Building the Foundation
Are your daily responsibilities draining your energy or zipping you up? Do you have too many plans or too few? Do you have time to do most of the things you want to do, or do you need to make that giant leap toward taking control? Whether you’re a student, homemaker, job-seeker, or one of the many over-worked employed, the same question applies: How do we give and take in the spectrum of needs for family, rejuvenating friendships, intellectual and physical stimulation, career, personal development, adequate rest, time for ourselves, and lots of fun all at the same time?
The answer lies in balancing the various needs and responsibilities in your life according to your own personalized, prioritized plan. That means taking charge. By taking control you’ll meet your intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs on a day-to-day basis in a low-stress, healthy way.
Webster’s dictionary defines balance a little more literally. It is: “a state of equilibrium, and/or the process by which something is brought into or held in equilibrium.” Imagine an old-fashioned weigh scale for a moment; the scale itself representing the measuring medium, and the items you load on each side the various aspects of your life. Weigh down the one side with career; study, if you’re a student; time spent in job search if you’re making a leap from school to the work place, and so on. Weigh down the other side with all the other responsibilities and activities in your life. How can you balance career and personal life so that one not only complements, but actually releases tension in, and rejuvenates the other?
In order to achieve equilibrium in our lives two things are necessary:
First: Create a plan for your life that reflects your personal values and beliefs.
Take a good, hard look at your life. Does your daily lifestyle reflect your personal goals, values, and beliefs? If you were to write your own ticket to lasting happiness, what would you want most? A job? A more rewarding job? A contented family life? What do you want?
As you work your way through, set some one, five, and ten year goals for yourself. Address the people and activities you value most in your plan and be sure your goals inspire you! A personal plan defines your purpose and charts your direction into the future. Following its course will reward you with a sense of personal accomplishment, self-esteem, inner peace, lasting happiness, and, of course, continual stimulation.
Secondly, achieving balance requires that:
You make adequate time for each of the people and activities that are important to your well-being. Weighing down the scale with work to the exclusion of family, friends, hobbies, and exercise is poor boredom, or complete burn out. Ironically, devoting all your energy to one task can be just as chaotic as frantically trying to fit everything into your schedule without a plan. Making adequate time for the people and commitments that you value is an act of will; wishing you had the time isn’t going to get you there. It means planning with whom and on what you’ll be focusing your energy at any given time (a daily planner really helps), and then sticking to that.