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Making Life Work: Achieving Work/Life Balance
by Darin Green

The more centered, happy, and healthy you are the more productive you will be. Achieving work and life balance is essential to peak performance and performance improvement. Many people don’t work well because they don’t feel well. Look at the facts: Over 100 million Americans suffer from stress-related illnesses. Stress is linked to each of the six leading causes of death. One million people per day in the U.S. are absent from work due to stress-related disorders, costing companies and organizations billions of dollars each year. So how do we integrate work and life more effectively?

It is no secret that the more our lives are balanced, the less stress we experience. When we have control over our lives, we create a balance between our professional and personal lives, and our morale and productivity improve. Modern life demands that we lead three lives (or more) - the individual life, the professional life, and the relationship life. Maneuvering between these different hats can cause depletion of energy, imagination, confidence, and happiness - four very important ingredients for success and peak performance.

Your challenge as an organization, manager, or team leader is to keep productive, solid contributors on board. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to provide a workplace that fosters work/life balance. The improvement of performance and productivity should not have to come at the cost of our personal lives, families, and our mental and physical health. When you simplify work/life balance it comes down to one word: energy. The key to balancing work/life is to maintain a healthy balance of energy. This is done by learning how to better handle your emotions. We all can - and must - become more aware of our emotions and energy levels and how to create, store, and access higher levels of energy. The ways we choose to manage our emotions and balance the many daily demands put upon us will build energy and optimism - or deplete it. Work/life balance begins and ends with self-knowledge and self-awareness. Where are you losing your energy?

Here are a few suggestions to manage your emotions and gain more energy and balance in your life:
  1. Take total responsibility for your energy level and work/life balance.
  2. Identify your emotional trigger points.
  3. Start your day your way.
    Get up an hour early and exercise your body and exercise your mind with meditation. Calm your mind and see yourself handling your day with harmony and excellence.
  4. Avoid comparing this day to others.
    Be present in the now. Avoid comparing yourself to others. This can cause massive energy leaks, as well as fear. When you are caught up in the lives of others you can miss out on your own. Just be the best you, and you will feel yourself becoming more energized.
  5. Don't forget the humor.
    Most things in life can be funny if you detach from them.
  6. Don't keep it in—Air your feelings.
    When done correctly this will open up new energy and vitality.
  7. Professional/Personal Forgiveness.
    Letting go of umbrage that we have towards people and places can be difficult, but it is truly the most important step for building energy and life balance.
  8. Learn to say No.
    Don't be a super hero. Count the energy cost. Don't be a fool with your time and energy. Protect it like you protect your money.
  9. Let them know that you are human.
    Many times we can find ourselves on a pedestal: a super mom or wife, a super dad or husband, super manager, super team player, etc. When people have us on a pedestal they expect us to be perfect, and they may become angry when we are not. Being perfect is the perfect way to unhappiness and massive energy loss. Stay human and you will stay healthy and fully energized.
  10. Remember that a balanced life does not come through work; it is something you earn.
  11. Partner with your family.
    Our children and family members can help balance life more than you might imagine. Divide chores by age-appropriate levels between all family members. Create a team-like atmosphere with your family. Have fun. Be creative.
  12. Do the things you have been putting off.
    Clean the garage, office, etc.; write the letters, e-mails; make the phone calls. Take some small steps to get some (one!) of these items done, and you will feel a sense of release and freedom when complete.
  13. Stay positive
    Avoid negative people and information. Don’t be in denial of negative circumstances—just don’t relish in them.
  14. Stay Committed
    Balancing work/life does not come overnight. It is a challenge that is never solved. It is managed. Work/life balance is achieved through consistent steps repeated day in and day out, for every form of self-improvement involves a cost in the form of effort and commitment. For things to change for the better, you must change for the better—from the inside out. That's the only way it works.
All contents of this article, unless otherwise noted, are ©2003–2004 Darin Green Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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