Balancing life on a tightrope

By Teresita Then
Receptionist at Life Ready Mobile

Are you balancing your life or juggling it?

Between household chores and fetching the kids, we try to fit in physical and social activities. We race from work to the school, then to the gym and home. We think we’ve got a pretty good balance of work and play, only to find ourselves staring at the ceiling at 2am, wakeful and exhausted.

In today’s high pressure, high paced world, stress levels skyrocket and finding an equilibrium between work, health and life is challenging. Many a time we find our bodies worn out, spirits drained and relationships strained, all to chase after what we call “success”.

Are we keeping every aspect of life in harmony or are we juggling them and watching in fear that they’ll collide and fall on us? The question is, how do we maintain our balance in this hyper productive world today?

First and foremost, we have to be specific with our time management. Setting and sustaining boundaries can be challenging. It requires discipline and a bit of flair. But through practice, a little ruthlessness in declining new tasks goes a long way. Be brutal in cutting down on commitments and activities, learn to say no and draw explicit lines between work and personal time.

Set priorities to be efficient and avoid procrastination during work. Also, designate down time to exercise and eat well. Switch off the phone if it is necessary after work and remember that productivity isn’t determined by the number of hours we spend on work but by the results our work produces.

Next, would be planning ahead and setting realistic goals to accomplish. Goals should be attainable to increase the likelihood of following through, reducing inefficiency and preventing time wasting.

While our goal should be to strive for excellence, it is also important not to be hung up on being perfect. We are often focused on tangible achievements that we lose sight of things that matter—our health and relationships. As Stephen R. Covey puts it, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

Occasionally, delegating tasks may help us focus on important aspects of a project. With proper allocation of work, we’ll be able to get tasks done in half the time without compromising on the quality of the outcome. Work is about teamwork and sometimes, completing the task is achievement in itself.

Last but not least, working out a coping strategy is vital. Stress is inevitable, and everyone manages this differently – some set aside a proper lunch break, some engage in destressing activities or socialise with friends. Whatever it may be, learning to pause is essential, especially for go-getters who set a low priority on rest. This is crucial for our wellbeing and to boost productivity. As a Chinese saying goes, “Rest is for a longer journey ahead”.

We live in a society that seeks approval through achievements. It has been ingrained in us that every milestone has to be marked by a trophy to be considered a success. We assume the more activities we fit into our schedules, the fuller our lives would be; the more work we take on suggests the more dedication we have to our work. But is it worth allowing work to get in the way of enjoying life? Dolly Parton sums it up well, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”.

Balancing life on a tightrope, you don’t have to fall.