Some days, the work never seems to end. You’re going 100 miles per hour and getting nowhere, trapped in a whirlwind of activity. Other days, idle time leads to pacing, anxiety, and lack of focus—there must be something I could be doing! You find it hard to relax, to take advantage of downtime. How can a monkey catch a break?
If this sounds like you some or all of the time, you’re not alone. Whether we count ourselves among busy Fortune 500 executives or hungry entrepreneurs working out of their garages, we are constantly challenged to create order from the chaos that often rules our lives.
The world is around us is in endless flux, what with media, the Internet, our electronic gadgets, TV, movies, and news and politics 24 x 7. We are constantly bombarded with new stimuli (distractions) that push and pull us in thousands of directions.
How can we possibly find balance between our personal and business lives amidst such commotion? I wish I could say “It’s easy,” or “I know a secret way,” but I can’t. When I find the world moving too fast for my liking, when I find my balance scale tipped too far one way or the other, I simply take a step back and ask myself four simple questions.
- Am I happy with what I’m doing?
- What are my goals as they pertain to God, family, friends, and work?
- Am I making progress toward these goals?
- Do my goals need adjusting?
In my book, “balance” doesn’t’ always have to be a 50/50 proposition—50% work, 50% family and home life . . . and it doesn’t have to be constant. Some days, balance might be 80% work, 20% family and home life. Other days—especially the weekend or when on vacation—balance might be 100% home and family life, 0% work. And what I think of as being balanced might be completely different from how you define it. That’s OK. That’s why I have my four questions so that when I need to, I can give myself a five-minute reality check: Am I happy? What’s important? And am I pursuing what’s important? Do I need to make a change?
Of course, sometimes I feel so out of sync that I need to go a bit deeper to find my way back to balance and harmony. I start by listing all my recent activities. I’ll look at my monthly calendar, “sent” email folder, and even my “recent” call log to get an idea of what I’ve been up to for the past month or so (you may be shocked when you see the level of activity this simple exercise reveals!). I then put these items into each of my four “buckets” pertaining to God, family, friends, and work (your buckets may differ from mine, of course, but they should be those items you feel need to be in sync for you to feel balanced). Once everything is categorized, I can then better assess where or if I need to shift priorities to regain my “balance.”
If you’re inclined to go even further, next create three columns. Using your “buckets” to guide you, list in Column #1 any items you need to act upon immediately (within the week); in Column #2 list those items to act upon within 30 days; and in Column #3 list those items you want to do, but that are not extremely urgent.
Odds are most items in Column #3 represent distractions and can be eliminated. They’re most likely “shiny objects” battling for your attention. (Remember, there is a difference between a need and a want!). Suddenly, your life that felt so out of balance has much fewer demands upon it. A burden lifts from your shoulders. You feel renewed and energized. That, my friends, is balance.
Not convinced? Next time you feel as though your life is tending toward disharmony, take a step back and use my four questions to guide you. Like any good business that looks 30, 60, and 90 days out—or better yet, 6 months, a year, or two years down the road—as people we need to evaluate where we’ve been and where we’re going. Try it for a few minutes on a weekly or monthly basis, and keep in mind, we are all works-in-progress.
How do you achieve balance in your life? What’s the right mix for you between work and home/family life?
Share your thoughts here.
EVENTS ON THE MONKEY RADAR
Wine-ing for a Good Cause—I will be attending the University of San Diego’s 4th Annual “Wine Classic” fundraiser this weekend, to benefit student scholars. Barrel O’Monkeyz is proud to sponsor this event featuring wineries from throughout California and Mexico, with more than 50 wines available for sampling. Visit http://www.sandiego.edu/wineclassic/ for more information.
Local Networking Opportunity—Hope to catch up with any and all Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce members at the July Sundowner networking event at Cavallo Motorsports, which I will be attending tomorrow (Thursday, July 19). For more info, call the chamber at (760) 931-8400.
Volleyball Anyone?—I’m proud to sponsor an event booth and be participating in “Smackfest,” a co-ed beach volleyball tournament at Hermosa Beach CA from 7 am to 7pm, July 28. The So Cal Foundation for Children (SCFC) raises funds for scholarships, educational guidance, and athletic opportunity to underprivileged youth. For more information, see the events section of www.smacksportswear.com.
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market—I will be at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 1 to 3, walking the show with Fred, my dog. This is a great chance to catch up with what’s new and exciting in the outdoor retail industry, plus it’s lots of fun with tons of activities and demos. Find more information at http://www.outdoorretailer.com/
AMA San Diego Mixer—The San Diego Chapter of the American Marketing Association holds an evening networking mixer at the Hilton Del Mar on Thursday, August 9. The mixer will feature a presentation from Sony Electronics’ Jeremy Lyons, Manager of Consumer Data Strategy, on Sony’s recent experience with customer engagement. Find out more at http://sdama.org/.