“The less that I differentiate between my “personal life” and my “work”, the less that I make the two compete with each other for my time and my energy, the less guilt I feel for spending too much time on one or the other, and the more “balanced”, well-adjusted, and happy I feel.”
I read this in an article today about finding true work-life balance, and I really love this perspective. I’m lucky. I love what I do. I love to exercise. I love my family. But it didn’t used to be that way. When I was young, I often struggled to do what I wanted. My work self was a stark difference from who I was at home. I loved to hang out with my friends and family and there were times that working was the last thing I wanted to do.
So when work took over my time, my life started to suck. I didn’t want to spend all day in an office working for someone else’s dream. I had a vision for helping people live their lives (including mine) better. I knew that the old way of doing life didn’t work, and I wanted to figure out how to encourage change.
So that’s what I did. I now work to make the lives of other people more energized, productive and positive. I knew I liked to write and talk to other people about their life, so that’s what I started doing. Pretty soon, my experience and research mixed with my passion, and I started to enjoy my whole day. Work was my life and I loved it.
Here is some advice for all of you pursuing that same reality, which I’m guessing, is all of us.
1. Pay Your Dues.
Sometimes you have to do things that don’t make you automatically happy. I had to go to school, do research and work for someone else before I could be my own boss. This took time, years even. And sometimes I hated it. Sometimes I was really hard. But in the end, it got me to the place I am today, and I wouldn’t take back that work because that work made this life possible.
2. Keep it simple.
You can’t achieve all your goals at once. You have to take things slowly or you’ll get overwhelmed and discouraged. You may have a whole host of things you need to accomplish before you can reach your goal, but all you have is today. All you can do is make this day better than yesterday. That means adding better habits slowly into your life, that means reading good books overtime, that means exercising a bit on a regular basis. Just do what you can with what you have today, and find the balance you’re searching for.
3. Be intentional with your community.
It doesn’t matter who you are, people need people to be successful and happy. Prioritize those people who love and support you. Spend time with inspiring people. Prune those relationships that are more toxic than helpful. Train your perspective to be one that provides a silver lining. Friends and family make your life good or bad depending upon who they are. Invest your time into a community of people who are good to themselves, to the world and to you.
4. Value your Health.
Do not. I repeat, do not run yourself into the ground. Take breaks on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Sleep. Eat well with thoughtfulness. Don’t consume too many things that you know are bad. Take walks. Spend time outside. You don’t have to be perfect, but keep in mind that if you don’t care of yourself, your life will never be what it should be.
5. Take risks.
Life is scary and change can be even more so, but the simple truth is that if you don’t take new opportunities and do things differently, then nothing will ever change. Pursue new experiences, take leaps of faith, make mistakes, rediscover a childlike perspective people, and most of all don’t assume that you have the answers.
Andy also wrote the book Change Your Day, Not Your Life, a guide to sustained motivation and more productivity.
See Andy's speaking schedule for an event near you.
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