If you are working hard, as an employee, executive or owner – you need to learn work/life balance.
If you are in a relationship, you have three things to balance. And once you have children, you have four things to balance.
Read this, about Balancing The 4 Parameter Equation.
When balancing the four parameters, we talked about what you ought to balance – but not how.
Here is a concept that may help you see your life experience from a different angle, and plan accordingly.
Imagine you are a shipwreck survivor stranded on an island, by yourself. After a few days, you realize that you are alone, completely. So you let yourself go… you walk around in your underwear. You may belch without worrying about anyone being offended. You may do things that you would not do if others were around. Let’s call this “being off”.
When you are off, you are true only to yourself. Your angst and stress levels are at the lowest they can be.
Alternatively, if you were to be rescued after a few years on the island – the world would want to learn about what happened to you. Newscasters, media, reporters, the whole world would want to focus on you and put you the spot light. You would worry about what you would wear to these interviews, you would try not to belch at your whim. You would be on constant alert to what you are asked, and how you answer, and how you are perceived… Let’s call this “being on”.
To balance your well being, you should ascribe the amount of hours you are expected to be “on”. You can not be on for a long time, and be happy. Unless you factor this into your life decisions, you may end up exhausted, frustrated, and generally upset. Give yourself time to be off. Completely off.
This does not mean you need to scout for an island to live on for a few days a month. This does mean, that when you plan your activities, try not to put yourself in a schedule of constantly being on. It will drain you, and lead to unhappiness.
Here are some examples of daily activities, and if they are requiring you to be on. Some seem easy to do, and not too taxing – and yet many people do not realize what causes them to be mentally fatigued.
If you are a sales person, and you travel to a trade show, you may be standing on the show floor for eight hours. While the physical strain on standing for a long time is hard enough – you are constantly bombarded with activities, that require you to be on. Clients may come by, old friends say hi, you want to impress this next prospect, you are asked to participate at a magic trick in a booth. All these seemingly leisurely activities, are adding up. If you are asked to go have dinner with a big client – its not that you are tired per se. You are mentally drained from being on, all day.
Same goes for family vacations with your in laws. You are not expected to fart in front of them and live to tell… So you are on your best behavior for a long period of time. Its not that you are working hard, its just that you are constantly on. This extends to social gatherings, and other activities that you need to think about all the time. It adds up, and your job is to balance it.
If you have an opportunity during days you are required to be, to be with yourself, it can help restore your balance. So if a family or colleague wants to join you during the time you set up for yourself to rejuvenate… think again about adding them to your plans. If you can’t just be yourself next to this person, and you need to be on – its not going to help you balance your energies.
Dinner at your boss’ house = being on.
Watching your kids play sports = being on.
Family vacation with your in laws = being on.
Speaking in front of a crowd = being on.
Running for mayor = being on.
Learn to be off.
Click here for Chapter 27
References and Quotes:
Learn relax – life hacker