One of the most requested topics and the basis for most questions I hear recently is the issue of Life Balance. “How can I do it all? What do I do with family when there is so much work on my desk? My health suffers because I have too much to do. My work seems to be more frustrating than satisfying.” These are just a few of the questions and statements that I hear.
On the surface, life balance and abundance seems to be exclusive of each other. In other words you have to sacrifice one in order to have the other. The truth is they’re not exclusive but inclusive. They go together. In fact, you can’t have one without the other.
The Next-Level Achievement System promotes balance by inclusively planning around all areas of your life monthly. Each of us has six basic areas of our lives: Physical, Mental, Social, Financial, Spiritual and Family. The things that matter in each area, along with the priority order of each, are determined at the beginning of each month. I encourage my clients to pick at least one thing that would be important in each and write it down, not leaving any area blank. The trick here is to understand that you may not be balanced in every area every month, but at least you give some conscious thought to all areas. By giving thoughtful mindfulness to all areas of your life every month, you begin to move toward a more thoughtful and balanced approach to your life.
The biggest problem I find, in those who feel out of balance, is that their thinking is exclusively driven by a single area and it’s usually work. In our culture we have a tendency to allow our work to become who we are. It should be the reverse, who we are should determine what we do and how we do it!
Life balance begins with your perspective, your mental picture of your life. There was some research in work and balance done by a guy named Parkinson. From his work came “Parkinson’s Law”, which said, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Think about that for a second. If you have given no thought to all areas of your life, then you have given work no time limits. It will expand to fill the void that you have left for it. In the absence of planning in every area of your life, you have opened the door for work to dominate your life. It really doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s not how much you do but the effectiveness of what you do that really matters! Take time to plan one small thing to do in each area of your life next month. Prioritize your choices 1-6 and pick the top 3. Schedule all three and follow through with doing those priority things during the month. As you build this process as a habit of monthly planning, you begin to build balance in your life. Work hard but never allow work to occupy 100% of your mindfulness. If you will plan each month before it begins and apply your best thinking to all six areas of your life, life balance will become a reality and from balance abundance appears!