Published in August, 2016 Invenio magazine
What do we mean when we are talking about ‘being balanced?’ Although there are many definitions when I am talking about being balanced I’m referring to you allowing yourself quality time for each aspect of your life. Being so deeply engrossed in one area of your life often means that you are neglecting other areas of your life; which may be more important.
If you are being pulled into one specific area of your life, you may not feel grounded, or calm, or clear-headed, or even motivated. You may feel overwhelmed and as though your life is out of control.
Balance? How do I start?
Creating balance involves all elements of your life – internal and external.
- Your internal elements include you; your mind; your heart; your health; and your spiritual element.
- Your external elements are those elements which involve other people and other places. They include your work; your social activities; your significant other; your family; and fun!
Having identified the elements of your life, there are two ways in which balance is achieved:
- Looking at the individual element and understanding how much you give vs. how much you receive.
- Looking at the whole wheel using the Coaching Wheel of Life technique.
Asking yourself how much you give and how much you receive in each element is as simple as answering these questions:
- Time for me – how do I allow myself time for everyone else, for the activities that I want to do, for the things I want to be involved in, and balance giving myself enough time?
- Mind – how do I challenge myself intellectually while creating opportunities for my mind to rest?
- Heart – as someone who is known to be a giver, I have learnt to ask myself ‘if I am always giving to others, what am I receiving from them or others?
- Health – am I looking after my nutrition, exercising properly, while allowing myself treats and rest?
- Work – what balance do I have been pushing myself to achieve and be successful verses seeing the bigger picture and enjoying the ride?
- Social – how do I allow myself to balance having a fully enjoyable social life while allowing myself time for me?
- Significant other – how do I create the quality time for my significant other and myself, while allowing all the other areas of my life to remain balanced?
- Family – how do I fulfil my family responsibilities, while creating healthy boundaries?
- Fun – how do I create the time for the things I truly enjoy doing while making sure that I don’t overdo it?
The Coaching Wheel of Life technique allows you to understand how balanced (or not) your whole life is. This diagram indicates how most people assess their whole life when they do their Wheel of Life.
Often the challenge with balances comes from balancing the combination of the internal, the external, the personal, and the professional aspects or segments of your life. To understand your own balance between your internal and external lives, create your own Wheel of Life covering the elements of each. The Wheel of Life example used throughout this article demonstrates external aspects or segments of your life on the left hand side of the wheel, while the internal aspects or segments of your life are found on the right hand side of the wheel.
Work; whether you are an employee, a boss, self-employed, a sub-contractor, an entrepreneur, or a combination of some or all of these; is a huge part of everyone’s life today; and comes with a huge expectation. In decades gone by when someone left work at 5pm or thereabouts, they were not contactable – they were able to walk away and move from their professional and into their personal life. With today’s technology your professional life can now easily become part of your personal life. Emails received on your mobile phone! Constant access to the internet! Telephone calls at all times of the day or night – well do you switch your mobile off?
Balance? How do I introduce balance?
There are many tools and techniques that you can use, but for today the simplest way to introduce balance into your life is to actively use these steps:
- Become aware of absolutely everything you are doing and not doing.
- ‘No’ is a complete sentence! If you want to say ‘no’ to something, say ‘no’ without feeling as though you have to explain yourself.
- Identify your own dreams and aspirations. If you don’t, who will?
- Create your own goals. If you don’t create your own goals, who will create them for you?
- Identify and embrace change. It’s easy to say that you want to have a more balanced life, but if you don’t identify and embrace the changes you have to make, will you be able to?
- Set priorities. These are your priorities and you can use something like this Management Matrix.
- Boundaries. It is important that you lay the groundwork to set your boundaries between your personal and professional life.
- Evaluate your decisions. Sometimes decisions are made focusing on what other people want or require. This may be the right thing to do, but only if you have fully evaluated the decision.
- Trust your intuition or your ‘gut-feel’. If in your inner being you truly feel that you want to do something or not do something, follow your intuition.
- Plan your time and include time for you! A little relaxation goes a long way.
- Be level headed – it’s very easy to impact your own time and balance of life when something challenging or negative happens. Deal with these in a timely, kind and understanding way.
- Nurture yourself – make sure that you are allowing time for you as you focus on time required for everything else.
- Listen to your body. Your body will often tell you if you are not eating well or not exercising regularly; and if you select not to listen to it and fall ill, you will be impacting on your own life balance.
- Superhero – do you have to be? Often you will try and be everything to everyone, when really you can just be you!
- Journaling – use your journal take time to reflect, to prepare, and to empower yourself.
- Outsourcing is a great way to reduce your own workload in both your personal and professional life. How can you benefit from someone else doing something for you?
- Find a support circle – coach, mentor, like-minded friends. You do not have to do everything yourself, by finding your own supporting and motivating support circle you will be able to create your own balanced life!
- Seek role models. It is suggested that in everything we aspire to be we find a role model. Who do you know or know of who lives a well balance personal and professional life? You’ll be surprised how many people do. Find one to understand how they have done it.
- Plan a date! Often you are rushing around so much that you forget something of importance. It’s simple to make sure that as well as those appointments you have in your diary that you can plan a date with everything you want or need to do – every task and every action.
- Enjoy every moment – large and small!
Living the balanced life of your dreams
is a journey of self-discovery and achievement!
© Barbara J. Cormack
© 2016 Barbara J. Cormack. All Rights Reserved.