When you think about productivity, don’t think of it in terms of getting the most done in a given time, but getting the right things done. Let your priorities be your compass to set you in the right direction. Then, determine boundaries in each area of your life to maintain your level of balance. Often the trap we find ourselves in is to focus our planning efforts into one key area of our lives.
We often are great in creating plans at work and focusing on priorities. After all, it is what we get paid to do. However, we often forget that we don’t just have one role to play. Most of our efforts get immersed in the effectiveness of one or two roles, neglecting several other areas of our lives.
When we speak of balance, I am referring to two main areas; Balance of Self and the Balance of External Factors. All other areas or roles we hold fall into one of these two main areas.
Balance of Self
People spend millions of dollars a year in investments; stocks, real-estate and more. As an employee or employer, we invest our time and energy in hopes that there will be a financial return. Why then do so many of us forget to invest in ourselves. Our investment in ourselves is the most important investment we can make.
How you think and what you know.
Throughout school you got a formal education. Your ability to keep growing and stretching yourself will come from your continued self-education. Make time for continued knowledge through reading, writing or listening.
While I am on the road traveling, I listen to a variety of podcasts and books on tape that challenge my way of thinking.
Your overall physical well-being.
When my car makes the slightest noise, or performs less than its best, I immediately make an appointment to have it checked. After all, I rely on it to support my living. Being a district manager traveling from store to store, I cannot afford to let it break down.
In contrast, when my fingers started getting numb every once in a while, it took me 7 months before I even went to see the Doctor. Even then, once I saw my Doctor, he gave me a paper to run some blood tests. I am even embarrassed to tell you how long that took me.
Why are we better with our possessions than we are with ourselves? Our bodies are our vehicles. Without a healthy body, our capacity and ability to perform gets significantly diminished. We are diligent with our oil changes and maintenance checks but put aside the many benefits of exercise.
Don’t take your body for granted. What is your plan for exercise, nutrition and hydration?
The search for transcendent meaning. The search for meaning in life events and a yearning for connecting with something larger than oneself.
There is a difference between being spiritual and being religious. You can enhance your spirituality by being more religious but you don’t need to be religious to be more spiritual.
Committing to your values is one way to connect with your spirituality. Do you know your personal philosophy and what are you doing daily to ensure that you have integrity towards your values?
Spirituality can be expressed in many ways; religious practice, music, your relationship to nature, a set of philosophical beliefs or your relationships with friends, family and community.
Your relationship and connection to your immediate and extended family.
Sometimes the people we love the most are the ones we take most for granted. If family is high above your list of priorities, make sure you are being intentional about the quantity and quality of time you spend with them. Most often, it is not the amount of time that is important but what you do in that time. Be present in the moment, together.
Does not refer to one position alone but the jobs held and titles earned over a long period of time.
Probably the hardest area to keep in balance with the rest. With companies demanding more and more while providing fewer resources, sometimes it can be difficult to set and maintain boundaries.
“Investing in productivity in your career will significantly increase your chances for achieving productivity in other areas of your life.” – Elita Torres
Once you achieve productivity in your career, maintaining balance is learning to “disconnect” your mind and thoughts when you are no longer at work.
Your relationship and connections outside your family. This includes friends, community and your network.
Time is very limited and it can be important to have a network of people outside your work and family. Just remember that the type of people you interact with influences not only the subject matter you engage in but the consciousness level you operate it.
[tweetthis]“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn[/tweetthis]
How many parents warn their children about the friends they choose to hang out with? How many of those same parents take their own advice?
Time spent not working
Yes, taking time off is significantly important. People fall into the trap of thinking they can’t afford to take time off. Look at it in the way that you can’t afford NOT to take time off.
Taking time to rejuvenate and refill your energy is important to maintaining balance. How you choose to energize is up to you; bike riding, dancing, nature walks or hikes.
Here’s another important piece of advice, “It’s o.k to take a vacation.”
Here are some stats:
- There was a Google Consumer Surveys conducted in the first few days of 2015. They asked 1,500 American adults how many vacation days they took last year. Nearly 42 percent of people reported not using a single day of their 10 average allotted vacation days.
- Careers website Glassdoor and Harris InteractiveHPOL NaN% took a poll of 2,300 workers who get paid vacation. Only 25% said they use all their paid days each year and 61% said that while they’re on vacation, they continue to work. A quarter of respondents said that a colleague got in touch about work while they were on vacation and 20% heard from their boss.
- Another survey by Expedia, measured vacation deprivation by country. Which countries were the most vacation deprived? United States, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Japan and South Korea. Americans earn fewer vacation days than people in most countries, but still leave 2 days unused on average. Canadians earn fewer vacation days as well but tend not to accumulate any vacation days.
Taking a break is essential for your creativity and has actually been proven to increase your productivity.
When it comes to balance, remember the Law of the Harvest: We always reap what we sow. If you neglect certain areas of your life, weeds will grow.
What weeds have you let grown recently?
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