Achieving Balance: Beyond your portfolio

This article was provided courtesy of Patricia Ziegler, Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer.

 

There isn’t often a week that goes by in which someone doesn’t lean across the desk and ask me the ever so popular question, “How do you find balance in your life?” 

To which I always answer, “Define balance”. 

In fact, I’ve caught myself asking others this very question.  We’re all there – partners, children, grand-children, aging parents, pets, parent/teacher interviews, careers, housecleaning, yard work, laundry, social lives, community involvement, health, fitness – and the list goes on. 

For some, there are far more pieces that consume their daily lives than others.  We also all look at life through a different lens and often, what one finds relatively simple to balance, another might not.

So, when you find it difficult to balance life, where does one start to find ‘balance’? 

In my experience, one word does it all – planning. 

Whether it is personal or professional, I always take Sunday evening to look ahead at my calendar for the week to plan out where I need to be, what absolutely needs to get done, who I absolutely need to connect with and where I might need some help to accomplish the task(s) at hand.  My husband and I also share a calendar so that we are always aware of work commitments that may take either of us out of town or away for an evening, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, PD days for school and our children’s activities.  I will even block off time in my work calendar if I need to leave on the early side to pick up the kids and get them to their after-school commitments.  I live and breathe by this calendar (which is accessible on my smart phone). It even includes my to-do list, grocery list and chore list, all at my fingertips. 

Is it easy?  Not at all.  In fact, I often ask my husband late on a Friday night, when the kids are both sound asleep, “how on earth did we just get through that week?”  His answer, inevitably, is “hour by hour”. 

And truthfully, that is exactly how we sometimes do it. Even the best laid out plan doesn’t always work.  Weather, an illness, or a meeting that runs late – all of these can be a barrier to carrying out a plan, but at least having the plan gets you started. 

And, in all of this, I keep my sanity by giving myself 45 minutes of ‘me time’ at least three times a week.  I block off time in my calendar over lunch and head to the gym to take my mind completely off everything else that is going on in my life. And it works.  I come back refreshed, energized and ready to take on the remainder of the day. 

Balance is up to you. Whether organized or disorganized, clutter-free or a pack-rat, with a plan or without, balance means something different to everyone.  Take life at your own pace, don’t take on too much at one time, and do stop to smell the roses – you will find balance in your own personal way that works for you.

And truthfully, that’s all that matters!