To find balance, make realistic choices that add value and harmony to your life as a whole explains Cathy Harris

So often we are confronted with theories on work-life balance, when the reality is that work is but one element of our lives, and should not be viewed as separate and exclusive! This in itself brings an imbalance to the entire spectrum of how we integrate all of our other life activities and responsibilities.  Work plays a huge part in our daily lives, but it does not start at eight in the morning and finish at five in the afternoon.  Many of our other life events take place in between our traditional “work” hours.

When we view life holistically, we can appreciate that there is in fact no work-life balance, but rather we can accept that the activities we do during a 24-hour period involve life in its fullest, integrating everything that needs to be completed and accomplished within the hours we have available to do so.

Draw up your personal list of daily activities from the time you get up until the time your weary head hits the pillow, and then categorize all your daily activities into specific groups such as work, family, training, self-development, community activities, relationships, financial, social, health and well-being, career and personal interests.

Allocate the time needed to fulfil each of the activities.  Many of you may find that your time allocated will exceed 24 hours, yet we somehow manage to fit everything into a day with time to spare. Others may find they have plenty of time to spare, but spend it worrying or stressing about things that have not yet occurred. In doing this we realize that we are confronted with what can only be considered as an ‘integrated life balance’.

There are also other aspects of life which need to be integrated into your day, and those are things like your emotions, values, spirituality, circumstances, commitments and responsibilities.  These influence how you are likely to fill and live out your life.

The real question is, what do we need to do to ensure this life balance is in order, to get optimal mileage and quality output? The reality is that it is never easy, and there are no instant recipes to apply, however the following statements will provide you with some provocative thoughts to ponder:

Work is not just your paid job, but also your unpaid work responsibilities and contributions to society, to achieve a result

Many of us see work as our paid jobs, but that is not true!  If you are a parent you still have the responsibility to work with your children in teaching them and guiding them through life.  Of course, it doesn’t end there. What about housework, social work, extramural work?  The word “work” means “an activity involving mental or physical effort, done in order to achieve a result.”  In applying this meaning, we are in fact constantly working.

Balance is a situation in which different elements of your life are equal, or in correct proportion to all other elements in your life

When we are able to recognize that our lives are not just about what happens in our paid work space, and accept that the hours in a day comprise many events that make up our life, we can more easily identify, categorize and prioritize what those activities are. We now have access to technology which allows us to connect with each other and negotiate all the activities of our day.

Millennials are teaching us how to co-balance our working existence with everything else we do and participate in. Relationships are now more connected and in touch than ever before, and dealing with personal issues and activities in moderation during traditional work hours is seen as acceptable. Somehow the changes that have engulfed us have balanced out our lives.

Finding peace, quiet and tranquility is your responsibility

We often give others permission to take advantage of us, and when this happens we feel the bumps in the road, and the weight of life upon our shoulders. Yes, these are harsh words, but it is the truth, and we know it!

Life balance is not better time management for the things we need to accomplish, but rather finding balance on how we manage activity boundaries. Balance means making realistic choices that add value and harmony to your life as a whole.

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Cathy Harris is an Executive PA at Discovery Invest. Nominated SA National Office Professional of the Year in 2006, she drives various initiatives both locally and internationally. Cathy facilitates training initiatives which include in-house PA workshops ... (Read More)

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