How To Improve Your Work/Life Balance

May 30, 2012

Do you wear ‘busyness’ like a badge of honour? Being busy all the time means continually filling the magical moments of time at your disposal with a diverse plethora of ‘stuff’. As soon as we get out of bed in the morning, the day becomes a whirlwind of activities devoted to a never-ending to-do list. Even so, we barely make an impact upon it before more stuff gets added to the list.

When we go into the office or the workplace, we barely have time to breathe before we are immersed in meetings, phone calls or tasks that require our input and attention. Then, even if we do find that we have a quiet moment or two, we generally fill it by creating something else to do. We check our inbox or retrieve our messages, and then we check Facebook to see if anybody else wants our attention.

With so much activity that we impose (and allow others to impose) on our time, is it any wonder that some of the experiences we have in life are less than desirable outcomes? Time is one of the most precious resources that we have at our disposal and it is important to have a determined strategy for managing this most precious resource.

I have three overarching categories of time that help to align this precious resource with my goals:

Wasting Time – this is what we do when we spend energy on an activity that is not taking us towards the fulfilment of our goals, e.g. watching television mindlessly. It’s similar to buying things that we will never use. Wasting time actually takes us away from our goals and not towards them.

Spending Time – this is what happens when we engage in activities that satisfy short-term demands but do nothing to create a return in the long run, e.g. playing electronic games, exchanging irrelevant messages on-line.

Using Time – Not enough time is a dysfunctional state of mind that creates stress and frustration. We cannot create more time, but we can cut down on activity. When using time we are doing something we are passionate about and we love doing. We may have to cut down on some activities that take us away from the effective use of time. For example, we might engage the services of a gardener rather than spend copious hours tending the garden and mowing the lawn. The time saved could be used more effectively in spending quality time with the children or one’s life partner.

This process of achieving a work/life balance requires clarity on those things that are important in life. It also requires simplification. Cut down on the activity that is not important and does not take you towards your goal(s).

Stephen Chong is a professional development coach and author of the new book The Music of the Soul: A pathway to a rich and fulfilling life, now available at good book stores or online at

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