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Balance - (That Dirty 7 Letter Word!)
by Kim Green-Spangler
Why is it so difficult to find balance? How about because society has told us that it is normal and completely acceptable to be charging full steam ahead at 120 miles per hour 24 hours a day, seven days a week? You know the "superhuman" scenario. "You too can be the top performer at work, the PTA Parent, the soccer mom, have the best looking/best kept house on the block AND be the best partner to our spouse!"
Sounds great doesn't it? NOT! It sounds overwhelming and perhaps a tad frightening.
What is not included on that list? Time for yourself! Time to enjoy the things you like, finding your passion. Having the time to sit quietly and reflect. Making time to pat yourself on the back for your dedication to your job, your family, or your accomplishments. Enjoying the time to read a book, take a walk, work out, watch television, or go to a movie. Time spent on YOU for rejuvenation.
The quest for balance IS a huge juggling act. For women especially, it typically requires more skills than most male CEO's have acquired to successfully manage the demands of a career (part or full-time, work from home or out of the home), raising children (with or without a spouse), finding the time to be a good partner (married or single), caring for other family responsibilities (making time for parents and/or siblings etc), and most importantly finding time for you.
In the fast paced society in which we live, time for oneself is considered a luxury. It is often sacrificed for others, be it our bosses because we need that paycheck at the end of the week, our friends because they are important to us, our spouses because we have to live with them if we don't, and as parents - ALWAYS our children (enough SAID!).
After a few days or weeks, or heaven forbid months or years of doing this, it would be quite normal to feel stressed, burned-out, completely unappreciated and ready to find the nearest hotel on a DESERTED island. But why wait until this reaches epic proportions. Begin making the changes that will make achieving balance a reality.
Let the people in your life know that you are not happy with the hours that you are putting in at work, the chaos that is present at home, and the lack of time that you have to pursue the things that you enjoy. Ask for their input when realistic, but know that it is ultimately your decision how you will make the best possible use of your time for your individual situation.
Life is too short to go through it not liking how you spend your days. Determine how you spend your time each day. Which areas are effectively managed and which areas are lacking, which areas you have little control over, which areas can be changed with very little effort, and determine how to make it work for you (and your family.)
The quest for balance is important to everyone your life impacts. Achieving balance will make you more organized, more productive, more fun, much happier, and way less stressed. If you must implement the changes to find balance gradually, start with making time for yourself first and you will find that the other areas of your life will begin to fall into place shortly thereafter.