To balance life and work means to not let focus turn into burnout. If your focus is too intense, you can become out of balance. I have learned this lesson far too many times! To live a life filled with joy and flow and to perform at your very best means to live a life in balance.  Balance involves the physical, mental/emotional and spiritual.

I used to believe that a marathon was a metaphor for life. The race is a long race that we run and we just need to be steady. In fact, I have a little figurine of the tortoise and the hare taken from the famous story with the inscription of, “Steady Wins the Race.” But I don’t believe that way so much anymore.

I believe that life is made up of a series of sprints. While I know it’s critically important to be consistent, I now recognize that I have big bursts of creativity and productivity followed by rest.

What does balance look like?

Physical Balance

In order to fulfill your dreams, there will be sacrifices and extra hours put in. Make sure that you get enough rest each night. For me, that means 7-8 hours of sleep. I’ve gone on spurts working from 6AM to 2AM at a time. Every time I’ve done that, I’ve worn myself down and have even gotten sick. Listen to your body and know when enough is enough.

Along with rest comes making sure you are eating nutritionally rich foods and drinking enough water to keep hydrated.  When your body is fueled with proper nutrition and water, you can keep your energy levels high. This will help to mentally focus.

Get enough exercise. Ideally your routine should consist of two to three cardiovascular activities such as walking, cycling, running and two strength training workouts. Being in good physical shape will help with focus and endurance. Make sure that you consult with a physician in regards to an exercise program, especially if you have not been active in a while.

Mental/Emotional Balance

Make sure that you are spending time with family and friends.

Participate in a hobby or other activity other than work.

Try to keep your focused work activities to 1-1/2 to 2 hours. For me, I do a lot of sitting at my computer doing research and writing. If you find you are sitting that long, get up and take a mental and physical break. (I’ve been known to be so focused that I will sit for 5 hours straight. Trust me, it’s not good!)

Get away from your work setting. If you work by a park, take your lunch and eat it there, or walk over there for a short 15-20 minute break. This will help to mentally and physically recharge you.

Spiritual Balance

Spend some time in stillness each day. Pray, meditate and read inspirational material that will nourish and feed your soul.

Attend church to recharge spiritually each week.

Maintaining balance will help you to stay focused on your goals and dreams.

That brings us to Step 15 – Review and Track your Progress

Step 1 – You Have to Have a Plan

Step 2 – Take Action on your Plan in Small Steps Every Day

Step 3 – Don’t have an All or Nothing Attitude

Step 4 – Focus on Your Strengths

Step 5 – Meditate or Think on your Plan

Step 6 – Get rid of Distractions

Step 7 – Review your Plan at the End of the Day

Step 8 – Lock Out Doubts and Fears

Step 9 – Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Step 10 – Listen to what Expands You

Step 11-  How to Deal with Overwhelm

Step 12 – Avoid Negative People and Surround Yourself with Positive People

Step 13 – Where do You Spend Your Time

Step 14 – Balance Life and Work

Until next time…. Stay focused!

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