Work, play, love, rest, exercise, dream and sleep. Most of us get a lot of one or two of these, but few of us get enough of all of these. For many, work time crowds out almost all of the other things on this list.
So what? Does balance really matter? We can all sleep when we die right? Maybe.
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Well I guess yes and you may get your wish sooner rather than later if you die early from overwork and stress.
But what if work is your passion and is not stressful? The you might consider this thought from Charles Churchill, a poet and satirist who lived in the 1700’s:
“Constant attention wears the active mind, Blots out our pow’rs, and leaves a blank behind.”
You may be compromising your favorite pursuits by ignoring balance.
One of CEO’s in my private coaching program remarked that he is under too much time pressure and doesn’t have time to exercise or pursue his hobbies. Outside the office his work consumes most of his time. So I asked him, how does he get a break from the stress that robs him of his creativity and diminish his chances of achieving his goals. And if he falls ill from poor health, how will doctors visits impact his productivity. Or his longevity?
Other CEO’s I coach travel excessively and complain about the strain this puts on their family and marriages. Still they feel they have no choice but to travel as their work demands it. There is always choice. Travel is a choice and putting it before your relationships is a choice. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are prepared to live with the consequences.
It is often said that when people on their deathbed share regrets, they seldom lament that they should have worked more hours.
If you always follow the same routine every day break it and see what you were missing. Eat a variety of foods to get all the essential nutrients your body needs.
Vary your exercise too. When you do the same exercise every day your body adapts and learns to do the exercise more efficiently but this means less benefit from the exercise so change your routine and enjoy bigger gains.
Just as high performance athletes sleep a lot and eat well to perform at their peak during competitions, sleep and rest will make you more productive in your working hours. When I first started out in business in the early nineties I would regularly work 7 days a week. The Internet was exploding and it was an exciting time, but when I look back at my efficiency I have to chuckle. Many of my long hours were wasted because I was either tired to always focus on priorities or lacked perspective and missed opportunities. I did well enough through sheer brute force, youth and enthusiasm, but I often wonder what I could have achieved if I took more regular breaks to see the forest an the trees. I have since learned that being productive is about pacing your self and having balance.
Highly successful people meditate and take regular vacations. Why? Because that’s what drive success and happiness. If you don’t dream, how can you imagine the possibilities? How can you push your boundaries? How can you rest and rejuvenate your mind?
Work is a way to pay for the house, the toys, the trips, but what’s the point of working if you don’t have time totally enjoy the fruits of your labour. And even if work is your passion, you may find that balance drives more success in your life.
Balance ensures you get a lot of everything you could possibly want.