Maintaining balance in your life

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Todd Wadkins
  • 932nd Airlift Wing Safety Office
I just wanted to take a few minutes of your life that you will not get back. Directly that is...because what I want to share with you can be applied to so many parts of our lives that maybe you can reclaim some of the time wasted on superfluous, tedious and unnecessarily stressful tasks in life.
Now I know you might be thinking... "what does a Safety Geek know about my life?" Well honestly, not much.
Our lives are so very different...but, let's not focus on that. Rather, let's look at the things in our lives that are more alike than they are different.
Let's get back to the title of this article, when I say "balance," I don't mean balance in the, "let's do some back flips on a two by four" sense. I am talking about work, rest, play, and pray.
Take this image to have a compass. Go ahead, get a piece of paper and draw a dang compass.
In the center list your goals: Education, family, money, health, fitness, etc. At the four points of this compass write work, rest, play, pray respectively. As for the "pray'--this not intended to influence you to find religion or to make me seem like some sort of holy man. (It's just an article.) For you it might just be time to sit and think, meditate or spend some time with a good book.
Now realize that this balance doesn't mean four hours of work, four hours of rest, four hours of play and four hours to pray, etc. Take a look at your life and how it compares to your balance compass.
How are you doing? Do you find yourself too busy to go for a run, so that you can pass your PT test? Do you find yourself tuning out at home, distracted by something from work? Do you find yourself checking your email or cell phone while you are on vacation?
Or at your kids soccer game? Can you stand to sit alone in silence for even a minute? When was the last time you played kick ball? Monopoly? Charades? Or Tic-Tac-Toe with your six year old child?
Ideal balance comes from being able to focus on the task at hand while keeping the long-term goal in mind.
So, when you are working, WORK! When you are resting, REST! When you are playing, PLAY!
Now let's set some parameters for each of these four points on the compass.
What is work? What is rest? What is play? What is pray? To define work is simple right? I mean whatever pays the bills is work. But what about this looming PT test? It is a condition of our employment in the Reserves.
Should I attack and prioritize my training as work? I can't tell you what is right or wrong for you, but for me in the past, I looked at running and working out as a J.O.B. But now, it's kind of fun.
So now working out has moved from work to play. By doing this I've created a little more balance for both of these areas of my life.
On top of that, I've lost 30 pounds and now have the energy to play football or basketball or even run a few miles with my kids. I also breezed through my PT test which eliminated at least one source of stress.
I know this seems easy to say, but hard to implement, and why? I'll tell you what I think.
Because we have to make change happen and initially, change is stressful. It's tough because work, school, family demands can easily interfere with each other.
It's time to prioritize. Evaluate what is "MOST" important to you and cut away the distractions so you can devote your energy to where it is needed most.
This is the ultimate Self-Help article -- because every part of it you are going to have to do yourself.
Take this compass and put it on your fridge, right next to the kid's school work. Look at it every day and judge how well balanced your life has become. See if you can move some of your demands from one aspect to another.
What are you waiting for? Directions...I gave you a compass, what more do you need?