Wed | Jul 8, 2020

How to achieve work-life balance

Published:Sunday | November 20, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Are you achieving notable success in your career at the expense of your family life, health, spirituality and other relationships? This is an extremely important question for you to answer.

It may very well prevent you from making a common mistake of many extraordinarily successful persons. In his book, First Things First, Dr Stephen Covey describes this mistake as "climbing the ladder of success only to find it leaning against the wrong wall".

By this, he means you can be successful in your career - as an entrepreneur, professional, artist, or whatever - while destroying your marriage, neglecting your spiritual life, alienating your children, compromising your health or wrecking important friendships.

It can be hard to balance all these different aspects of your life, but failure to do so can prove disastrous.

Consider, for example, the former Chicago Bulls power forward Dennis Rodman, who was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year.

The YouTube video of his emotional speech gives a poignant warning we all should heed. Yes, he achieved stardom and has now secured his place among the game's greats.

As he expressed gratitude for the honour, however, he also tearfully acknowledged his failure as a son, husband and father. He said: "If I have one regret in my career as a basketball player, it was that I wasn't a better father."

Recently, too, I was profoundly impacted by Walter Isaacson's enthralling biography of Apple Inc's late CEO, simply titled, Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs, the legendary tech pioneer, died of pancreatic cancer on October 5 at age 56.

In his 630-page tome, Isaacson writes, when asked why he had commissioned a tell-all biography after having lived such a very private life, Jobs said, in his final interview: "I wanted my kids to know me ... . I wasn't always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did."

Make time for family

So, while striving to excel in your profession, it is also important to schedule time for children, spouse and friends. Playing with your children, visiting their school activities, being available to listen to their problems and concerns, spending quality time with your mate - these are what will give you the richness and fulfillment that no amount of achievement and money can.

Here's something else: If you're too busy to exercise, rest and enjoy recreational activities, then you're too busy. It has been insightfully noted that many people ruin their health to get money, and then spend their money trying to get back their health. Your health is the foundation for every success - don't neglect it.

We're not just physical and social beings, we're also spiritual. To be at your best, make time for regular worship, contemplation and for spiritual reading.

But, you might be asking, where can you find the time to achieve this kind of balance, right? The simple answer is that you already have the time, you just haven't prioritised these activities. Schedule weekly family, worship, exercise and recreational times, and stick to your schedule just like you would at work.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist.