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Working to attain life’s balance

There’s a new term that’s been coined in the last few years: Work/Life. Its origins lie in our culture’s evolution to the point where work and the rest of life are becoming so blurred we’ve even in-vented a term where the words virtually blur together!

Work/Life is frequently seen in public, notably in cars where the driver yaps into his or her hands free phone on the way to and from work. We also see it in the living room at night or on the weekends, where the notebook is taking over from the TV as the screen most watched during our “downtime” away from the office. Now work is creeping into our personal lives and quite happily eating away into our 24 available hours.

Funny thing. We often see Work/Life partnering another, older but highly popular word we use when discussing our quality of life these days: Balance.

Work/Life Balance. No question that for most of us, it’s something that sits high on the agenda of things to achieve. With employer expectations rising, the pace of life egging us on to be faster, stronger, better than ever before, and our freedom of choice at an all time high, we’re being pulled in all directions at once.

For example, men now face other priorities other than being the breadwinner. The new social conscience demands they play their part in the home – a role that many males have not been conditioned for and may struggle to fit into their routine. Women are on the move – rising through corporate ranks and starting up new businesses like never before – the new demands that come with these challenges compete with other life goals such as raising a family. All in all, the freedom our society has asked for and won also brings with it choice, and we choose to try and have it all! How do we find equilibrium and balance amongst the choices available to us?

In the workplace, we’re feeling the pressure. To progress our career, we need to continually demonstrate that we add value to our employers and customers.

We may feel like the goose that lays the golden eggs – our boss wants more and more eggs out of us, but we find it hard to find the time to recharge so we can keep producing. Steven Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People calls this challenge attaining the Production/Production Capability Balance.

World-class athletes know the secret – recovering energy is as important as expending it. Their training plan includes recharge time – does yours?

To perform at peak levels all individuals need to consistently work on main-taining their capacity. In their recent Harvard Business Review article, entitled The Making Of A Corporate Athlete, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz identify four levels of capacity: Physical, Emot-ional, Mental and Spiritual, in that order. Physical well-being is the foundation. Emotional capacity refers to the ideal performance state of mind. Cognitive abilities are the Mental, and Spiritual refers to our sense of purpose. Without these being con-sistently nurtured and re-charged, we are unlikely to perform at our peak. And to nurture, we need to make the time and get our lives back in balance.

How does one achieve

a successful Work/Life Balance, given the pressures

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