The executive balancing act

All work and no play makes Sonya  a very dull girl.

How do you work at building your career while maintaining a healthy balance?

How do you insure your new focus does not morph you into a Workzilla (my word for work-a-holic)?

Often it is too easy to put our entire lives on hold because we have decided the career sector needs some attention.

Attention to help refocus is great, but that is only one part of the bigger picture. Maintaining a healthy balance between work-life and your personal-life will actually increase your chance of success in both areas, and insure your changes are longer lasting.

Below are a few ways I like to insure my personal life and work life keep a fairly even balance.

Physical exercise. This wonderful tool, the same wonderful tool I have spent half my life internally resisting then loving, gives me more focus and more energy then any other habit. I aim for at least 30mins a day on average. I achieve this by attending yoga class once a week, pillates class once a week, then allowing the rest to be flexible. I have access to a lap pool at work, I have Gym membership, I have Nia (60min dance routines), and if none of those call me, I have a good pair of running shoes and an entire city to explore. It doesn’t have to be intense all the time. 30min walk is better then no walk at all.

If you think you do not have time to exercise I suggest the book “4 Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss. Or check out Zen Habits for “How to make a daily exercise habit” in just 10mins a day.

Socialising is another great balancing activity that can also enhance your work life. Where better to brush up on your communication skills? Also socialising is essentially networking off the clock and usually more fun.  Get out there, clear the cob webs from your mind. You may find you meet people who will become work connections, or perhaps even land a job offer. Or you could just have a really fun night that creates lasting memories and keeps you smiling. I’m not a hugely social person and often prefer solitude however the times where I make myself go out and mingle with the world I always enjoy. I aim for at least once a week.

Reading. Reading. Reading. Yes I repeated reading three times intentionally. In my life, reading pretty much out weighs all other hobbies and activities by at least triple. I love to read. I’m often reading 4 or 5 book simultaneously. There is also my ‘to-read’ list that I am itching to dive into. Reading is a great way to self-educate. It also helps improve your vocabulary. With frequent reading you will become quicker which is always a god-send in a busy office (you could even do a speed reading course – which is great to have in your skill set). Reading also stimulate your imagination which is great for creativity both at home and at work. So all round, reading is good!

Healthy eating. This one is pretty self explanatory. Put crap in, you’ll get crap out. If you eat bad food, your performance and your thinking will suffer. Eat healthy food and keep artificial stimulants to a minimum. Check out Kathy Freston’s Quantum Wellness books if you are after a kick start on healthy eating.

In regards to healthy eating, I confess a small personality quirk. I never bring lunch. I hate packed lunches. I think it is a childhood scar from too many squashed warm sandwiches in the school yard. It became all too easy for me to NOT eat healthy. My lunches were all purchased from the businesses geographically near my office. However once my natural-path pointed out the error of my ways I set out to find a super healthy dish on the menu of my 3 fav eating places. One of them was a Japanese restaurant who do a killer Tuna Sashimi and Avocado salad. It’s amazing!! Another place offers a beautiful selection of home made vegetable soups. Then there is the Italian place 3 blocks away (bonus walking time!) that offer a fantastic niscoise salad and fresh fruit frappé. We have so much wonderful healthy food available, it would be a shame if you were not taking advantage of it. What is your fav healthy lunch meal?

Spend time with those you love – even if that is yourself. For me, that is alone time. I take a long hot bath or shower when I get home and leave my work at work. I encourage you to give your mind a break once you arrive home. You have been cycling around the work stuff in your mind for the past 10 hours – your fantastic mind could use a break. Turn the work mode off and allow yourself to slip into a quieter frame of mind.

If you have a loving family at home. I recommend taking a hot shower or bath the minute you walk in the door as a cleansing ritual. This will help give you some time to digest your day and your tensions, then you can emerge to your family fresh and present.

The most rewarding and entertaining thing I can do when I get home is grab the dogs toy, head in the back yard and engage in a great game of tug-o-war or fetch for as long as the dog can stand me. I have a 40+kg greyhound x mastif who is all sprinting muscles. He loves to be chased around the yard (I have no chance of catching him but that is why he loves it), or to be on one end of the rope as we play tug-o-war. He can’t help but bring a smile to my face and once he is tired, he always comes and sits at my feet for a pat. After that, my work day generally doesn’t worry me so much.

If you have a routine or habits already in place that are helping you maintain a good work + personal life balance I would love to hear them. Please leave any questions or comments in the panel below.

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