Achieving a Work-Life Balance
After two strong and very busy years of having an office open near downtown, I had to close the doors. My wife, a full-time mommy with two kids (a 5-year-old and an 18-month-old), got a job as a teacher. She wanted to develop the career she studied for and we did not want to send the kids to a stranger’s place to be taken care of. I became a full-time dad and continued to run my already busy two-year-old design business full-time. Most would agree that taking care of kids while working a full-time job is not ideal, let alone a business and it requires a different level of commitment and organizational skills.
How do you balance it all? What takes priority? We only have so much time in a day that fitting it all in seems… “im-possible”, right? Wrong! So you see, time is something we all have the same amount (24 hours or 1,440 minutes) of to do with whatever we choose to. The difference is in how we choose to use it.
Most people would agree that we go to work to provide for our families and our loved ones. You don’t hear people say, “I go to work, or I work this much because I hate work”. We might, sometimes, hate working but we still go because we need to provide for ourselves and/or our families. I hope everyone, or mostly everyone, loves what they do and they just get paid as a byproduct instead of the other scenario. Regardless of whether you love or dislike the work you do, how you balance that with life at home and with your personal life is another story.
Working is all I know. It is where I have control, where I feel safe, and where I thrive, says the workaholic side of me. No matter how much I work, I still feel that I’m not doing enough, I’m not making enough… that I’m falling behind. Listen, no one is going to argue about the fact that working longer will help you get a little more done, but the real underlying issue here is whether you are working efficiently. Being busy is one thing, but being efficient is a completely different thing. If we do what we do to provide for our families and our loved ones, let’s make sure we don’t lose them in the process. After all, they are the reason, they are our why.
Although there is no magic formula that works for everyone, a balanced life consists of making the necessary time for different aspects of life: time to be with your spouse, time to be with your kids, visit your aging parents, time to have fun, time to pray, time to meditate, and time to give. The good news is that not all of these activities need to fit in every single 24-hour day, we can pick and choose what works best for our needs. Pick days that certain activities fit best and most importantly adjust as needed.
Everyone’s lives are different, but the common thing we all share are the 1,440 minutes each day. Scheduling play times with kids, or swinging by to say hello to parents on the way back home from work, to even stopping at church for 7 minutes to say a prayer are all examples of how to block time out for things that are important to you and your loved ones. The only thing we need to do is actually work these things into our lives. If you find yourself saying, “I just don’t have time” then evaluate where you are spending more time than you should and adjust. Some people spend too much time in the gym, maybe because they take more photos than actually doing the exercises, or some spend too much time drinking with friends while their kids are home waiting to play with them. Others may spend too much time in front of the TV while their parents are waiting for a 7-minute phone call, etc. Break down your minutes in slots that work for you, mine are (I hope you can guess by now) 7 minutes.
Written by Alex Ceballos