Why try to achieve balance?
Have you heard of the Rocking Chair Test? It’s very simple: picture yourself at 90 years of age sitting on a rocking chair and looking back over the landscape of your life. What would you be proud of? What would you regret? What would you wish you would have done more of? What would you wish you had done less of?
For most people the answers to these questions have more to do with relationships and quality of life issues as opposed to how many marketing calls they made. The reason to work toward a balance in your life is so that all of the hard work that you do Monday through Friday is supporting you and your vision of your ideal lifestyle – not detracting from it. It’s also so that you will be able to take the Rocking Chair test as an old man or woman and be able to smile in satisfaction on all that you’ve accomplished.
Do you have a balanced approach to life? The first step in creating balance is establishing your priorities. How much time would you ideally like to spend in each of these seven areas?
7 Key Areas of Life
Finance: All matters financial, both personal & professional
Business: All matters to do with your business or profession
Family: Interactions with those nearest to you
Social: Interactions with those outside of work and family
Intellectual: Exercise of the mind and matters outside of business
Spiritual: Generally expression of the heart and soul rather than the mind
1. Take a typical 7-day work week- how much of it is currently spent in each area? (Business owners typically spend 70% of their waking time on Finance and business, 20% on family and 10% spread across the remaining four).
2. If you could wave a realistic magic wand, how would you like to be able to re-organize your time across these seven areas three years from now?
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3. How about in 10 years?
Planning well in advance
If you are going to be successful at achieving a healthy balance you will need to become a skillful planner. You will need to discipline yourself to “plan the time to plan” and also to be able to look at your life and work from an aerial view as opposed to simply a ground level perspective.
It’s difficult to relax on the weekends if you don’t feel like you’ve created sufficient reserves for yourself. Creating reserves relates to money and investments but it also includes other areas as well. It’s also important to feel that you have reserves of time, energy, support, talent, friends etc. in order to be at your best.
Any ongoing frustrations that you tolerate in your home or business will drain your energy and reduce your creativity. We often put up with and are dragged down by people’s behavior, situations, repeated mistakes, problems, time bandits, inefficient systems, and even our own behavior. You are tolerating more than you think. Make a list of all of the big and small things that frustrate you and begin to make changes to eliminate them.
Being able to create balance, especially in the recruiting business, is a rare skill. As such, if you want to get better at it, it will take practice and trial and error. In some ways it’s easier to run along on the hamster wheel at 90 miles per hour, too busy to take a breather, than it is to step off and reflect on where you’re going. I currently work a four-day work week and take eight weeks a year of vacation. When I relate this to people I often hear that they would love to do the same thing but just couldn’t with their current workload. A couple of years ago I couldn’t either, but I made changes that have allowed me to now be more efficient in less time. I’m convinced that you can do the same thing but it will take a commitment to get off the hamster wheel long enough to decide if you’re running in the right direction.