Balance Your Life Well
- Monday, April 23, 2007
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Bill Butterworth's book, On the Fly Guide to Balancing Work and Life, (Waterbrook Press, 2006).Stress, frustration, exhaustion, and guilt are the symptoms of a life out of balance. You’ll feel them if your work eclipses your relationships. You want to be successful at everything in your life, but too often, you run out of time and energy trying to do it all.
The key is realizing that life isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon. If you balance your life at the right steady pace, you can achieve long-term fulfillment.
Here’s how you can balance your life well:
Pursue endurance. Stop rushing through life as if it were a sprint instead of a marathon. Don’t burn yourself out. Pray for the patience you need to approach situations with endurance. Ask God to give you His eternal perspective on the various aspects of your life.
Get rid of the “hazies.” Don’t let hazy thinking cause you to lose sight of your long-term goals. Think and pray about what’s most important, and establish priorities. Then make all your decisions with those priorities in mind. Remember that you only have so much time and energy; use it well. Focus just on what choices are best for you to avoid being distracted by the many other good choices you have available. Regularly remind yourself of your priorities, and build your schedule around activities that will most help you fulfill those priorities. Study how you usually spend your time, and notice how you’re currently balancing your attention between tasks and relationships. Frequently stop to consider whether or not you’re living your life in a way that would cause you no regrets if you were to die unexpectedly.
Ask yourself these questions to check your priorities: “What is my mission in life?”, “Why do I do this kind of work?”, “Where is my focus these days?”, “What are my long-term goals?”, “What are the important things in life to me?”, “Who are the three people to whom I am closest?”, “Are my relationships characterized more by giving or by getting?”, “Are my relationships characterized by love?”, “Who would I like to get to know better in the next six months?”, “To whom am I accountable?”, “Do I set aside a regular time and place for reflection?”, “What does quietness look like in my life?”, “What is the most common roadblock that keeps me from a regular time of quietness?”, “How might keeping a journal help me to achieve more balance?” and “What qualities would I most like to possess?”.
Get rid of the “lazies.” Ask God to help you develop the self-discipline you need to bring your life into the right balance. Realize that you will have to make some sacrifices to achieve a healthy balance in your life; be willing to do so. Know that you should eliminate one activity from your schedule for every new activity to which you commit. Be creative about how you can cut down on your work hours to free up more time for your relationships. Consider shifting your work hours to times that conflict less with your family’s schedule, eliminating distractions that decrease your productivity during work hours, delegating certain tasks to others, and other solutions that will free up time for you. Be patient while working to achieve your career goals; acknowledge that it will take some time to earn a promotion, start a business, etc., and don’t burn yourself out while you work toward those goals. Don’t let your job become the dominant influence in your life, crowding out everything else that’s also important. Instead, be proactive and intentional about planning your life well.
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