How to Create Balance in Your Life

by Ruth Klein on September 30, 2010

I take pride in keeping my life balanced. A balanced life means different things to different people and my idea of a balanced life is to make time during my day to exercise (six to seven days a week); eat a healthy breakfast; read the Wall Street Journal over a good cup of coffee; stop my work day around 5pm to 6pm (depending on the day); taking Friday and weekends off; taking time to be with family and friends every day after work; and sprinkle my week with dancing lessons, computer lessons and knitting lessons…to name a few.

However, let me share with you my off-balance days for the last two months. Before I go there, I want to share what the trigger was for me to get off of the merry-go-round during my work day. I forgot my friend’s birthday…we have been friends for many decades and I don’t remember ever missing her birthday and not wishing her well. I did this year.

In fact, I was so involved and “focused” on my upcoming 4G Branding Summit, I didn’t even remember it was her birthday until she sent me an e-mail explaining that she’d been sick during her big day. Can you imagine how I felt? Not only did I miss wishing her a happy birthday, but I also didn’t realize she was feeling ill for several weeks!!

In my defense, my friend and I rarely talk on the phone…we have such a strong bond that whenever we speak, whether weeks or months have gone by, we pick up the conversation as though we spoke the day earlier. I know many of you understand what I mean when I say that.

But this time, it was different because I felt so badly that I had forgotten her birthday. The only saving grace, from my perspective, was that I was honest with her and admitted the “hiccup” to her and why. As always, she was very gracious about it and in fact, we spent the weekend celebrating her birthday a few days later.

So, there you have it! I share this with you because everyone is human and we have a tendency, at times, to get so focused and myopic, that we miss important dates and people…even when that person has written books on the subject. So, why am I sharing my past foible with you?

Because when we become myopic, past a “healthy” level or boundary, our awareness and consciousness goes out the window. But, there’s always solutions to challenges and I would like to share with you several that have worked for me.

First, it’s important to be open to the “feedback” or triggers that set off your feelings of imbalance or overwhelm and do something about it. Here are some things I am doing, starting today….

  1. Stop a few times during the day and become “conscious” of what you are doing and what you’re not doing to create the balance that you want in your work day, at home, etc.Why? It’s important to stop the cycle of myopia and single focused thought on only one thing. It opens your mind up for other pursuits, project ideas, etc.
  2. Go out in nature or look outside, preferably at trees, water, a pond, etc. and stay focused on what you see, hear, touch, when you do this.Why? Going out in nature and changing the mental focus to one of being aware of your senses; touch, sound, sight is a great reminder to be present now.
  3. Become aware of what you’re not doing, as well as those activities that you would like to do and that give you joy and energy…see if you can incorporate those activities into your day or evening.Why? One of the best ways to get burned out quickly is to continually forego activities that you enjoy and instead, stay with your myopic thought…idea…project…activity.

Here’s an example of what I did today to take action on creating the balance that I temporarily lost.

I made a decision this weekend…I became very conscious all through the weekend, as well as the first thing in the morning, to bring balance back into my work day. I think this is an important point. I was living with balance after work as I made time to be with family and friends, but my workdays were completely off balance…which also poured into my forgetting my friend’s birthday.

I went for a walk for about an hour and walked to a nearby coffee shop and bought a scone that I love, to bring home to have with coffee. I also bought two fresh nectarines at the supermarket on my walk home so that I could enjoy an organic piece of fruit as my oatmeal was being cooked. All the while, I smelled the beautiful scent of the eucalyptus trees which immediately brought back fond memories of our family going to family camp in Santa Barbara for over twenty summers!

Part of getting back into balance is providing myself with activities that I enjoy and refresh me — that I had put off for over two months. So, I read the Wall Street Journal (I love this newspaper and it sparks ideas for my business and for my clients…I call the WSJ my “business partner.”); took time to take a walk instead of starting work at 7am; and I took time to read sections of a good book as well as took time to meditate.

I can tell you that I had a smile on my face this morning and it started the minute I went outside for my walk. Even though I haven’t completed what I wanted to complete today, I still feel balanced and on target!!!

So, I challenge you to step back and become conscious and present as to how you could provide or create more balance in each of your days.

Here’s to a life that nourishes you!

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