energised. That is where self-care comes in.
Self-care is critical. You may have set a 100 goals and a thousand tasks to do for yourself, but you won’t be able to achieve anything unless you have the energy or the will to do it. You have to feel good physically and mentally.
Get your body in shape by eating right, sleeping well, and exercising regularly. This will give you a sense of accomplishment. When you look into the mirror and see a healthier you smiling back, you will instantly feel good and raring to go. It also helps to dress nicely and look good. It is a boost of confidence that helps you feel recharged.
It is not just your body that you need recharged, you need to recharge your mind too. You can do it in any way you deem fit. You can find a peaceful corner for yourself to introspect, delve into meditation or speak to people you believe can contribute. Any one of these or a combination will help you recharge your mind.
A healthy body and a healthy mind – that is a balanced partnership that makes you unstoppable.
We all dream of being a 100% productive at all times. But, that just does not happen. Distractions and laziness makes us procrastinate things we are supposed to do.
Let’s say you are trying to create a presentation for your next business meeting. This is a big responsibility and you are determined to create an informative and engaging presentation for your clients. If the account is yours, you get a generous hike and a promotion. Sounds like an important milestone in your career and you are obviously going to work towards it with everything you have. That’s ideal. But, does that happen?
People usually flounder the biggest goals in their lives over petty things. This can be binge watching shows, get lazy and keep pushing the work forwards, worrying about the problem without doing anything, and so on. At the eleventh hour, panic sets in. They then put together the best possible presentation they can in the limited time they have. Distractions and procrastinations make them flounder a chance of a lifetime. Not ideal, but that’s what happens.
That is why you need a plan and nurture a will to follow through it.
For every important task, make it a habit to create a plan. A plan will give you a direction and help you gauge the amount of time and effort you need to actually put into a task. When you break down a big task, you can complete it in parts. Each time you complete a task, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. This will further fuel you to keep moving forward. It becomes a self-sustaining cycle. You also save yourself the last-minute stress, the constant worrying, and most importantly, the feeling of regret and guilt.
You can create that big presentation, do your due research for it, and impress your clients. If you get the account, great! And even if you don’t, you will still know that you put your best foot forward and improve upon it the next time. The sense of accomplishment is guaranteed.
When you work on yourself consistently, it produces results. Always.
Your bosses at work will start noticing your dedication towards your job. At home, your family and friends will get closer because they can see that you are making an effort to be with them. You will feel a change in yourself too. You will always have more energy, feel good, and ready to take up new challenges. All in all, you will be surrounded with positivity inside and out.
With such a conducive environment at work and home, you will experience personal and professional growth. This will be accompanied by contentment, feeling of achievement, and a better attitude.
Reward yourself when you achieve something, however small it is. Positive reinforcements are powerful. They will help you keep up your good habits, and always keep you on track. The tangible reward will remind you that you have accomplished something amazing, where you started from, and what you can become if you keep up.
Know that you have earned this experience and do not forget to relish it. Step into it and take it all in. This is the bliss of balance that you had been working towards all this while.
Getting Back on Track and Staying There
As you grow old, you are bombarded with responsibilities and it can easily become overwhelming. You are trying to do your job well, pay the bills, create a wholesome home, give your children a good future, become a good husband or wife, fulfill social obligations, and the list goes on. It is easy to find yourself juggling through all these different roles. Life may just start to look like a prolonged game of juggling. But, it really isn’t. You only need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to do things differently.
Life is full of challenges. And each challenge poses a threat to the life balance you are trying hard to maintain. All you need is a system in place and the 5Rs Life Balance Philosophy does just that. They help you get things in perspective. Even if you falter, you can use these 5Rs to help you understand exactly where you went wrong and then correct your course.
So, instead of juggling, live and enjoy your life :)