“Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.” – Lily Tomlin
A great deal of emphasis is placed on being productive through frenzied activity.
Because of this, when it comes to career-life planning, we overlook the bigger picture of the lifestyle we want to live.
We pursue a career that is prestigious and lucrative all-the-while neglecting how it directly influences our lifestyle and well-being.
We end up with a busy schedule with barely any space for free time.
We are all multifaceted, whole people, and there is more to our existence than just our role as “worker.”
You’re also a citizen of your community. You are a friend. You may be a parent or spouse, or maybe a student.
There is value in slowing down and creating balance. When we do, we can make the most out of life and can develop meaningful relationships with family and friends.
Here are a few ways to help you create balance and improve well-being.
Focus on the big rocks
Managing our time is an obvious tenet to help us have a more balanced life. However without the skill of prioritizing, we end up juggling more balls than we can catch.
One helpful piece of wisdom about prioritizing comes from the late author Steven Covey. He explained that to avoid filling our time with trivial and insignificant things, we should first focus on the “big rocks.”
There are so many little things that compete for our attention and time that we can end up distracted and overextended. The idea is to make sure and schedule the most important things first in your life in order to ensure you have time for them.
What are the big rocks in your life? Think about what’s more important to prioritize daily, weekly, and monthly.
Make time for what you value
When you think of what’s most important to you, where does your career fall on this list?
Because of the cultural impetus we place on career success, work is of high importance to many people and demands much of our attention and energy.
If we’re not intentional about prioritizing our time, work can take precedence over other important values, such as health, relationship, or spirituality.
If we’re not aligning our life with these self-nourishing values we’re likely to feel hollow and emotionally empty.
Make time for your most important values. What relationships do you value? What is most important to you in the long-run?
Now that you know what’s important to you, it can be useful to eliminate all the excess. Life can be very complicated and overwhelming when we’re always looking for more.
Instead of trying to do more and have more, try the opposite approach and go for less. Simplifying life is about knowing what’s important and essential and then getting rid of the rest.
A few ways to simplify life are to downsize and minimize your lifestyle. This might mean you get rid of things you don’t need. If can also come from saying no the unimportant or unessential requests that flood your day.
Instead of taking on more try and narrow your focus to the most important things. Focus on the “big rocks” that will really make a difference and make sure to prioritize time for the people you value and pastimes that are emotionally nourishing.
Photo credit: U.S. Army