In my work with clients, Im often asked to help women balance the many demands of their work, home, and personal responsibilities. In each instance, my clients are looking for a sense of control and balance in their life. Whether Im talking to a corporate executive or a stay-at-home mother, my advice about life balance is always the same. You will balance your life, your work, and your personal aspirations when you stop managing your time, and start managing your priorities.
Time is finite. You get only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Once youve used a moment, it is gone forever. The process of using your time effectively becomes possible when you begin to view it as a commodity versus an expendable resource.
Do you view your time with as much consideration as you view your money? Its likely you were schooled to value your financial resources and to use them in ways that support your family, your goals, and your life. Its also probable that you were never taught to consider your time so carefully.
I would bet that you would not burn a dollar bill. Yet, you may be willing to burn through an hour of your time based on someone elses demands. This is a direct result of the way youve been conditioned to view timeas expendable or renewable. Once your perspective shifts and you begin to view time as a valuable commodity, you will begin to make commitments more carefully, which will allow you to create a rich and balanced life experience.
The Resource of Time
Establishing a sense of equilibrium in your life not only requires that you acknowledge the limited nature of time, it also mandates that you be incredibly selective about how you allocate this precious resource. You can successfully accomplish this by developing a structure that will allow you to use your time more proactively. This structure will be based on your priorities.
A priority is something that is important to you, or something that needs your attention in the present. Your personal priorities define how you invest time within your life. Your professional priorities guide your allocation of the time committed to your work.
Making the decision to invest your time according to your priorities not only supports the effective use of each moment, it also paves the road to a high-quality life. It creates a structure for you to make decisions that help you experience life on your terms and gives you permission to turn away from requirements that dont support your aspirations.
Your life experience is defined by your personal priorities. Areas factoring into your personal list could include your health, your relationships, your career, your financial well-being, your spirituality, your home environment, your personal growth and development, and your ability to participate in your community.
Most of the things on your lists will reflect your personal desires and interests. Other areas will need to be included because they require your attention in order for your life and work to function smoothly. For example, running errands, paying bills, and responding to email may not feel like satisfying activities but they must be completed to support your lifestyle.
Call to Action Define Your Priorities
Set aside twenty to thirty minutes to move through this activity. Try to arrange for an uninterrupted period of time, which allows you to consider the areas of your life and work that are truly important to you. Create a list of five to ten priorities that reflects who you are, not a list that reflects what you think other people expect of you.
Wrapping It Up
When you make the choice to honestly define what matters to you, the possibility for life and work balance is created. Its quite likely that your schedule will remain full, even after moving through this exercise. The difference is that you will be busy with things that matter to you. Youll be living your priorities. As a result, youll have the opportunity to experience a much greater level of joy, satisfaction, and happiness each day. Ultimately, thats what were all looking for.
This material is excerpted from Remodel Your Reality; Seven Steps to Rebalance Your Life and Reclaim Your Passion. The book will be available in stores in May 2006. For an advance copy, visit the authors website at http://www.compasslifedesigns.com. Contact Kimberly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-528-8618.
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