Balance is talked about a lot these days, and it can mean very different things to everyone. When I think about balance in my work and life I relate it to managing the time I spend on any one thing. This can be challenging in this busy world we live in, but if you manage your time effectively you will be more productive in the end.
For example, when I have a meeting or a call with a client its important to me that I make sure we do not go over the planned time commitment. This way I won’t have to sacrifice the time I need for other tasks. While it’s ideal to believe I’ll never spend more time with someone than I scheduled, it’s not always realistic, so I make sure to not over schedule myself in a single day or time block. This way the extra 15 minutes here and there won’t throw an entire schedule off kilter!
Balancing your time to increase productivity also has a lot to do with distractions. Take some time to identify which distractions are your kryptonite. Things like social media, TV and email or web surfing are the biggest culprits for most people, so start to assess how much time you “numb out” with these kinds of mindless activities….woops, there goes 2 hours! If you genuinely need to use social media, email or web to do your work, then make sure you have clear and achievable goals for that time you invest, so you’ll be able to identify if suddenly you’ve wasted too much time.
This plays right into the reasoning for having an agenda, and I do mean an agenda in mind and on paper. I’ve always found that when I’ve got my time mapped out in a physical agenda it keeps me accountable and realistic about how much I can cram in to one day. This is also effective for preventing mind wandering, and scatter brain habits of thinking.
But the single most important idea I’ve come to accept is that time for personal growth and living a full life is critical to overall balance of my well-being. Too much work can burn you out, too much play can slow you down. It’s all about the balancing act.