What is “Balance”
I don’t like the term “Work/Life” balance because it implies that there are only two areas of importance: Work and Life. The reality for most of us is that “Life” is actually composed of several important roles: Parenting, Homeownership, Friendships, Community, “Me” time, etc….
Most of us already spend at least half our waking hours at work. This does not leave much time for the other important areas in your life.
How I Plan My Week
Every weekend I go through the following ritual to plan the coming week. The goals are to ensure that important things get done, but also to ensure that some time is devoted to each of the roles you play.
1. I review my Personal Mission Statement
A personal mission statement gives you guidance and is a reminder of what is important to you. If you don’t already have one, take some time to write one. Every week I review my mission statement and update it if necessary.
My Personal Mission Statement
To find happiness, fulfillment, and value in living I will strive to:
- Make a positive difference in the lives of others;
- Spend more quality time with friends and family;
- Simplify my life; work less; have more “perfect days”; and keep an open mind;
- Do great things; strive for excellence; and inspire others.
- Apologize sincerely when necessary.
- Remember that life is short; be grateful; relax and enjoy the moment; Memento Mori.
2. I review my Roles
Achieving “balance in life” isn’t about getting a 50/50 balance between “work” and “life”. You play many more than just 2 roles in life: Individual, Father, Husband, Friend, Employee, Homeowner, Artist, World Traveler, Adventurer, etc… You should try to devote some time to each of the roles you play.
Although they rarely change, every week I review my roles and occasionally I add a new role or remove a role that no longer applies.
- Father / Husband
- Family Member (son, brother, cousin)
- Employee / Entrepreneur
3. For each Role, I review my Long Term Goals
For each of my roles I try to define some long term goals. I review my goals weekly to make sure they are still important to me and that they align with my personal mission statement.
What are some big things that would make a tremendous difference if I could accomplish them? I try to make the goals as specific as possible and not too vague. Each week I want to try and get a little closer to reaching those goals.
Some of my Goals
- Individual: Resume Painting; Climb Mt. Kilamanjaro; Visit the Pyramids of Giza.
- Father / Husband: Weekly date night; 10 year anniversary trip; Build swing set;
- Family: Help my father lose 50lbs; Family cottage trip;
- Friend: Help my friends identify and achieve their goals;
- Homeowner: Renovate garage; Build a pool;
4. I schedule time in my week for each Role
Every week I make an effort to spend some time on each role. I identify the most impactful thing I can do for each role and schedule time in my calendar to do it. Sometimes this is something that gets me closer to some big ambitious goal, other times it’s something simpler like buying flowers or a date night.
For each of my roles I choose 1 to 3 important priorities/tasks to work on that week.
5. I schedule time for Personal Renewal & Growth
In addition to spending time on each of my roles, I try to devote time each week to become better physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually:
- Physical: Eat healthy, exercise, etc…
- Mental: Read, learn, etc…
- Social: Strengthen existing relationships, form new relationships, networking, etc…
- Spiritual: Meditate, nature, music, religion, etc…