One of my three guiding words in 2022 is “balance.” But what does that mean?
Do you have to give up something or rearrange something in order to increase time spent on something else?
Does it mean that every day is balanced the same?
Does it mean you prioritize one thing over another?
For me, balance is an awareness. An awareness that we have choices each day with where we spend our time and energy. The past year I have been thinking about what I love to do at work (live workshops) and where I have the least amount of energy. Surprisingly for me, as I explored this, I ultimately ended up taking individual career coaching off my website so I could focus more on trainings. I still do some career coaching but I wanted to shift that balance.
Guess what happened? I started getting requests to do more workshops. Yep. Two different state career associations, a state community college system, a college out west, a college in Boston, a medical company who wants to focus on retention, all contacted me this year…amazingly soon after I took career coaching off my website.
My challenge to you. Remember that you have choices, priorities, and tasks that you have some control over. “Where focus goes, energy flows,” was advice my business coach gave me and it’s true. Decide on your balance points, send the message to the “universe,” and you might be surprised what happens next. I have been pleasantly surprised.
Most of us need and/or want to work and all of us have lives outside of work. One thing I have always done is use all my vacation time each year. I even negotiated for additional vacation time in one position (and got it). Time away from work has always been important to me and I found that being refreshed made me a better worker.
Oftentimes one week was not enough to really re-energize and when I could, I tried to take more time off. We are complicated animals, we humans, and we need to be active. We also need a mix of activites so our brains can rest in different ways.
My challenge to you. Have you taken all your vacation time this year or do you at least have it planned? If not, consider ways you can use those hours/days to relax and reinvigorate yourself.
I also try to find balance within each day. I set an alarm for 45 minutes so that I remind myself to get up and move around. I try to take a 15-minute meditation break around 2:30pm each afternoon, and I am always surprised how much more energy I have when I return to work. Most days I take a walk either in the morning or after lunch. The other “balance” strategy I use is not opening emails throughout the day. I try to bunch them up so that I have time to finish projects and to just “think” through things a little better. Balancing my day and balancing my weeks are both strategies I try to be aware of.
My challenge to you. Make sure you are doing something to take control of your day and not always with your “pedal to the metal” with no time for yourself.
Because “balance” is one of my guiding words for the year, I write it down in my journal every time I write. This nudges me to think about how that word can fit into my day. I am constantly thinking about ways to keep me from working so many hours each week. I know I am at a different time in my career than many of you, and I put many hours into Peak-Careers when I started, but now I am thinking about how to manage my time better and to work closer to a 35 hour week…or less.
There are some weeks I still work 40+ hours, but by thinking about balancing my life, being aware of it, and considering how to balance work-life, I am always trying to keep my priorities straight. Is there a way for me to stop work a little early? Can this project or 25 unread emails wait until tomorrow so that I can spend time with my family? Balance is awareness.
My challenge to you. Think about your work-life balance, be aware of other people in your life that you want to spend time with, and your own personal mental health time.
I want to share with you this poem, “The Valuable Time of Maturity” by Mário de Andrade that really resonated with me.
” I counted my years and discovered that I have
less time to live going forward than I have lived until now.
I have more past than future.
I feel like the boy who received a bowl of candies.
The first ones, he ate ungracious,
but when he realized there were only a few left,
he began to taste them deeply.
I do not have time to deal with mediocrity.
I do not want to be in meetings where parade inflamed egos.
I am bothered by the envious, who seek to discredit
the most able, to usurp their places,
coveting their seats, talent, achievements and luck.
I do not have time for endless conversations,
useless to discuss about the lives of others
who are not part of mine.
I do not have time to manage sensitivities of people
who despite their chronological age, are immature.
I cannot stand the result that generates
from those struggling for power.
People do not discuss content, only the labels.
My time has become scarce to discuss labels,
I want the essence, my soul is in a hurry…
Not many candies in the bowl…
I want to live close to human people,
very human, who laugh of their own stumbles,
and away from those turned smug and overconfident
with their triumphs,
away from those filled with self-importance,
Who does not run away from their responsibilities ..
Who defends human dignity.
And who only want to walk on the side of truth
The essential is what makes
I want to surround myself with people,
who knows how to touch the hearts of people ….
People to whom the hard knocks of life,
taught them to grow with softness in their soul.
Yes …. I am in a hurry … to live with intensity,
that only maturity can bring.
I intend not to waste any part of the goodies
I have left …
I’m sure they will be more exquisite,
that most of which so far I’ve eaten.
My goal is to arrive to the end satisfied and in peace
with my loved ones and my conscience.
I hope that your goal is the same,
because either way you will get there too .. “
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a weekly email for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career practitioners focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF and BCC certified professionals as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching.
He is the author of A Field Guide for Career Practitioners: Helping Your Clients Create Their Next Move and The Adventure of Finding Me in New Zealand. He is also the recipient of the 2020 Kenneth C. Hoyt Award from the National Career Development Association and the Mid-Atlantic Career Counseling Association’s Professional Contribution’s Award in 2020.
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